The Wehrmacht spent less than two years in southern France, time enough to dot the Mediterranean coast with indestructible bunkers it would be nice to repurpose, if only for their views!
In and around Marseille you can spot any number of these blockhouses, the last vestiges of a conflict now 70 years in the past. From Les Goudes to L'Estaque through Callelongue, Le Frioul, Montredon, La Pointe Rouge and Parc Borély, remnants subsist of the Südwall that reached way beyond the city itself. The Côte-Bleue hills provided ideal positions from which to keep watch over Marseille's bay, while along the railway line the occupying forces erected numerous fortifications, some superposed on the forts built after the Sedan defeat, others taking opportune advantage of the Nerthe hills' natural cavities. After the war these constructions were pillaged; some blockhouses were turned into holiday cottages, decidedly spartan as very difficult to convert but with fabulous views out over the sea. The city council rented some at Les Goudes while the UCPA diving centre moved into the gun emplacement overlooking Niolon calanque, where repurposed bunkers fitted out with bathrooms and toilets still house trainees delighted to discover their terraces overlooking the sea. But only a few of these constructions were converted – into wine cellars and storage rooms in L'Estaque –, most of them now abandoned in a deplorable state, covered in graffiti and littered with rubbish. Demolishing them, as has many times been suggested, poses a problem in that the reinforced concrete would seem indestructible; the massive architecture of Marseille's submarine base (built in 1944 for 20 U-boats) still dominates the harbour, affording irrefutable proof.