Marseille Durable
  See photos (5)

A bargain hunter's stroll through the antiques district

Sport, Hiking itinerary, Pedestrian sports in Marseille 1er
1.5 km
1h 30min
Very easy
  • Discover the shopping streets of the city center and join the Antiquaires district. Three parallel and perpendicular streets are home to a wide range of shops, often housed in former townhouses.

  • Departing from the Marseille Convention and Visitors Bureau, this urban stroll takes you through neighborhoods that developed in the 18th and 19th centuries. Look up and you'll see beautiful facades that bear witness to a sumptuous era. All these shopping streets in downtown Marseille cater for all tastes and budgets. You'll find all the major luxury brands, international chain store brands and small retailers offering very low-priced goods.
Points of interest
1 La Canebière
The Canebière is a mythical and historic thoroughfare, now pedestrianised and living at a completely different tempo. Take the time to stroll along and rediscover the majestic façades, which in the 19th century, during its heyday, were home to the city's grand hotels and finest cafés.
La Canebière2©mrOMTCM-min.jpg
2 The Palais de la Bourse
The first building to be erected under the Second Empire, from 1852 to 1854, it launched the great wave of public building construction in Marseille. Inaugurated by Napoleon III in 1860, the Palais de la Bourse houses the Chamber of Commerce and Industry. Step inside to admire the grand marble hall and elegant colonnade.
Palais de la Bourse @joOMTCMr.jpg
3 Rue Saint-Ferréol
Rue Saint-Ferréol is Marseille's pedestrianised street, where you'll find all the big names in French and international fashion. This street links the Canebière to the Prefecture.

With a total length of 550 metres, it dates back to the end of the 17th century. During the Revolution, the street was named "rue du niveau". It is unlikely that this name had anything to do with the symbol of equality. On the other hand, it is one of the few streets in the town that has no incline and is virtually flat.

Since the 18th century, it has been one of the city's most beautiful streets, renowned for its luxury shops, banks and, in the 1920s, its cinemas. Since 1989, rue 'St-Fé', as it is known in Marseille, has been a pedestrian-only area, a major innovation at the time.
Rue St Férréol©MarseilleShopping.JPG
4 Rue de Rome
Rue de Rome is a shopping street dedicated more to sportswear. It forms part of a very long north-south axis that links the Place de l'Arc de Triomphe, the "Porte d'Aix" for the people of Marseille, to the Obélisque in Mazargues, over a total length of 6.2 kilometres.
On your left at this junction is rue Méolan, famous for Père Blaize's herbalist shop.
5 Père Blaize herb shop
The story of this shop begins in the early 19th century, in the heart of the Alps, in the Ecrins valley. This is where Toussaint Blaize's family originated. It was here that he developed his talents as a plant healer, and his growing reputation led him to travel more and more regularly by mule to Marseille to sell his crops. In 1815, he married a woman from Marseilles and that same year bought a small shop on rue Méolan. The shop never left its original location. His descendants say he was the "Gandhi of his time". Until his death at the age of 92 in 1882, he devoted his life to helping others and healing them with plants. The adage of the Blaize-Bonnabel family is: "the doctor treats, nature heals". The shop is a worthy representative of traditional Marseille businesses.
Façade Herboristerie©PèreBlaize-min.JPG
6 Rue Grignan and the Musée Cantini
The name of the street comes from the vast private mansion, surrounded by the Rue Saint-Ferréol, the Rue Grignan and the Rue Montgrand, which belonged to the Comte de Grignan.
This man had married a woman of unparalleled beauty: Françoise, the daughter of the Marquise de Sévigné. She was the famous recipient of the many letters published by her mother. Through this correspondence, we discover all the key events that took place in Paris in the 17th century.

In the 18th century, a wealthy merchant, Jean Payan, took possession of the house, but he was guillotined in 1794.

Throughout the 19th century, Marseille underwent a number of changes as the city grew and expanded southwards. Major building projects were undertaken. In 1825, the site of the Count de Grignan's former town house was subdivided and a Protestant temple was built on one of the plots, now at number 15 rue Grignan.

Today, rue Grignan (like rue Montgrand) is home to a number of luxury brands. The buildings are all former private mansions that once housed some of Marseille's most notables, as well as historical figures passing through the city.
7 Musée Cantini
The Musée Cantini is a private mansion built in 1694. Initially, it belonged to a company specialising in coral mining and trading along the Algerian coast. It was then acquired by the Montgrand family of notables, who added a number of outbuildings (garden, private zoo and stables). The last renowned owner was the marble mason and sculptor Jules Cantini. He died in 1916, aged 90, and bequeathed a large part of his collections and fortune to the city of Marseille. This includes the building that today houses the Cantini Museum of Modern Art. Since its inauguration, this museum has provided access to one of the finest collections of French art produced between 1900 and 1960. Every year, it also hosts some remarkable temporary exhibitions.
Musée Cantini Facade©CantiniVDM (2)r.jpg
8 Prefecture
The monumental Hôtel de la Préfecture is a quadrilateral building built during the Second Empire. The prefect's private flats are housed in the left wing, surrounded on either side by a garden (on the rue de Rome side) and a courtyard (in the centre). In 1800, the very first prefect was Charles Delacroix, father of the famous painter Eugène Delacroix, who spent a few years growing up in Marseille.

It was in November 1826 that the private gardens of the prefecture became home to a future star, the giraffe Zarafa, a royal gift from Charles X. The animal first travelled by boat from Egypt to arrive in Marseille. Accustomed to the African climate, she spent the winter in the city to acclimatise. Every day, she was walked on a lead through the streets, before the astonished eyes of the inhabitants. The prefect at the time, Christophe Villeneuve-Bargemont, organised numerous receptions, culminating in a visit to Zarafa's stable. The highlight of the evening! In April 1827, escorted by two cows and a veritable court, she walked the 880 kilometres to Paris. This journey through France sparked off "girafomania", as it was the very first time that such an animal had been found on French soil. It lived peacefully until 1845. She was naturalised and today Zarafa can be admired at the Natural History Museum in La Rochelle!

To find out more about the construction of this building, read the full description by clicking on the photo.
prefecture_salon_des_continents@hkotcm.jpg prefecture_salon_d_honneur@hkotcm.jpg girafe_zarafa@hkotcm.jpg
9 Antiquarian Quarter
A wrought-iron arch at the bottom of rue Edmond Rostand marks the entrance to this district, which since the 1950s has been home to antique dealers, art galleries, second-hand booksellers, decorators, framers, cabinet-makers, fashion boutiques and restaurants. Four times a year, the Rostand association organises a nationally-renowned antique fair.
quartier des Antiquaires©saOTCM (1).jpg
10 Place Estrangin-Pastré
At the junction of boulevard Paul Peytral, rue Paradis and cours Pierre Puget, you come across a fountain enthroned in the centre of place Estrangin-Pastré. It dates from 1890 and represents the four continents. It undeniably underlines Marseille's maritime vocation. Donated by Jean Alexis Estrangin, a wealthy Marseilles merchant, it is surrounded by two major monuments emblematic of the city's commercial power: the Banque de France and the Caisse d'Epargne.
The Banque de France building is of a sober nature, but its façade features a beautiful clock.
The Caisse d'Epargne, on the other hand, boasts more ornate architecture. Above the three large entrance doors, there are four medallions in bas-relief representing a ship under sail, the symbol of trade and commerce, and the faces of Greek and Roman divinities: Thetis, the marine goddess, Mercury, the protector of travellers and trade, and Ceres, the goddess of agriculture. At the corner of the building (on the Cours Pierre Puget side), sculptor Auguste Carli created a work representing savings: in the centre, a woman holds a passbook in her hand. To her left, blacksmiths entrust her with their savings, while to her right, an elderly couple sit peacefully.
Place Estrangin, Fontaine2©OTCM.JPG
31 meters of difference in height
  • Maximum altitude : 36 m
  • Minimum altitude : 6 m
  • Total positive elevation : 31 m
  • Total negative elevation : -12 m
  • Max positive elevation : 20 m
  • Min positive elevation : -12 m