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Discussion Starter #1
I'm going to post my pictures of Marseille; as I am very interested in the historical aspects of the city (whether very old or relatively recent), my photos and commentaries will, in many cases, be coming from that angle. However there will be a lot more than just old stuff as a lot of new buildings are springing up at the moment.

I'm going to try to stick to some kind of order with these photos, going from one area to another in a vaguely geographical sense, although it's pretty certain that I won't be able to keep that up in a very strict manner; I'm hoping that my commentaries will keep this whole thing relatively coherent.

Anyway for a start here are some photos of the port of Marseille: the original port was in the centre of town (now known as le Vieux Port), but in the 1850s it was moved to the north of the city to accommodate larger vessels.

These upcoming photos from high up were taken from my workplace through two layers of glass, so the quality may be lacking a bit!

Looking towards the north




Looking towards the city













On the left is a grain silo built in 1927, now a concert venue; at the top the old docks of Marseille, built in the 1850-'60s to accommodate cargo from the new port; now used as office, retail and restaurant space.




There were recently some forest fires just outside of Marseille so I managed to get a photo of this Canadair water bomber flying over the city




The silo/concert hall in more detail. Since 2004 (before all the renovation work was started on it) it is registered as a heritage building of the 20th century for its architecture.















 

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Discussion Starter #3
And now here is the old dock building: built between 1858 and 1863, 365m long, 6 floors high; it was built at the same time as the modern port and basins to deal with the Marseille's growing status as France's "doorway to the colonial empire". It was used for storing goods up until the 1950s after which it was neglected until the 1980s, when the renovation projects began.

This here is the back, or more accurately the end furthest away from the city. The big poster hanging from it shows a new building project that is underway in the vicinity.






It's a shame as it can't easily be seen in it's entirety as it is between a row of new buildings to the left, and a flyover to the right, and both streets are quite narrow.

This is the side with the new buildings (it's actually quite a nice little street, with one side being 150 years older than the other!)









This is looking back the other way



Fortunately the modern buildings (all built in the last decade) allow views of the dock builing from the next parallel street





Otherwise the street is so narrow that this is the best photo I get get of it lengthways (at least with my camera)




This is what it looks like inside: there are obviously two entrances at each end, but with a building of this length, and given its original purpose, there are multiple entrances on both sides all along from one end to the other. This is one of the side entrances.



And here are some of the courtyards.











I bet those palm trees got in the way when it came to loading and offloading cargo, but what do I know!

This is the other side; next to the main road and the flyover. Further to the right (out of the picture) is the port. So originally the cargo could have come straight off the ship and be stored in this building (there were a lot more warehouses than this in the area back then though).



And finally (365m later) is the front end; it's on a square called Place de la Joliette which now holds a market. You can see however the railway tracks which show that this place used to be a lot more geared towards handling heavy goods than it is today.





Some details of the façade (where there would have been offices related to the warehouse activities): at the top is the coat of arms of Marseille (a blue cross on a white background, obviously this stone engraving is not in colour) and the nautical theme below.




In more detail, you can see the prow of a ship, an anchor and other maritime related imagery. This is a recurring theme in Marseille architecture, particularly (but not limited to) buildings linked to port and seafaring activities.



In the dock building is this display with illustrations of how the port used to be when it was in activity, and how it was when it was in a state of neglect before renovation work started. Unfortunately the corridors are poorly lit and so the pictures aren't too clear, but hopefully it's good enough to get an idea of how it was.

In this one you can see the Place de la Joliette and the front end of the docks in the height of their use in the second hald of the 19th century (unfortunately my flash got refected in the most important picture). You may be able to see all the warehouses that surrounded the dock building at the time. They no longer exist.



And these show the building just before renovation:



 

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Discussion Starter #4
@ openlyJane, I've always felt that Marseille and Liverpool are parallel cities in many respects: both historic port cities, were once economically very powerful and gateways to empires (that no longer exist), fallen on hard times, regeneration in recent years, both European cities of culture (well ours is coming next year in 2013) mad about football - in fact Marseille and Liverpool have played each other several times in Europe in the past few years and each time supporters of each side were mingling in bars and exchanging scarves and generally having a good time.

Anyway next to the old dock building we have la Place de la Joliette:

This building is to the left of the entrance to the dock building and is actually within the port itself; I don't know what it's for but probably something to do with the ferries to Corsica and North Africa as this part of the port is dedicated to those ships.



And this one is opposite the dock building. It actually goes quite a bit further in length (on the right hand side of the photo) and they are turning it into luxury appartments with a direct view of the sea. It's a Haussmannien building like many in this area, the surroundings being largely undevelloped until the mid-19th century. Below it are restaurants, used by seafarers working on the ferries and office workers from the vicinity.



From la Joliette you can see down Rue Mazenod and the cathedral de la Major at the end of it (this version built between 1852 and 1896. There are remnants of an older one).





But before going that road we have the Rue de la République. When the new port was built in the 1850s, there were no main roads between it and the city further behind. Therefore they decided to pierce a grand Haussmannien avenue between the top of the Vieux Port and the Place de la Joliette. And by "pierce", I mean literally - at one point they actually cut through a hill that was in the way, and demolished a whole area of the old town. They called it la Rue Impériale as it was started under the French Second Empire (around 1860). They changed the name to Rue de la République at the fall of the empire and the start of the Third Republic in 1870.


This is the beginning of the Rue de la République from the Place de la Joliette



And before going down that street, if you look behind, you see this - in France many bars have a name that recalls their surroundings. I could be wrong, but I reckon that this bar has had the same name since the 1860s, before the street changed its name:



And now the rest of the street














Looking back to la Joliette



This building is quite interesting as it is sandwiched between older ones (from the 1860s). It's from 1906 (there's a date on the wall that can't be seen in this photo). The style is definitely Art Nouveau as opposed to the rest of the mostly Haussmannien street.



And the monogram above the main door is presumably that of whichever family built the house














I like the sculptures above some of the doorways: this one has some kind of military motif, with a breastplate and a whole bunch of various weaponry






This one is more maritime themed, with the prow of a ship again and boarding equipment and weaponry






However this door looks more peaceful with its chubby little face at the top and agricultural equipment



And in the middle of the Rue de la République, there is the Place Sadi Carnot, where two other streets meet up with it from each side:














As I mentioned above, this street was made by actually digging straight through a hill. It can be seen on this side



And the other



The height of those retaining walls is actually the level at which the land was prior to the 1850s. And those buildings at the top of each were lucky to be just out of the way. At least whoever lived there ended up with a nice view I suppose. Here it is.





 

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Great thread as I'm fascinated by maritime cities and Marseille really is one of the most historic in Europe. The Haussmaniann scheme, like in Nantes also, does give Marseille a 'petite' Parisian appearance. I'm looking forward to more insights. :cheers:
 

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Discussion Starter #6
After Place Sadi Carnot, this is continuing down Rue de la République







Once again, the anchor motif. The intertwining fish is also a recurring theme in Marseille.






Down a sidestreet to the left is the church of Saint-Cannat, mostly finished in the early 17th century (the baroque façade was added in the 18th century).







And now this is the end of the street.

 

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Great updates; and yes, there are definite similarities between Liverpool and Marseilles. For a start; the monumental warehouse that you pictured earlier on in the thread reminds me of the tobacco warehouse in Liverpool; the main differences being that the warehouse, like the other buildings in Marseilles is a lovely soft yellow colour, whereas in liverpool there is more use of red brick ( also lots of white Portland Stone).Also, Marseilles appears a bit ahead in terms of regeneration: in Liverpool we are, only now, awaiting a scheme to commence which will see the renovation of the tobacco warehouse.

Marseilles looks very handsome and really quite grand.
 

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There are indeed similarities between modern Liverpool en modern Marseille, but we shouldn't forget that Marseille is actually a very very old town, going back to the Greek era.
 

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^^ You're right, but interestingly there's a strong connection between Marseille, a city founded by the Greeks, and Britian, supposedly discovered and mapped by Pythias from Marseille.

[URL="http://www.biblioz.com/search.php?a=88&i=109249507&Id=348544535&page=&r=b1342b73bf7c2620b323969f1d049490"]The Extraordinary Voyage of Pytheas the Greek: the Man Who Discovered Britain[/URL]

Also in more modern times there's an interesting connection as far as the Greek community is concerned, as Marseille was a very important trading port during the 19th century along with Liverpool, where Greek ship owners and merchants conducted business and established communities. Marseille like Liverpool both have historic 19th century Greek churches as testament to those times. Perhaps you can show us a picture of the historic Greek church in Marseille?
 

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Beautiful. Marseilles often is described as dumpy, but it looks beautiful.

What is the typical daytime temperature during the winter?
 

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nice new thread for Marseille, thanks for the wonderful photos...:cheers:
 

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@ Skymantle, yes, and Pytheas is honoured with a statue on the façade of the chamber of commerce (in the top right-hand niche).





And here is the Greek Orthodox Church, built in 1844. For the time being this is the only photo I have but I'll take a few more next time I'm in that area (which is not very far from where I live actually).



@ Robert Walpole, in the winter daytime temperatures are around 10°C, although if the wind is blowing (Mistral) it can get very chilly, even with the sun shining.
 

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^^ fantastic, thanks for that. Nice classical aedicule they've placed Phydeas in, very fitting. Who's on the other side I wonder?

The church is cute, looks sort of franco-byzantine in style if I can call it that. Apparently the 19th century Greek established Zafiropoulo and [URL="http://www.lexpress.fr/informations/les-zarifi_648728.html"]Zarifi[/URL] company known as Z/Z, are [URL="http://www.zarifi.com/"]still present[/URL] in Marseille and according to an article I read the company turned towards industry and finance, contributing significantly to the modern day rise of Marseille. Also the name of Greece's national beverage; ouzo, is said to come from Marseiile in modern times as exports stamped with uso Massalia meaning for use in Marseiile as well as superior quality, eventually took on the name simply as ouzo.


Anyway, please show more of this wonderful port city. :cheers:
 

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Note: Oops, I wrote Phydeas, but of course it should be Pytheas. Phydias was the great sculptor and the lovely sculpture must have muddled my thoughts. Enough said, please continue :)
 

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The church is cute, looks sort of franco-byzantine in style if I can call it that. Apparently the 19th century Greek established Zafiropoulo and Zarifi company known as Z/Z, are still present in Marseille and according to an article I read the company turned towards industry and finance, contributing significantly to the modern day rise of Marseille. Also the name of Greece's national beverage; ouzo, is said to come from Marseiile in modern times as exports stamped with uso Massalia meaning for use in Marseiile as well as superior quality, eventually took on the name simply as ouzo.
There are quite a few neo-byzantine style churches in Marseille, of which I'll post photos later. The cathedral of la Major shown in a couple of pics previously is an example. I believe it is a direct hommage to Marseille's Greek origins. Also that is interesting information about ouzo, and the Z/Z company. I followed the links and saw that they are based not far from the Greek church, so it's likely that the area is where there was a significant Greek community at one point (in fact there still is in Marseille, but over the generations has spread out throughout the city and there is no "Greek quarter" to my knowledge).

As for the statue on the left side of the chamber of commerce, it's that of another Greek explorer from Marseille, Euthymenes: he sailed through the Strait of Gibraltar in the 5th century BC and explored the West African coast.



Here are some more photos of the chamber of commerce (built in 1860). It's on the Canebière which is a street going up from the Vieux Port, where the Rue de la République ends, so we're still in some kind of geographical continuity here with these pictures.






Once again the ornamentation is maritime-themed





Also along the top are the names of famous explorers, here you can see Columbus and Amerigo Vespucci, but out of the picture are others such as Cook, Magellan etc.



This building also houses the maritime museum.
 

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This is looking up La Canebière (the chamber of commerce can de seen on the left-hand side)



And opposite the chamber of commerce is the Place du Général De Gaulle. That long thing in the middle is a fountain (water trickles out each end), although it's not working in this photo



This building was once the offices of a maritime company









Again, a maritime theme in the ornamentation of this building. Interestingly, before putting up these photos I read up a bit about the history of this square and according to the French wikipedia Napoleon I stayed here in 1796 before the Italy campaign. There in no plaque on the wall indicating this however. Then again, Naploeon stayed in a lot of places. Anyway, notwithstanding that I particularly like the mermaid caryatids and Neptune's head.







This is taken from the far end of the square, looking back



Another interesting piece of information that I came across regarding this square was that this was where the last person in Marseille was put in the pillory, in 1841. A sollicitor charged with fraud.
 

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Going further up from Place du Général de Gaulle is the Rue Paradis





I like this hunting supplies shop with its giant gun as a sign - I wonder if someone pulls the trigger will it blast a hole through the ledge above?



Anyway now that we are in this area I'm going to show some photos of a quirky little obsession of mine - street signs. In fact I could probably write a book called "Street signs - not as boring as you may think". First of all, typical street signs in Marseille are a small blue plastic rectangle with the city's coat of arms, the number of the arrondissement and obviously the name of the street.

The sign on the bottom is an illustration of this



However what is very common is that (as you can see from the pic) in many cases there is the older street sign still above it, very similar but made out of metal (and more durable too).

Here it is again but this time including the religious statue above it which is also extremely common in the corners of older buildings



Another example



Now I've wondered about the reasons for this redundancy, and I have two theories: either it was deemed that the older signs were too high up to be seen from inside a car therefore they added new signs everywhere at appropriate levels; or, they decided at one point that signage generally needed to be renewed so they ordered new signs for every street in the city, whether they needed them or not, in typical bureaucratic manner.

Ironically it's the older, metal signs that are generally in a better condition and more legible than the new cheap plastic ones. Also this double signage thing has given rise to issues such as this:



That's the old street sign above, still clearly indicating the previous name of the street. It can be confusing.

This is typically French: a street sign honoring a grammarian. Anyone having learnt French or gone through French education will know that grammar is a serious issue and not to be trifled with, and this street shows that our grammatical geniuses are treated with respect!



This is interesting: as before, it shows the new street sign along with not one, but two older ones. These are even older than the blue metal signs, as they are both engraved into the building itself. One even says "Via" instead of "Rue". Also it shows that redundantly writing street names twice, one above the other, is not a recent phenomenon in Marseille. Unfortunately I don't know in which century this was done.



This is Rue Francis Davso. However the older name (Rue Albertas) can still partially be seen.



And recently, walking down that very street, I saw this. This is the back of the opera, and they have been refurbishing it ahead of Marseille being European City of Culture 2013. They uncovered the old name of the street again





All these street signs are just off Rue Paradis within about 50m of each other. However here are a couple more that I recently found in other areas.

The double-name confusion strikes again




The name of the street engraved in the building itself. This is in a street just off the Rue de la République which I showed earlier. It's hard to make out, but it looks again as if the same street name is written three times

 

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Great pics!

Marseille is a very Nice(lol) city, it has some problems but it has changed a lot and improving fast, next year, after the new "waterfront" in the vieux port should be awesome.

It's europe culture capital for 2013!

If you want to see a panoramic view of the city:

 
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