The walk begins on rue des Catalans, in front of the beach of the same name. The Catalans district owes its name to the Spanish fishermen from Catalonia who, in the 18th century, obtained permission to come and lay their nets along the coast of Marseille and sell their catch. It is the only district in the city to bear the name of a group of foreigners, even though many of them settled in the city during the various periods of migration. Marseille has always been a city of transit and welcome.
On your right, after the modern building, you will see 3 capital letters in blue: CNM, which stands for Cercle des Nageurs.
Marseille Underwater Museum
Monument to the dead of the oriental army and distant lands
On the other side of the street, just past the Tabi Japanese restaurant run by top chef Ippei Uemura, there is a wrought-iron structure representing a bridge and 3 arches. This is the first bonus route to the Vallon des Auffes.
Pedestrians: go down the stairs.
Cyclists: Before the Japanese restaurant, turn right onto Boulevard des Dardanelles. Then, still on the right, go down rue du Vallon des Auffes.
Vallon des Auffes
Le Vallon des Auffes is a tiny fishing port renowned for its picturesque setting and fish restaurants, several of which are Michelin-starred.
Return to the Corniche Kennedy to continue the route
Belvedere and Place Paul Ricard
For many years, this space was visited by fans of the footballer Zinedine Zindane, whose portrait was displayed on the wall in front of you. Today, a plaque pays tribute to the creator of the aniseed-flavoured spirit of the same name. The Marseilles businessman was also a defender of the marine environment, which may explain the choice of this location, facing the sea and the islands of Marseilles.
View of the islands
The Place Paul Ricard offers a wide view of the islets of Endoume in the foreground, the black and yellow cardinal marks Canoubier and Sourdaras indicating an isolated underwater danger for sailors, the Château d'If and the islands of the Frioul archipelago.
Hot sea baths
This is a former thalassotherapy centre that opened in 1903. As its name suggests, the seawater was heated to provide therapeutic treatments that were very fashionable at the time. The foot access to the sea also allowed visitors to immerse themselves in the cold seawater. Marc Piétri bought the property in 2000, and in 2008 it was transformed into two family homes featuring white walls and Mediterranean-style shutters. To see them from the inside, here are some beautiful photos: Pietri Architectes | Les Bains de Mer Chauds -> https://www.pietriarchitectes.com/posts/les-bains-de-mer-chauds
Marc Pietri was a great builder who rose through the ranks of the Constructa property group, where he was a majority shareholder and then Chairman and CEO. He died suddenly in February 2020.
The Malmousque district
It was with the opening of the Corniche that this fishermen's quarter took off. Cabanons and sumptuous villas still coexist here. This is where you'll find Gérald Passédat's hotel and restaurant, Marseille's first 3-star Michelin restaurant.
Take the time to follow our guided tour to discover the narrow streets of Malmousque and find out all about this picturesque district of Marseille: https://www.marseille-tourisme.com/experience/malmousque-et-petits-ports-de-la-corniche-marseille-fr-3239899/
Itinerary for cyclists and pedestrians: at 122 Corniche Kennedy, turn right onto rue Boudouresque, which winds through the district. On the right, rue Va à la Calanque gives you a glimpse of the tiny port. Return to Rue Boudouresque, which continues into Chemin du Génie. After the small hill where you can admire the "what you see" balcony, turn right onto rue Plateau de Malmousque, which ends in a cul-de-sac. Return via Rue de la Douane, which takes you back to Rue Bourdouresque on the left and back to Corniche Kennedy in the opposite direction.
Pedestrians can continue along rue de la Douane and, after the large bend to the left, descend the staircase to the right leading to traverse de la Cascade. At 10 Traverse de la Cascade, turn right into Rue Anse de Maldormé, which will take you past the entrance to the Relais et Châteaux hotel "Le Petit Nice". Turn left at the small crossroads in rue des Braves, where you can take a look at Monsieur Passédat's kitchens. Walk up the street until it takes you back to the traverse de la Cascade. Turn right onto Corniche Kennedy.
After passing the Rhul hotel and restaurant, renowned for its bouillabaisse, turn right to admire another view of the Anse de la fausse monnaie, Petit Nice and Ile Degaby. Today it's a venue that can be hired for all kinds of events: http://evenementiel-ile-degaby.com/index.html
This is where a beautiful cycle path starts up again, protected from car traffic. However, please keep your speed down and share the space with others, especially at bus stops where pedestrians are likely to linger.
Villas by the sea
Marseille's leading industrialists and bourgeoisie found the Corniche to be an ideal location for building villas that rivalled each other in originality and fantasy. The seaside "follies" built during the Second Empire bear witness to the wealth and maritime power of Marseille at the time. Some are still privately owned, while others belong to the local council.
Park and Villa Valmer
Take the pedestrian walkway to the Parc Valmer on your right, directly opposite the Marégraphe. This is the last bonus route of the tour. A tarmac road leads up to a belvedere that still offers panoramic views of the harbour and the islands of Marseille.
The influence of Chambord's Renaissance style
The mosaics on the Corniche bench
Since 2016, and after a number of twists and turns, mosaic artist and founder of the Viv'arthe association Paola Cervoni has drawn in her wake more than 2,000 budding creators, aged from 5 to 93, to create 77 mosaic benches. That's 77 linear metres of the 600 bench modules that make up the entire structure. The genesis of the project is clearly inspired by similar creations in Barcelona, notably in the Parc Guell, which include street furniture. The mosaics have been created in schools, social centres, municipal activity centres and retirement homes. The theme of all the Marseille creations is friendship.
View of the Prado beaches
In front of you, the Nhow Marseille hotel. Then the water at the Roucas-Blanc base, which is currently undergoing major works as the site of the future Olympic marina for the Paris 2024 Olympic Games. Marseille has been chosen to host the sailing events. In the distance, the Prado beaches, which were developed in the 1970s using the fill left over from digging up the two metro lines. The Prado beaches form a seaside park covering 26 hectares and a length of 3.5 kilometres.
The walk ends at the foot of the statue of David, where Avenue du Prado 2 leads down to the sea.