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The Accoules in Marseille : church and climb

Located in the 2nd district of Marseille, the Accoules church –one of the oldest churches in Marseille– stands just next to the Vieille Charité and the Panier district. Very picturesque street, the Accoules climb, for its parts, connects the Lenche square to the Daviel square. It offers a sublime perspective on the bell tower of the Accoules church.

The church of  Notre-Dame-des-Accoules

This medievel church of the 11th century, had a turbulent history. It was rebuilt in the 13th century, destroyed during the French Revolution in 1794 with the exception of the bell tower and rebuilt in the 19th century. The bell tower, with octogonal sides, is built on the former Tour Sauveterre, which served to sound the tocsin in case of fire or attack, and which allowed to convene the City Council. It is one of the oldest remains of Marseille. Its arrow has been included in the Additional Inventory of Historic Monuments since 1964.

Dating from the 19th century, the church as we know it today is built on the site of the primitive Church, from a centered plan. The courtyard highlights an atypical decor with a religious connotation. On the right, the chapel of Calvary forms a rotunda with a dome dating back to the beginning of the 19th century. Towards the back there are crypts that open onto a pile of hollowed-out fake rocks. This set of stones recalls  the grotto of Lourdes. The church of Notre-Dame-des-Accoules and the grotto of Lourdes  both illustrate a grotto of Mary Magdelene and are surmounted by a Calvary, a Christian monument comprising a cross.

The Accoules climb, picturesque and touristic

The climb of the Accoules joins the square of Lenche to the square of Daviel in Marseille. Formely known as the “Ascent of the Observatory”, it is named after the Jesuits who owned a building called the “House of the Holy Cross” on top of this street, inside which they set up an observatory in 1702. The latter was directed successively by Father Laval and, from 1729, by Father Esprit Pézenas.

Oriental languages were taught in this house, hence the name ” College of Four Languages”. After the expulsion of the Jesuits, the establishment became the Royal Observatory of the Navy, under the direction of Guillaume de Saint-Jacques de Silvabelle, a French mathematician and astronomer.

Very picturesque, the climb of the Accoules with its stairs located at the level of the Daviel square offers a magnificent panorama on the bell tower of the Accoules church. Several painters have represented him in their works.

Le Préau des Accoules, children’s museum

Located in part of the former Marseille Observatory, the  Préau des Accoules is a place of awareness of arts and heritage intended mainly for children. Born in 1992, this museum organizes-thanks to a competent team of enthusiasts- fun exhibitions with an original approach to the object of art. Many events take place here throughout the year. Focusing mainly on the discovery of the rich heritage of the museums of Marseille, the program offers various themes such as archaeology, regional heritage, history, photography, African or American culture, Fine Arts, contemporary art…  

Discovering the Panier district

In the heart of the 2nd district of Marseille, the Accoules climb is also an opportunity to enter the Panier district, one of the oldest districts in the city and the last vestige of medieval Marseille. With its colorful and vegetated streets, the Panier district  will make you discover an authentic Marseille, perfect for visitors on holiday in the region.

During a morning or an afternoon, take the time to stroll through the picturesque streets to meet designers and craftsmen’s workshops, but also bars and restaurants to savour culinary specialities of the region  (bouillabaisse, navettes, pastis, rosé…). It is also possible to visit the Vieille Charité, a marvel of the 17th century architecture classified as an Historic Monument.

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