Étang de Berre

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Étang de Berre
Port Istres 2006.jpg
port at Istres
Location France
Coordinates 43°26′45″N 5°06′50″E / 43.44583°N 5.11389°E / 43.44583; 5.11389Coordinates: 43°26′45″N 5°06′50″E / 43.44583°N 5.11389°E / 43.44583; 5.11389
Primary inflows Arc, Touloubre, La Cadière-d'Azur, canal de la Durance
Primary outflows canal de Caronte, canal du Rove
Catchment area 1,700 km2 (660 sq mi) (natural)
Basin countries France
Surface area 155.3 km2 (60.0 sq mi)
Water volume 900 million cubic metres (730,000 acre·ft)
Surface elevation 0.4 m (1 ft 4 in)

The Étang de Berre (in Provençal Occitan: estanh de Bèrra / mar de Bèrra according to classical orthography, estang de Berro / mar de Berro according to Mistralian orthography) is a lagoon on the Mediterranean coast of France, about 25 km north-west of Marseille.


Created by the rise in water levels at the end of the last ice age, this small inland sea is composed of three parts: the principal body of water, the Étang de Vaïn to the east and the Étang de Bolmon to the south-east.

The Étang de Berre is fed with fresh water by the rivers Arc, Touloubre and La Cadière-d'Azur and – since 1966 – by the Canal de la Durance. Two canals link it to the sea: the Canal de Caronte leading towards Port-de-Bouc and the Canal du Rove which leads towards L'Estaque. However the underground portion of the latter is blocked by a rock fall.

The Marseille Provence Airport is located in the southeast portion of the Étang Barre, with its main runway extending into the water on reclaimed land.


Ten communes border the Étang de Berre: Istres, Miramas, Saint-Chamas, Berre-l'Étang, Rognac, Vitrolles, Marignane, Châteauneuf-les-Martigues, Martigues and Saint-Mitre-les-Remparts.


The ancient name of the Étang de Berre was Stagnum Mastromela, according to Pliny the Elder (Book III [34]).