The Opéra district

between heritage and novelties

Whether you’re a Marseillais or just passing through the south of France, the Opéra is one of the neighborhoods you’re sure to want to stroll through. It includes the Opéra municipal, the Palais de la Bourse and the beginning of rue Saint-Ferréol. Take a detour to the heart of Marseille’s hustle and bustle.

A neighborhood near the Old Port

Located in the 1st arrondissement, l’Opéra is one of the 6 neighborhoods belonging to the 1st sector of the City of Marseille along with Belsunce, le Chapitre, Noailles, Saint-Charles and Thiers. Close to the Vieux-Port, this neighborhood with its heteroclite atmosphere mixes upmarket shops and unpretentious brands. It is made up of standing buildings that offer an ideal living environment for young working people. There’s also no shortage of entertainment in the heart of this Marseille neighborhood, made up of bars and trendy restaurants.

Since 2015, the Opéra district is getting a facelift to attract both visitors and Marseillais who tend to stay solely on the Vieux-Port. Henceforth, due to the dynamism instilled on the district, the vacationers and inhabitants of the city are heading more to the adjacent alleyways provided with tea bars, coffee shops, trendy boutiques and other charming shops. This change was both an opportunity and a gamble taken by Cosens and Mendinscop, the two associations behind the ‘Marseillez-moi’ project.

What to see in the Opéra district?

L’Opéra municipal de Marseille

Inaugurated in 1787 in the presence of the Governor of Provence, the Opéra municipal was built on the former Grand-Théâtre de Marseille to plans by architect Joachim Bénard. At the time, the streets were dedicated to theater and music. During a fire in 1919, the building is partially destroyed during a rehearsal. One year later, the City of Marseille restored it to its full splendor thanks to work carried out over three years by Gaston Castel and a collective of renowned architects and artists. It wasn’t until 1945 that the Opéra de Marseille was managed by the city in collaboration with the Théâtre de l’Odéon. Listed as one of France’s historic monuments since 1997, the Opéra is a veritable architectural gem due to its successful blend of the eighteenth-century style and the Art Deco style of the 1920s. Today, managed by the municipality, it hosts artists and prestigious shows, operas and ballets with an international reputation. The Opera aims to be accessible to all audiences, for young and old alike.

The Palais de la Bourse

The first building to be erected under the Second Empire, the Palais de la Bourse owes its conception to architect Pascal Coste. It was the starting point of the major wave of public building construction in Marseille in the mid XIXth century. During theSecond World War, it was the only public building to suffer damage as a result of the fighting to liberate the city. In August 1944, a fire even destroyed the archives. Today, the building houses the headquarters of the Chambre de Commerce et d’Industrie Marseille-Provence and the Musée de la Marine et de l’Économie. In 2010, to celebrate its 150 years of existence, the palace benefited from the renovation of its 6600 m2 of facades.

La rue Saint-Ferréol

Affectionately known as St Fé, rue Saint-Ferréol connects the Canebière to place Félix Baret. For shopping addicts, this is the pedestrian street not to be missed. The street is made up of various big fashion names, but also several cosmetics shops and even jewelry stores. The city’s most popular shopping artery, it invites young people to make a date every Saturday afternoon to meet, chat and stroll.


Created by British artist Norman Foster, the Ombrière du Vieux-Port has been attracting all eyes since its installation. A place for meetings, souvenir photos (watch out for a stiff neck), events or street performances, this work is an immense 22-meter by 48-meter mirrored ceiling that has the particularity of reflecting the quai des Belges and passers-by walking beneath it. The Ombrière provoked many reactions at the start of its construction. Eventually, it became progressively anchored in the urban landscape as one of the symbols of the Phocaean city.

Practical information


Quai De la Fraternité, Marseille 1er