Heading to the "other side of the world"in "Les Goudes "village

"Les Goudes" village

‘Les Goudes’, a real little fishermen’s village on the edge of Marseille, is a very different area, made up of huts, restaurants, fortifications and close to dream spots such as ‘Callelongue’ or ‘Cap Croisette’. You will discover on this page the secrets and the history of this unusual place.

A bit of history

Before, ‘les Goudes’ used to be a small port and industrial site. The very first factory was built in 1804, it occupied the whole bottom part of the Goudes cove and artificial soda was made from sulphuric acid. Then in 1854, a lead factory with 18 workers started up. The choice was made to install the factory in the village because of its low-density population at that time.

In 1875, the industrial potential was such that it was planned to serve ‘Les Goudes’ by a railroad. The line would have been 10 km long and would have included five stops: Prado, Sainte Anne, ‘chateau Borély’ (Borely castle), ‘Montredon’ and ‘les Goudes’. In the end, a tramway line was all that was needed and in 1891 its final stop was established at the ‘Madrague de Montredon’. The lead sector experienced a crisis at the end of the 1870s and in 1879 the Goudes factory was destroyed. In addition to its industrial past, this district also has military remains such as the Goudes fort built in the 19th century.

Thanks to the tramway, the hamlet of ‘les Goudes’ and the city centre became closer to each other and some boaters build very basic houses which quickly took the name of “cabanons”. At the end of the 19th century and the beginning of the 21st century, this area was inhabited by the workers. On Sundays, people from the “city centre” would come here, as Massilia Sound System says in its song “Dimanche aux Goudes”.

Did you know?

It was  planned to set up the ‘Grand Port Maritime de Marseille’ on the southern coast, because of the proximity of all these former Goudes factories, and not at La Joliette as is the case today!

The Goudes today

The  village of “Les Goudes” remains an authenthic district in spite of its intense touristic appeal. The year-round residents of this district are keen to perpetuate the  spirit of ” Dolce Vita” and the ”  little district life” has  prevailed there so many years.

There used to be a  primary school (until the mid 1970’s), a  butcher’s shop, and a  grocery  shop. Today only the  grocery shop remains, runby  the  helpful Eric Signoret who fetches bread and  delicatessen products from shopkeepers in ‘Montredon’. You will also find a  church there, the  chapelle Saint Lucien built during the  20th century. There are still a few active fishermen who  go out every  morning and sell their catch to restaurants in the  village.

In order to take full advantage of the village of Les Goudes, the best thing to do is to come during the off season to enjoy a good meal in one of its many fish restaurants, and for the more adventurous, a swim in the outer harbor because there are no beaches in the village, you have to walk a little to get to the ‘Cap Croisette’ near the ‘Ile Maïre’ to be able to swim as you wish.

Useful informations

To reach the  village of Les Goudes, it is  better to use the public transports (bus RTM n°20 et navettes maritimes), and more (bikes, scooters). The road to reach Les Goudes is also a very nice jogging path for the more sporty.

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