La Commanderie - OM training center © WG OTLCM (2)La Commanderie - OM training center © WG OTLCM (2)
©La Commanderie - OM training center © WG OTLCM (2)

Les Caillols district

In Marseille’s 12th arrondissement, the Caillols district was transformed into an urban landscape over the course of the 20th century, but has nevertheless retained traces of its country village past, as evidenced by its church, square and narrow streets.

A neighborhood in the 12th borough

A neighborhood bordering on La Fourragère, La Pomme and Saint-Julien in particular, Les Caillols is located in Marseille’s 12th borough, to the east of the city. The word caillol means “stone” in Occitan. It is both a toponym and a patronym very popular in Provence.

In Marseille, there is a neighborhood in the 9th arrondissement called La Cayolle, while in Bouc-Bel-Air in the Bouches-du-Rhône, there is a hamlet called Les Caillols. In the Hautes-Alpes, there’s a commune called Saint-Michel-de-Chaillol and a hamlet called Chaillolet.

The Caillol surname is the origin of the name of this Marseille neighborhood. Two Caillol brothers bought land named Camp de Soliers in 1486. Originally, the name Caillol was given to the parish built on the brothers’ property before the district appropriated it. This is a widespread phenomenon on the outskirts of Marseille, and other neighborhoods such as Les Camoins, La Valentine or Château-Gombert owe their names to a similar process.

The history of Les Caillols in Marseille

Until the early 20th century, Les Caillols represented a rural village in the Huveaune valley in which market gardening and livestock farming were practiced. Some of Marseille’s wealthy families owned their own “campaigns”. Because of the fertility of its soils, its optimum sunshine and the wind protection provided by the Saint-Julien hill and Beaumont plateau, the agricultural valley of Les Caillols had acquired a certain notoriety.

In the middle of the XXth century, the village of Les Caillols began to undergo urbanization with the construction of housing estates, a HLM group, a stadium and a school. During the 1990s, the urban center of Les Caillols comes into being, shared with the La Pomme district. It brings together high-rise housing, a shopping center and an administrative center housing the town hall, banks and various services.

In 2007, urbanization gains further ground with the introduction of the tramway de Marseille, which provides easy access to the neighborhood from the city center. Les Caillols thus became the terminus of line 1. However, the village – somewhat out of the way – has kept some traces of its existence through its church, its grand-rue, its place, its alleys and some historic shops.

Sites of interest in Les Caillols

Erected in 1663 on the Place du Monument, the Caillols church is located on the main street. Its facade resembles the Aygalades church in the 15th borough.
Inaugurated on July 3, 1921 under the Flaissières municipality, the place des Caillols is one of the neighborhood’s landmarks. In the 1950s-60s, the city removed a communal washhouse located to the northeast of the square.

Les Caillols is also home to the Robert-Louis-Dreyfus Training centre better known as “La Commanderie”, the sports training ground for Olympique de Marseille, the city’s iconic soccer club. To get there, leave the village via Boulevard des Libérateurs.

How to get to the Caillols district

You can reach the Caillols district in Marseille very easily from bus lines 7 (Foch 5 Avenues – Les 3 Lucs Enco de Botte), 7T (Foch 5 Avenues – Allauch Barbaraou), 9 (Les Caillols Centre Urbain – St Julien), 10 (Métro La Fourragère – Les Caillols Hôpital), 12 (Métro La Timone – Eoures), 12B (Métro La Timone – Les Camoins), 12S (Métro La Timone – La Treille) and 91 (Métro La Timone – Les Caillols Hôpital). The night bus lines 509 and 540 take you to Les Caillols from the Canebière Bourse.

Also, the terminus of line 1 of the Marseille tramway stops at Les Caillols. This makes it easy to reach this 12th arrondissement neighborhood from the city center, by taking the streetcar to Noailles, next to the Canebière.