La Canebière is the district in Marseille that runs a mile east-west along the broad boulevard of La Canebière towards Vieux Port (Old Port). La Canebière is considered the town’s hub. In the old days, the district was at the heart of Marseille’s rope-making industry, its land used to grow hemp. Today, you’ll find many cafés, restaurants, shops, and hotels along this wide boulevard.
In many ways, however, La Canebière is more than just a hub and actually somewhat of a border, dividing the poor from the north and the rich southern quarters of Marseille. The district has become dominated by Arabs and Mediterranean migrants in recent years and its streets lined with stalls set up to sell everything from stereos and metal-ware, to spices, cloth, jeans, and suits.
There are two museums in La Canebière of interest: the Musée de la Marine et de l’Economie de Marseille (Marine and Economy Museum) and the Musée de la Mode de Marseille (Marseille Fashion Museum). The former museum was built in 1860 by Napoléon III and covers the maritime history of Marseille from the 17th century onwards; you’ll find model ships, paintings, engravings, and medallions. The latter museum is an exhibition on fashion from the 1920s to the present and highlights cutting-edge designs over the years; on display are more than 3,000 outfits and accessories.
Musée de la Marine et de l’Economie de Marseille
Musée de la Mode de Marseille