les docks

Année zéro - year zero


The dockside warehouses built under the supervision of Gustave Desplaces between 1858 and 1864 have always been an emblematic landmark in the Marseille cityscape. Now Les Docks, as they are called, are starting a new life.


The building is 365m long (for the days of the year) and has 4 yards (for the seasons), 52 doors (for the weeks) and 7 storeys (for the days of the week), though this rather clumsy symbolism is not obvious to the eye. Renovation work began over a year ago, and the rejuvenated building opens this autumn under the name of Les Docks Marseille®. It will be the beat­ing heart of the Joliette district, which is itself in the throes of becoming Marseille’s new and busy downtown core.With a playful architectural design and an exceptional interior décor, a number of terraces and 80 shops, Les Docks Marseille® aims to provide complementary retail and services offerings, with novel retail outlets and an ongoing social life (it will be open seven days a week from 10am to 8pm, with restaurants open till 1am). It will have chic and trendy ready-to-wear brands, fashion wear by local Marseille designers, new restaurant concepts, cafés and light refreshments, a market with twelve food stalls run by producers and artisans, neighbourhood services etc. So there will be everything to meet the day to day needs of the 3500-odd staff working in the 220 resident companies as well as outside customers, with a mixed offering wisely balanced between food retail, restaurants, cafés and bars (45%), shops and services (40%), and culture and leisure (15%).With such a varied offering, striking architectural design and cultural and festive highlights, Les Docks Marseille® looks to be a winning formula and a prime example of the new generation of urban multi-purpose amenities.


By Maurice Gouiran