Le Panier carries the weight of its history lightly. The three small hills of the quartier have been inhabited continually since Marseille was founded here by Greek settlers in 600BC. In time medieval churches were built on the foundations of Greek temples and buildings of four or five stories replaced earlier houses.
In the seventeenth century the bourgeoisie deserted the old town, moving to the grand new squares and boulevards on the south side of the port. The narrow, stepped streets of Le Panier were left to fisherman, seafarers and successive waves of new arrivals from Italy, from Corsica and later from the Comoros. It’s unlikely that many of these people would have completely rebuilt a house from the ground, more likely that repairs and alterations gradually adapted buildings surviving from earlier times. As in so many old urban areas the buildings of today are a practical patchwork of foundations, walls, doorways and windows reaching back across the centuries.
(Click on any door to view the gallery)
A post for Thursday Doors.