The Endoume district

A city of 111 neighborhoods, Marseille is packed with atypical spots in all its boroughs. Such is the case of the Endoume district, less well-known than Le Panier or L’Estaque, but completely authentic and picturesque thanks to its small fishing ports, its magnificent creeks and its alleys leading to the Bonne Mère. Focus on this charming Marseille neighborhood.

An exceptional geographical location

Located in Marseille’s 7th arrondissement, in the Bouches-du-Rhône department, Endoume is a coastal-edge neighborhood to the west of the city. Surrounding it are the Pharo (and Catalans beach), Saint-Lambert and Bompard neighborhoods. Endoume is crossed by two main axes that structure the district: the Corniche Kennedy and the rue d’Endoume. It also includes Malmousque, at the western end, which is sometimes considered a neighborhood in its own right.

Originally, the village of Domezes (Endoume’s former name) was home to customs posts, cabanons and guinguettes. Withthe work on the corniche during the 19th century, the neighborhood attracted a more affluent population who built bastides, small Provencal country houses. Today, it features both cabanons and fine residences.

The Endoume district enjoys a sublime setting, close to the sea, notably the small fishing port of the Vallon des Auffes and the l’anse de la Fausse Monnaie. Peaceful without being too sleepy, the neighborhood is often highly sought-after by people wanting a small townhouse or apartment within a residence with views of the hill of La Garde or the bay of Marseille.

What to see in the Endoume district

The little port of the Vallon des Auffes

The little port of the Vallon des Auffes owes its name to the auffiers who prepared the cordages and sparteries. This is where the fishermen’s village nestled. On either side of the bridge, the port is home to some 50 small fishermen’s houses, restaurants and small traditional fishing boats. The Vallon des Auffes often attracts tourists who wish to admire its colored facades or dive into its natural swimming pool. It’s one of the last places in Marseille to have preserved a typically Provencal charm.

L’anse de la Malmousque

The beach at anse de la Malmousque is not a fine sand beach, but is composed of rocks and a concrete slab. Despite this detail, it remains no less disorientating. Situated on the edge of the Kennedy corniche, this cove boasts a small port with a direct view of the Endoume archipelago and Degaby Island, a perspective that is certainly worth the detour. Here you can see cabanons with lavender, saffron yellow or pastel green shutters that represent all the authenticity of the Endoume neighborhood.

The Marseille tide gauge

Nestled along the Corniche Kennedy is the Marseille tide gauge, a apparatus for measuring sea level. Owner of the tool, the State has entrusted its management to IGN, the ‘Institut national de l’information géographique et forestière. Today, the tide gauge – classified as one of France’s historic monuments – is still in operation and remains essential to the observatory’s activity. It is also a high-quality monitoring station. Equipped with modern equipment, its current interest is mainly related to monitoring the rise in mean sea level, one of the effects of climate change.

The association Les amis du marégraphe de Marseille organizes visits to the tide gauge on an ad hoc basis throughout the year.

The Valmer Park

Located opposite the tide gauge, this 1.6-hectare patch of greenery overlooks the Kennedy Corniche, offering an incredible view of the sea. Here, you can stroll around, gaze at the islands of Marseille from the benches installed, or picnic on the tables provided. The park also has a children’s play area, under parental supervision.

Within the garden it’s possible to discover a mix of exotic and endemic vegetation, but also to find traces of the Marseille rock cutters of the 19th century. These are faux wood type ornaments that masons carved on cemented walls to embellish gardens to create murets, vasques, etc.

While today the Valmer Park is a public park that can be visited every day of the year (with opening times varying according to the season), it is actually part of the lush garden of the once-private Villa Valmer. The architecture of this villa, formerly known as Vague à la mer, is akin to a veritable little chateau. It was built by Charles Gonnelle, a wealthy merchant from Salon-de-Provence. At the time, its walkways led to the park.

The little extra? Admire the sunset from the park’s balcony!

The Théâtre Silvain

Capable of seating 4,000 to 5,000 people, the théâtre Silvain is a théâtre de verdure located at the bottom of Marseille’s Vallon de la Fausse-Monnaie. Inaugurated in 1923 and ceded to the City of Marseille in 1941, it opened intermittently before being totally renovated in 1999. Built on the initiative of Dominique Piazza, first president of the Marseilles Excursionists, the theater has offered since 2009 a regular program (concerts, festivals and shows).

Le pont de la Fausse Monnaie

Achieved in 1863, the pont de la Fausse Monnaie overhangs the Vallon du Silence and the Théâtre Silvain. According to legend, workmen there found the material of a counterfeiter. In this cove, shallow-draft ships came to take shelter from the mistral, a dry and violent wind. Thanks to its facing due south, holidaymakers and residents of the Endoume district love to bask on its flat rocks as soon as the first rays of sunshine appear. With its picturesque landscape filled with small fishermen’s huts and pointus, the Anse de la Fausse Monnaie is located on the edge of the village of Endoume.