Yesterday when I was racing through Marseille with my bike boys I got glimpses of places that I would love to explore further. One of these places was Le Canet, a former industrial area where oïl and soap manufacturers had their production. After some reaserch tonight I now know more about what I saw. It is a pity that no explanations were giving during the ride, though. Perhaps I should arrange my own "slow ride visits" to allow people to discover the different areas of Marseille and their mainly industrial history?
Boulevard du Commandant-Finet in Le Canet, the scene of mafia and gang related killings: three men working for the gangster Francis le Belge were executed here in 1972, the killing of 10 people in the Bar du Téléphone in 1978, the killing of Pierrot la Boulange in 1981 and the kidnapping of Djoujou in the Bar du Petit Canet in 2010. I have the feeling that I will be exploring the more recent past of Marseille in the coming weeks and months.
Station Alexandre was built by the shipowner and trader Victor Régis who had arranged for his private train line to bring the raw materials of arachide and copra to his production site. Renovations started in 2004, and the result is rather splendid (though I only got a glimpse of this business centre). Do you remember my article about Notre Dame du Travail and its architecture? This is the same period.
Le Canet Cimetary where Francis le Belge is buried in the family grave of the Vanverberghe and where of the names on the tombstones are almost exclusively Italian. I read somewhere that in 1911 there were 550,000 inhabitants in Marseille of whom 94,000 were Italians. That is incredible!
I am ashamed to confess that yesterday we raced through the narrow streets in the cimetary like naughty kids. We even took three turns at the roundabout out of pure joy! Cimetaries should really be visited slowly which will allow you to read the tombstones like the glossy pages in Hello or Gala!!!