Montolivet - Neighborhood © WG OTLCM (2)Montolivet - Neighborhood © WG OTLCM (2)
©Montolivet - Neighborhood © WG OTLCM (2)

Montolivet in Marseille

Nestled on a coteau in the city of Marseille, Montolivet has evolved into a quiet residential area appreciated by residents and visitors alike. The Saint-Fortuné church, Bois Lemaître and the Parc de la Moline represent important sites in this Marseille neighborhood. Montolivet is easily accessible by bus, metro or car, thanks to its strategic geographic position close to the L2 ring road, which provides easy access to various major roads.

A neighborhood in the 12th borough

Located in the 12th arrondissement, Montolivet is perched on one of Marseille’s seven hills, between Saint-Just and Saint-Barnabé. La Blancarde, les Chartreux, Malpassé, les Olives, la Rose and Saint-Julien are also among the neighborhoods bordering Montolivet. Its main artery over 2 kilometers long, Avenue de Montolivet, a former vicinal road, crosses the 4th and 12th boroughs of Marseille.

Montolivet owes its name to the multiple plantations of olive trees that covered the site, as far back as the Middle Ages if we are to believe the use of the word olivier to describe the place in question. These arid lands then gave the name Monteolivetus in 1248, followed by Mons Olivetus in 1289 before becoming Montolivet. This neighborhood sits atop a hillside, a fairly steeply sloping area.

Little accessible, the farming village was originally home to dairies and porkeries. Its population evolved with the arrival of a tramway line in 1909. After the war, more and more dwellings sprang up, following one another as far as the little grove. Small villas with gardens are built on the Montolivet plateau, while predominantly Italian housing estates develop towards Saint-Julien.

In 1830, a parcel of land was given to Jean-François Demoye to erect a chapel, transformed in 1862 into a parish by Monseigneur Cruice, under the vocation of Saint-Fortuné. At the expense of La Fabrique, the place of worship finally became a neo-Gothic church in 1877.

Sites of interest in Montolivet, Marseille

Saint-Fortuné church

Visible at 402 avenue de Montolivet in Marseille, the church of Saint-Fortuné features five bells that ring half an hour and a quarter of an hour before the start of mass. With its neo-Gothic architecture, it replaces a chapel founded by Monseigneur Fortuné de Mazenod, the first bishop of Marseille during the re-establishment of the diocese in 1823, who wished to dedicate it to his patron saint. The organ was installed in the years following the church’s construction, as was the bell tower. Constructed from high-quality materials, the instrument had long suffered from wood-boring insects that prevented it from functioning properly. In 1988, the City of Marseille commissioned the firm Mattei et Barast to carry out a minimal repair of the organ. Within the Saint-Fortuné church is a plaster statue of Notre-Dame-de-la-Salette that received polychrome decoration in 2006 when the site was renovated. Also on view is a remarkable ensemble in Carrara marble, the creation of Marseille sculptor Jules Cantini.

Bois Lemaître

On Avenue Jean Compadieu stands Bois Lemaître, created in 1954 by architect Louis Olmeta, who retained the pinewood giving character to the particularly monumental feature. This was probably the largest post-war housing development in Marseille, consisting of crane-track bars, a 15-storey tower, a school and a shopping center. Today, only a few elements of the original pine forest remain. Bois Lemaître boasts an exceptional location on a balcony overlooking the Vallée du Jarret. Its construction was inspired by that of the Vieux-Port de Marseille, with greater use of load-bearing stone on the facades and blonde Fontvieille stone. Today, the pine forest has given its name to the surrounding neighborhood, which is known as the Bois Lemaître district.

La Moline Park

Situated above the L2 bypass, the la Moline park represents a sublime green space accessible on foot and by bike thanks to cycle paths. Covering 11 hectares, it was created by ILEX landscape designers. Since September 2005, when the park opened, visitors have enjoyed strolling through the butterfly garden and discovering almond, jujube, maple, oak and other trees. A petanque court is available for lovers of round balls.

How to get to Montolivet

To get to the Montolivet district, you can take the bus lines 6 (Foch 5 Avenues – Bois Lemaître), 7B (Foch 5 Avenues – Bois Lemaître), 9 (les Caillols Centre Urbain – St Julien) and 67 (Métro Chartreux – La Blancarde). In the evening, thenight bus line 509 crosses the neighborhood, connecting the Canebière Bourse stop to the Les Caillols Centre Urbain terminus.

You can also reach the Montolivet district by taking the M1 metro line to the La Fourragère terminus. You then continue on foot for around 25 minutes.

By car, continue on the autoroute A51 towards Marseille, take exit 4 and leave the rocade L2. Then follow rue Charles Kaddouz and rue de l’Aiguillette towards boulevard Marius Richard to reach your destination.