The Plaine district

Located in Marseille’s 5th arrondissement, the Plaine district overlooks one of the seven hills of Marseille. The Marseille neighborhood is built around the Cours Julien and the place Jean Jaurès. This lively area is very popular with the younger population, not least because of its artistic and bohemian atmosphere. Nicknamed “Marseille’s bohemian district”, the walls of the buildings are covered in tags, created by young street art artists. Come and discover this original neighborhood, and enjoy its colorful streets.

History and anecdotes of this picturesque neighborhood

Once a military maneuvering range, this area was called the Plan Saint-Michel. It served as a camp for armed pilgrims, also known as Crusaders, before embarking by boat.

From the 18th century onwards, the area gradually began to develop in a bourgeois atmosphere. The area is renowned for its peaceful, pleasant lifestyle. In 1881, a 700-meter-long tunnel was dug in the subsoil for the passage of Marseille’s very first tramway.

In 1953, the very first traffic light was inaugurated by Gaston Defferre. It was also on the Plaine that Alphonse Fondère and Louis Capazza, two young aeronauts of the time, took to the skies aboard the airship Le Gabizos for the first time, bound for Corsica, on November 14, 1886. The crossing, though tumultuous, was a success. In 1930, Louis-Marcel Bottinelly commemorated their epic by creating a monument in their effigy.

Did you know?

For a light-hearted anecdote: discover the “place du chien Saucisse“, inaugurated on September 14, 2000, in honor of a stray dog bearing the same name. This little 4-legged Marseillais, later taken in by a thriller publishing team, was even a candidate in the municipal elections in 2001, and in the presidential elections in 2002.

Activities to do in the La Plaine district

La Plaine, an underground district?

At La Plaine, everything is possible except one thing: getting bored. The very atypical atmosphere that nestles there seduces all its visitors, young and old, and especially students.

Architecturally speaking, if you want to observe a typically Marseillais style with small buildings in neutral tones, the place Jean-Jaures is the place to go. If you want to discover facades colored and tagged by various artists, then let yourself be seduced by the cours Julien.

The district has several markets, such as the one with the same name, the la Plaine market, the farmer market, the bio market or the creators’ market on the Cours Julien. The farmers’ market on the Cours Julien is by far the best-known of all the neighborhood markets. Open every Wednesday morning, some thirty local producers share the stalls to offer fresh, organic produce.

Find all kinds of shops and activities in this neighborhood: concert halls, bookstores, thrift stores, second-hand shops, small designer boutiques, bars, cafés and restaurants, which welcome you all year round. The square next to the main square is renowned for its lively soccer games.

The Plaine district is the ideal neighborhood for bargain hunters looking for vintage items. It’s even home to secondhand booksellers and comic book stores! However, it’s best known for its thrift shops. For responsible, second-hand shopping, La Plaine is heaven on earth. Don’t miss out on an address and dare to venture into the little alleyways in search of nuggets.

Practical information

To get to Marseille’s La Plaine district in the 5th arrondissement, you can take the 52 and 74 bus lines, the line 1 tramway (get off at the “Eugène Pierre” stop) or the line 2 metro (get off at the “Notre-Dame-Du-Mont” stop).