La Canebière is without a doubt the most popular and frequented street in the city. Lined with shops and museums, and bisecting a number of popular shopping streets (such as rue Saint-Ferreol), it throngs with people every day.
Opened in 1666 during the expansion of Marseille on the orders of Louis XIV, The Canebière took its name from the Provencal word Canebe, meaning hemp, which recalls the rope-makers who had been based in this area since the Middle Ages. But it was only at the start of the Grand Arsenal in the late 18th century that the Canebière was extended all the way to the Old Port of Marseille and beautiful buildings were built along it.
The Second Empire and colonial expansion had a significant effect on Marseille: major avenues were laid, sumptuous buildings were built, and a new port was created. The Canebière's heyday was during the Third Republic, thanks to the intense intellectual and commercial activity in the cafes, major hotels and department stores.
The Canebière quickly established itself as a major symbol of Marseille and its port.
Photo credits: VDM/OTCM tous droits réservés