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'Le Cours Julien'

The artists' and street art district

Located in the heart of the city, close to the district of Noailles and the Old Port, the Cours Julien is one of the most lively areas of Marseille, both by day and night. It is the ideal place to discover the most beautiful street-art works of the city.

A little history of the district

The Cours Julien originally had a completely different function, as it was the belly of Marseille, the wholesale and retail market for fruits and vegetables, from about 1860 to 1970. The Cours Julien and the district of La Plaine were the main trading places for fruits and vegetables in Marseille. Farmers from surrounding towns and villages such as Plan-de-Cuques, Château-Gombert, La Pomme, Mazargues and Bonneveine unloaded their produce on the Cours Julien in the wholesalers’ warehouses and in the open air. The market was held along the Cours, enlivened by the lively voices of the ‘Partisanes’ (semi-wholesalers) whose voices are still very present in the memory of the people of Marseille.

Around 1960, in order to relieve the congestion in the city centre and the Cours Julien, the City of Marseille decided to group together all the fruit and vegetable wholesale activities on a single site, in the Arnavaux district. In the 1960s, the Marseille municipality planned to bring together all the fruit and vegetable activities on a single site, to free up space in the city centre and the Cours Julien.

In 1963, it created a semi-public company, SOMIMAR, to establish and manage a National Interest Market (MIN) in the Arnavaux district (14th arrondissement). The Cours Julien market moved there in March 1972.

Did you know?

The Office of Tourism offers guided tours on the theme of street art to learn all about the works of art on the Cours Julien! A visit for the whole family on Wednesdays or with friends on Saturdays, there is something for everyone.
Enjoy an original and unique walk with our guide Alexandra in the heart of this artists’ district!

A lively and trendy district

The ‘Cours Ju’ has now become an atypical and unmissable place in the city as it is a meeting place for artists, full of its art galleries, its creators of all kinds, its shops and its musicians. This district is pleasant to visit both during the day for the terraces of its restaurants and in the evening for its festive and cosmopolitan atmosphere, it is also ideal for its pedestrian streets and its playgrounds for children and the family.

Its farmers and organic market is very famous in Marseille and welcomes you every Wednesday morning. You will find about thirty local producers selling fresh and quality products. The Cours Julien allows you to combine 100% Marseille shopping with its designer boutiques and relaxation, at the Place de Notre Dame du Mont where many bars and restaurants are located. We also advise you to discover the many second-hand shops in its neighbourhoods, its concert halls, its magnificent Palais des Arts and the famous pétanque court called “the Carli boulodrome”! Take a little snack break after playing pétanque, before setting off again to explore the lively streets of the city.

Practical information

The Cours Julien is easily accessible on foot from the Old Port, it takes about ten minutes to get to the top of the hill. You can also get there by metro (line 2) by getting off at the ‘Notre-Dame du Mont’ stop.

Top 10 things to do on the Cours Julien

1/ Watch the skills of the pétanque players on Place Carli
2/ Discover the La Licorne soap factory (every day from Monday to Saturday at 11am, 3pm and 4pm)
3/ Discover the ephemeral creations of street artists from Marseille and abroad in the urban space
4/ On Tuesdays, listen to famous or up-and-coming organists at lunchtime in the church of Notre-Dame du Mont.
5/ Going to the market on Wednesdays and discovering local producers
6/ Plan an evening out in the district, which is home to numerous venues for night owls (concert halls, theatres, dance clubs)
7/ Plan a shopping trip to discover the local boutiques and second-hand shops
8/ On certain days, take a guided graffiti and street-art tour with an expert guide from the tourist office.
9/ Spend some time in the Place du Cours Julien, which hosts a wide range of events (antique and second-hand book market on the 2nd Saturday of each month, a designer market in May, June, September and December).
10/ Sunday brunches at the Mama Shelter

Where to eat on the Cours Julien?

Where to go out on the Cours Julien?