The Arc de Triomphe in Marseille style

Birth of the Porte d'Aix project

The project to build a triumphal arch in Marseille goes back to the Ancien Régime. In 1784, the city's aldermen decided to build a triumphal arch in honor of King Louis XVI and to celebrate the end of the American Revolutionary War. The location of the Porte d'Aix is chosen, it used to be the northern gate of the ramparts. But the work is delayed due to hesitations within the municipality.

The beginning of the construction of the Arc de Triomphe

Finally, during the French Revolution the project was abandoned. But the idea reappeared in 1823 under the initiative of the Marquis de Montgrand, then Mayor of Marseille, to pay tribute to the exploits of the Duke of Angoulême in Spain and his victory at the Trocadero. The first stone was laid two years later, on November 6, 1825, after the Jules-Guesde Square, located straddling the 1st, 2nd and 3rd arrondissements, was developed. The Arc de Triomphe of the Porte d'Aix was finally completed in 1839, only three years after the Arc de l'Étoile in Paris.


By its shape, the monument reminds us of the Arch of Titus, its dimensions are harmonious with its 18 meters high and its ornamental sculptures. On the facades and sides, there are representations of the battles of Austerlitz, Fleurus and Heliopolis. Statues almost three meters high were installed but the stone being friable they disintegrated and eventually fell on the public road in 1937.

A marble plaque sealed on the foundations indicates: "This triumphal arch was approved on October 17, 1823 by the city of Marseille as a brilliant tribute to the glory of the French army and its illustrious leader, H.R.H. Monseigneur le duc d'Angoulême Since the dauphine de France. His Majesty Louis XVIII, of glorious memory Permitted by Royal Order of December 30, 1823, The erection of a monument of love and gratitude To his august family ". According to the hazards of Marseille's history, tributes vary, the Republic and the Empire have each marked their passage.

The Arc de Triomphe and the Porte d'Aix

Today, the district has fallen into disuse but has recently been part of a renovation programme conducted as part of the Euro-Mediterranean project. The Autoroute du Soleil, which had been leading right into the square since 1979, has been relocated to open up the district and redevelop it with some green spaces. This monument in Marseille has been classified as a Historical Monument since 1982. The "Marché du Soleil" not far away is a truly traditional oriental souk and is visited by many tourists. In the continuation of the popular and commercial district of Belsunce, go for a walk in Marseille to the Porte d'Aix to discover the delights of the Orient. And why not opt for segway rental to visit Marseille in a different way? This activity will delight young and old alike! For the more traditional ones, many bike rental points are accessible throughout the city to allow you to move around the city quickly and easily.

Finally, the Petit train de Marseille, perfect for families, invites you to join several guided tours of the different districts of the Phocaean City. If you are interested, the ticket office is located in the Old Port.