Marseille Durable
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Stroll through the Saint-Pierre district

Sport, Pedestrian sports, Hiking itinerary in Marseille 5ème
2.9 km
  • This walk takes you through the peaceful Saint-Pierre district, in the heart of the city of Marseille.

  • It's best known for its cemetery, established in the mid-19th century. Today, families love the area, which boasts schools, numerous shops, a village atmosphere and good transport links (tramway, metro, bus and main roads). The starting point for this exploration of the neighborhood is the "Sainte-Thérèse" streetcar stop, on the T1 line towards "les Caillols".

    Follow Boulevard Sainte-Thérèse until you reach the rear of the Saint-Pierre church (1).

    Join the church square and admire the...
    It's best known for its cemetery, established in the mid-19th century. Today, families love the area, which boasts schools, numerous shops, a village atmosphere and good transport links (tramway, metro, bus and main roads). The starting point for this exploration of the neighborhood is the "Sainte-Thérèse" streetcar stop, on the T1 line towards "les Caillols".

    Follow Boulevard Sainte-Thérèse until you reach the rear of the Saint-Pierre church (1).

    Join the church square and admire the Art Deco facade on your right. At the corner of the square, turn right into rue Pascal Ruinat, which leads to the Louis Loucheur housing complex (2).

    After crossing the housing estate, whose facades are painted in a monochrome of orange, follow the railroad tracks to reach boulevard Daumas. At the end, turn right under the arch. You're now on the chemin de Saint-Jean du Désert. When you reach the traffic circle, turn left onto boulevard Jeanne d'Arc and walk back towards the railroad (3).
    You'll pass the Cristal Limiñana company (4) and the cabaret l'étoile bleue (5).
    Continue straight ahead on boulevard Jeanne d'Arc (6) until you come to the church of Saint-Pierre, then turn right. Rue Ruinat (7) leads to Rue Saint-Pierre (8). If you're observant, you'll notice that the Saint-Pierre district is home to many small buildings with tiled roofs, representative of traditional Marseille architecture.

    Turn left into rue Saint-Pierre and drive 300 meters to the main entrance to the cemetery (9). It's like entering a hemicycle extended by a vast magnolia-lined avenue. On either side of the alley are the tombs of the Marseilles bourgeoisie, who made Marseilles famous from 1850 onwards (10).

    Walk straight ahead to reach a little-known site: a military crypt (11). Continue straight ahead until you reach the 4th intersection (12), then turn left until you reach the depository. Turn right and climb the stairs. On the way, you'll come across several remarkable graves (13) and (14).
    Go straight on until you reach a staircase, then turn left to reach a secondary gate which takes you out of the cemetery.
    Go left down rue Saint-Pierre until you reach the remains of an aqueduct on your right (15). Continue straight ahead, skirting the streetcar tracks (16) and (17).

    The walk ends at the "Saint-Pierre" stop on tramway T1, which takes you back to the city center.
  • Departure
    Marseille 5ème
  • Difference in height
    27 m
  • Environment
    • Close to a public transportation
    • Close to a motorway
    • In centre of town
    • Town location
  • Spoken languages
    • French
  • Documentation
    GPX / KML files allow you to export the trail of your hike to your GPS (or other navigation tool)
Points of interest
2 Louis Loucheur housing group
In 1928, Louis Loucheur, a former Minister of Labour from Bordeaux, passed a law providing for state investment in low-cost housing. In other words, "low-cost housing". But it was not until after the Second World War that the law was actually implemented, with the creation of HLMs. The Louis Loucheur housing estate was built in the early 1930s and has 190 homes. It is managed by the social landlord 13 habitat. Today, the estate is best known for being the neighbourhood where the Marseilles rapper Jul grew up!
cité L. Loucheur©hkotlcm.jpg
3 Railway viaduct
The viaduct, built in 1850, is 383 metres long and has 92 round arches. This elevated section of railway now serves primarily as a siding, as it leads to a cul de sac. The former Gare de l'Est station was converted into a municipal park, now known as Parc du 26ème Centenaire.
voie ferrée quartier St-Pierre©hkotlcm.jpg
6 3-window building in Marseille
We're standing in front of 126 Boulevard Jeanne d'Arc.
The premises of this former primary school have been converted into a municipal activity centre. The architecture is typical. The guides will describe it as "3-window Marseille". It's a fine example of the type of construction that was common in Marseille between the 17th and early 20th centuries. The flats are all through-windows, facing both the street and the garden. Each flat has 3 windows on each side.
126 Bd Jeanne d'Arc©hkotlcm.jpg
7 Ruinat street
Originally, the street was called "Boulevard de l'Eglise de Saint-Pierre". Today, the name pays tribute to Pascal Ruinat, the owner of the land that he donated to the town for the construction of the church, the presbytery and the roads that were essential for traffic in the district. He himself inherited the land from his father on 7 February 1857. 
8 Saint-Pierre street
Rue Saint-Pierre stretches for more than 3 kilometres, from the Plaine (Place Jean Jaurès) to the eastern edge of the cemetery. This makes it one of the top 3 longest streets in Marseille. [5.4 km for the chemin du Littoral, 3.4 km rue Saint-Pierre and 2.9 km rue Paradis]. Under the patronage of the portier du paradis, the street is lined with small houses, as well as a large fire station belonging to the marine fire brigade, marble works and, more generally, businesses linked to the funeral industry.
10 Camille Olive tomb
It is a family tomb whose plot was transferred from the Saint-Charles cemetery to Saint-Pierre. Before becoming the final resting place of the wealthy Marseille timber merchant who died in 1876, the imposing mausoleum housed the coffin of a little girl who had died at the age of 2 and a half. The tomb was built under the direction of architect Pascal Coste. Fascinated by Arab architecture, Coste fused Moorish, classical and Catholic elements in the design of the mausoleum, even allowing himself a chromatic boldness in the choice of ceramics that adorn the monument. Coste has created a work that lies between two cultures, harmoniously fusing different styles to produce an unexpected and captivating result.
Cimetière Saint-Pierre Marseille©idOMTCM (3).JPG
11 The military crypt
Built in the 1930s by Gaston Castel and Eugène Senès in Art Deco style, it is dedicated to Marseille's soldiers who died on the field of honour during the First World War. It is open to the public every year on 1 and 11 November. The monument resembles a monumental door leading underground. It can be seen as an allegorical representation of death, a kind of descent into hell symbolising the horror of the First World War, which is still one of the deadliest wars in history. No one can say how many remains lie there, although it does extend over four underground levels. Its walls are covered with 1,012 plaques engraved with the names of the soldiers who fell for France.
12 The Cathedral of Silence
On your right, in the distance, you can see building blocks in the middle of the cemetery. This is in fact the "Cathedral of Silence", an eight-storey concrete structure designed to accommodate almost 190,000 graves. Like many cities around the world, Marseille has been faced with the challenge of a lack of space for its dead, a situation reminiscent of Rio de Janeiro, surrounded by sea and mountains. In 1968, the Brazilian city commissioned architect Antonio Antunès to design a twelve-storey tower "built for eternity" to house "24,000 residents". In Nantes and Marseille, the municipal authorities have followed Rio's example by erecting "building cemeteries", of which the "Cathedral of Silence" is one. Although the cost of the plot, fixed once and for all, is generally more affordable than that of a traditional plot, its architecture contrasts sharply with the often flamboyant spirit of the cemetery. It is more reminiscent of a council estate from the 1970s and 1980s. According to the architect Nanda Vigo, a pioneer of building cemeteries, the advantages of such a creation are as follows: "No more holes to dig, no more sweating... no more big, ugly sculptures to bring tears to your eyes, no more faded flowers, no more rusty iron, no more invasive weeds...".
13 Grave of the Antonin Lains family
This is the cemetery's most famous monument, known as "the last kiss". Designed by the sculptor Buselli, it depicts the deceased on her deathbed embraced by her husband, surmounted by a statue of the soul welcomed into paradise, by the sculptor Henri Reybaud.
PXL_20231215_160508187.PORTRAIT.jpg PXL_20231215_160714707.jpg
14 Tomb of the boxer Ray Grassi
The athlete, who died as a result of blows sustained during a fight in the French featherweight championship, is depicted life-size. The epitaph is remarkable and poignant: "If, in the ring, bitter destiny wanted you to fall in combat, know that forever, in your mother's heart, we will hear yours beating". Raymond Grassi died at the age of 23.
15 Saint-Pierre aqueduct
It carries water from the Ville diversion. Construction work was completed in 1851. In its entirety, it was 383 m long and originally comprised 92 semi-circular arches, each with a 3 m opening.
16 The Saint-Pierre depot, tramway storage centres
RTM (Régie des Transports Métropolitains) has seven depots to manage its network of some 80 regular lines, including three depots dedicated to buses, one mixed depot for buses and trams, one depot dedicated exclusively to trams, and two depots reserved for metros. The Saint-Pierre depot is equipped to maintain a large number of bus lines and all tramway trains. It also houses the tramway control centre (PCT). The Saint-Pierre depot manages the bus routes that serve the metro interchanges at Castellane and La Timone. It also runs the evening bus network from the Canebière Bourse hub. RTM is carrying out a project to reconfigure and modernise part of the bus depot, due for completion in 2026.
centre remisage tramway©hkotlcm.jpg RTM dépôt St Pierre©hkotlcm.jpg
17 Location of the future police headquarters
Between the tramway control centre and the bus depot there is an enclave housing the CRS 54 (Republican Security Company). This space will be replaced by a new police headquarters, with a floor area of 44,700 m², scheduled for construction in 2027. The CRS company will move to the Ravelle site in the 13th arrondissement in 2026.
CRS 54©hkotlcm.jpg emplacement CRS 54©hkotlcm.jpg
27 meters of difference in height
  • Maximum altitude : 58 m
  • Minimum altitude : 34 m
  • Total positive elevation : 27 m
  • Total negative elevation : -34 m
  • Max positive elevation : 13 m
  • Min positive elevation : -14 m