Street art in the Cours Julien, MarseillePerched up on a hill, the hip Cours Julien district is beloved of Marseille's "bo-bo" (bourgeois-bohemian) community. It teems with bars, restaurants, theatres and shops with colourful, hand-painted façades.

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Among the hottest bars and restaurants on the Cours Ju, as locals call it: Oogie Lifestore at 55 cours Julien; WAAW (What An Amazing World) at 17 rue Pastoret; and La Cantinetta at 24 cours Julien.

Just up the road, the place Jean Jaurès at the top of the hill is also sometimes referred to as La Plaine and also has many interesting spots. Try the excellent real ales at the microbrewery and bar Bière de la Plaine or the super restaurant Lacaille, one of our current favourites in town.

For more information on events and the happening venues check the local association website, as well as our own guide to visiting Cours Julien with young children.

Meanwhile enjoy our own gallery of street art, below, photographed on a mild early autumn afternoon in 2010. But remember: since then many of these will have disappeared or been replaced by other, equally inventive images. Gallery images © SJ for Marvellous Provence.

L'Eléphant rose street art in Cours Julien Marseille

In fact a current project in the Cours Julien district celebrates the "here today, gone tomorrow" nature of street art. A respected graffiti artist is regularly invited to decorate a 5 x 3 metre / 16 x 10 foot space on the wall of the Surcouf bar at the corner of the rue Crudère and the Cours Julien.

Marseille Le MurHis or her work remains on view for just one month, before it is replaced by a new creation. Pictured, Le Mur in November 2013 created by STF Moscato.

Started by an association called Juxtapoz, the concept has been on the go since 2012, and it's hoped to persuade more property owners to make their façades available for decoration.

And here's a brilliant way to get a real flavour of the quarter: devised by Google, Night Walk in Marseille is an immersive and interactive guided tour through the Cours Julien on a late summer night, complete with sound and music effects and a (not too intrusive) poetic commentary, available in English or French.

Julie, your companion, takes you to 34 different spots, but, a little in the manner of Google Streetview, you can also pan around, look down side-streets or zoom in on interesting details. Click here to go on the Night Walk in Marseille.

Though "tags" (graffiti simply involving an individual's or gang's name in giant letters) are illegal, street art has now acquired a level of legitimacy and acclaim in Marseille. Guided tours of the latest work, including one aimed specifically at kids, are even offered by the Marseille Tourist Office.

News for street art in MarseilleAnd there are currently two shows in Marseille celebrating street art: a hip-hop restrospective at the [mac] Museum of Contemporary Art and an exploration of graffiti from all around the Mediterranean at the MuCEM. Both run until early January 2018.

Just after the terrorist attack in Paris on the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo on 7 January 2015, the street artist known as Julien painted a portrait of Cabu (Jean Cabut), the popular cartoonist who was one of those killed in the massacre.

Update: when we revisited this site in September 2017, the Cabu mural had disappeared. Street art in Marseille, as elsewhere, is highly ephemeral! However, there were plenty of new pieces to enjoy. We'll be posting pictures shortlly.

How to get there: Metro (line 2, stop: Notre Dame du Mont).

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