Home Art The Best Virtual Tour of Street Art and Murals in Marseille, France

The Best Virtual Tour of Street Art and Murals in Marseille, France

written by ParoChak September 2, 2017

Marseille, France’s port city in the southern tip of the country, is a city like no other. Starkly different from Paris in look and feel, it is a delicious boiling cauldron of cultures and colors, thanks to maritime trade bringing in people from different parts of the Mediterranean. With strains of North Africa woven in it’s rich tapestry of life, Marseille is a city of immigrants and thus their colorful stories ย are splashed across walls as murals. People of all colors and races mingle with natural ease and their mirth is conspicuously manifested as public art. The street art in Marseille is dazzling and stunning, to say the least and the theme is as myriad as it’s population. From immigration issues plaguing Europe to flashes of veiled faces splattered across walls (a gesture against islamophobia) to simply graphic cartoons of humans and animals, Marseille Street Art has it all. We found some common themes such as the multicolored woman’s face and a fanged cartoon appearing again and again as well as walls with elaborate murals that simply took our breath away. The other thing to notice was that many stores and businesses had murals on their walls, advertising their business. So without further ado, here is a guide to some of the best Marseille street art that I could find for you in the three days that I spend there.

Marseille Street Art Tour #1 Le Panier

Le Panier in the 2nd Arrondissement, is the old town of Marseille and it’s epicenter. A must visit for anyone stopping by, this is the go to neighborhood for good food, local shops, main attractions such as the Cathedral de la Major (the second oldest church in Europe) and of course some amazing murals that it’s lanes and buildings have to offer. Start your mural hunt near La Vielle Charite from Place Des Pistoles (plaza with lots of outdoor cafes) where you will be greeted with a giant mural of a fisherman selling sardines, that is quite the symbol of Marseille (first photo above). Then onward from crumbling walls and store fronts and shutters to nooks and crannies, you will find murals sneaking up on you from everywhere. Gleaming in the fading light of the sun as it sets over the old port, these murals make the gritty streets come alive with color and represent a slice of Marseille’s social life. The variety and use of colors is simply mind boggling.

Some of the notable streets to spot murals are rue de Petit-Puits (where you will also spot a Japanese restaurant with colorful art adorning its brick red exterior), the street leading to Cathedral de la Major, rue de Poirier, rue Beauregard, rue du Refuge, rue Puits Baussenque, rue Sainte Francoise, Montee des Accoules, rue Fontaine de Caylus, rue Baussenque, rue des Honneurs, rue Michel Salvarelli, rue des Cordelles, rue du Panier, ย rue Saint Antoine, Place de Lorette, intersection of rue de la Charite and rue de la Vieille Tour. Don’t be shy to explore steps leading to open courtyards or giving way to a narrow alley since they are lined with a dazzling array of murals. As you keep on going, you will find yourself making a full circle around the plaza as we did. Being a small neighborhood with tiny streets, the murals are not that difficult to hunt down provided you are curious enough to comb the area intrepidly to quench your mural thirst. Le Panier is a bustling neighborhood and safe to explore, so no worries at all.

READ MY GUIDE TO LOS ANGELES STREET ART HERE

READ MY GUIDE TO THE MOST INSTAGRAMMABLE MURALS IN AUSTIN HERE

Marseille Street Art Tour #2 Cours Julien

If your eyes have popped out at the sight of the murals at Le Panier, wait till you see what awaits you at Cours Julien, one of the most culturally hip neighborhood of Marseille, which is also thankfully devoid of any tourists. Use Oogie, the famous rainbow mural shuttered restaurant at 55 Cours Julien as your marker and turn either left or right the large stone plaza adjacent to it, to be greeted by one mural alley after another! Same goes for the other side of the street as well. Rows and rows of murals will meet your eye, with varied themes, ranging from Indian deities adorning the Indian restaurants (there is a bustling street lined with ethnic eateries and is known as rue des 3 Rois) to beautiful Mexican street art (courtesy, a Mexican restaurant)and many others in between. Not only are the walls crammed with murals, but also the store facades have beautiful street art on them, especially the restaurants. While walking along one these alleys, I chanced upon this incredibly moving mural depicting the refugee crisis in Europe where a bunch of “monsters” are weeping reading the news of the little Kurdish boy Alan Kurdi who died on Sep 2015 while seeking safe passage through the Mediterranean, with his lifeless body washed up on the Turkish shore. This is an allegory on the loss of humanity and how we humans have turned into cruel monsters by turning a blind eye to the most vulnerable. This residential neighborhood, far from the maddening tourist crowds, gives a true glimpse of the life of locals in Marseille, chatting and dining and setting up shop (we went in the evening when the restaurants were getting ready for business) with different nationalities and ethnicities mingling with ease, laughter and over food. Also there are lots of cute local boutiques in these mural alleys and are totally worth checking out and purchasing from, rather than spending your money at tacky touristy souvenir stores.

We also found a rainbow flight of steps near the Notre Dame du Mont subway station that was stunning and led to even more murals as we walked up. Oh, and can you spot Breaking Bad’s Heisenberg/Walter White in this maze of colors? Scroll down to find it.

READ MY CHICAGO STREET ART GUIDE POST HERE

 

 

I hope you enjoyed this visual treat of Marseille street art tour. The dazzling array of murals in Le Panier and Cours Julien stand testimony to the color in the lives of those who call Marseille their home, irrespective of race, ethnicity and belief. These murals depict their hopes, joys and aspirations.

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Marseille street art guide is your virtual tour of murals and street art in Marseille, France in the Le Panier and Cours Julien neighborhoods. Locations mentioned for you to explore these lovely murals in France's port city #travel #murals #streetart #street art #art #graffiti #Europe #France #Marseille

Marseille street art guide is your virtual tour of murals and street art in Marseille, France in the Le Panier and Cours Julien neighborhoods. Locations mentioned for you to explore these lovely murals and graffiti in France's port city #travel #murals #streetart #street art #art #graffiti #Europe #France #Marseille

Marseille street art guide is your virtual tour of murals and street art in Marseille, France in the Le Panier and Cours Julien neighborhoods. Locations mentioned for you to explore these lovely murals and graffiti in France's port city #travel #murals #streetart #street art #art #graffiti #Europe #France #Marseille

 

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27 comments

Nicola September 2, 2017 at 2:10 am

Very cool pics! The street art is incredible! Have you been to Penang, Malaysia? If not, you’d love it! @backpackingkiwis

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Elise September 2, 2017 at 2:20 am

I have never seen so much street art in one place!! Absolutely amazing & you have incredible pictures! There was a mural festival in Vancouver last week and now the city is adorned with even more beautiful street art than before – you should visit if you love it too ๐Ÿ™‚

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Sarah September 2, 2017 at 3:16 am

Omg these pics are amazing!

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Jac September 2, 2017 at 8:57 am

Europe is awesome for street art, another place to go check out!

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Janine beynon September 2, 2017 at 10:05 am

Wow I can’t believe the amount of photos you have, and they are all so good!! I love wandering round places and seeing street art filling the walls. I live in Valencia, Spain which is also full of street art ๐Ÿ™‚

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Soraya September 2, 2017 at 12:02 pm

I love exploring a city through its art, especially its street art. Its amazing to learn and see a city through the lens of street art. It also can make a city so colorful! I can’t believe how much street art you have found in one area – amazing!

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Helena September 2, 2017 at 12:53 pm

Wow this is incredible. One of my favourite destinations has been the street art on the Berlin Wall so think Marseille would be right up my street, love it!

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Lieselot De Brauwer September 2, 2017 at 4:18 pm

I LOVE checking out street art when exploring a new city. Thanks for the cool photos and inspiration!

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Anisa September 2, 2017 at 5:11 pm

Wow so much street art and you did a great job capturing it all. I do want to explore more of France, so pinning this post for future reference.

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jin September 2, 2017 at 5:21 pm

Wow, that’s quite the comprehensive guide to Marseille’s street art! Love how organize and well-detailed this post is and it’s making want to hop on that plane to Marseille right now! Thank you for sharing! Enjoyed this post immensely!

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Ruth | Tanama Tales September 2, 2017 at 6:26 pm

I am a big fan of street art and murals. I am blowned away by the amount of pieces in Marseille. I do not think I have seen so much art in a place. I will go on photo frenzy.

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Stephanie September 2, 2017 at 6:48 pm

As a big street art fan, thanks to you, I’ve now put Marseille on my list! I had no idea that there was not only so much street art there but that it was so incredible and diverse!

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Victoria September 2, 2017 at 7:27 pm

Wow I have never seen street art this intricate! All of these are simply amazing. Thanks for making this. Will be sure to keep this handy if I ever make it to France

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Natalie September 2, 2017 at 7:50 pm

Wow! There is a tremendous wealth of street art there! How fun! We love exploring art on our travels with the kids. It is a great way to discuss culture.

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Alex September 2, 2017 at 8:51 pm

Wow these pictures are fab! I love street art – we have some great pieces in London ๐Ÿ™‚

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ParoChak September 2, 2017 at 8:52 pm

I know! I cannot wait to see the ones in Shoreditch!

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C-Ludik September 2, 2017 at 9:01 pm

Gorgeous photos ! I always love reading post about my own country ๐Ÿ˜‰ Iโ€™ve been to Marseille a few times before, mainly for daytrips but I never really spent time exploring Franceโ€™s second city ๐Ÿ™‚ “Le Panier” is a vibrant multicultural district of Marseille with a long history. One of the most striking things about the Panier is all the street art, found in every alley, nook and cranny. This is raw, gritty and often grungy street art with plenty of graffiti too !

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Kristin @ Camels & Chocolate September 2, 2017 at 10:59 pm

I am so loving this push for more public art in cities all over the world! It seems you can’t go anywhere without stumbling upon a mural community, and I’m not hating it at all!

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Andrea mayfield September 3, 2017 at 12:52 am

You are so good at finding the best street art! Love all of your photos! Such a great read!

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Andrea Mujica September 3, 2017 at 2:34 am

Oh man, my dad and I just couldn’t stop staring at these pictures! He is going to France in Nov. and now he wants to make time to visit Marseille. I’ve pinned this because I know he is going to be asking for it again. love this, thanks!

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Eva September 3, 2017 at 8:08 am

What an impressive collection of pictures that you have compiled!

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Teresa September 3, 2017 at 12:10 pm

This is amazing! I love street art and I had no idea Marseille had so much of it. And so gooood!! I definitely need to visit Marseille! Thanks so much for sharing ๐Ÿ™‚

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This Big Wild World September 3, 2017 at 4:49 pm

I can’t believe all of this street art is in Marseille!

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Nicole September 3, 2017 at 5:27 pm

Oh wow so much amazing street art! I’ve only started getting into this art form recently, this is a great visual post! ๐Ÿ™‚

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Natasha Stoppel September 4, 2017 at 3:10 am

WOW! That was SO MUCH ART! You’ve done an awesome job with all the square collages too. Really nice work, a great photo tour indeed. I love the turtle piece the most, incredible work!!

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Daisy Li September 4, 2017 at 12:37 pm

Can’t believe Marseille has such an artistic background!! Totally missed when I went

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Eulanda September 4, 2017 at 12:52 pm

Wow! Look at all of those incredible pieces! Marseille is definitely on the list now! Love that Breaking Bad piece! You’ve thoroughly curated a visual feast for the eyes and mind! Thanks for a fab guide!

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