The Arcenaulx of Marseille occupied an area between Rue Breteuil, Quai de la Fraternité, Quai de Rive-Neuve and Rue Fort Notre-Dame. Between the 15th and mid-18th century, galley slaves lived amongst the convicts of Brest, La Rochelle and Toulon.
Charles VIII had six galleys armed in Marseille in 1494 then Louis XII had six new shipbuilding and repair warehouses built in 1512. It wasn’t until Louis XIV’s arrival in Marseille in 1660 that a Grand Arsenal des Galères was built and the city’s renewal was commissioned to Nicolas Arnoul. This was the most important urban planning project to take place in Provence in modern times and, for the first time in its history, the port was at the centre of the city. The Grand Arsenal stretched from Rue Paradis to the bottom of La Canebière where the buildings were reused and incorporated to form part of the new arsenal.
Around 10,000 galley slaves lived here in appalling detention conditions. Nevertheless, some had shops on the port or worked in the soap shops on Rue Sainte and Place aux Huiles to maintain some sort of income.
A fish market opened here in 1909 until 1975 when it was moved to the north of the city to the industrial port of Saumaty. The building’s interior was completely redesigned but its exterior was kept intact. The Théâtre National de Marseille was opened in 1981 by the Mayor of Marseille Gaston Defferre. La Criée was managed by Marcel Maréchal for over a decade and hosts an exciting schedule every season.
Vincent Scotto was born at 32 Quai de Rive Neuve on April 21st 1874.
Opposite the ferry boat pier lies the Bar de La Marine made famous by Marcel Pagnol. It is the main location in the “Marius, Fanny, César” film trilogy filmed at the Old Port in Marseille in the 30s.