The Aix Marseille Provence Metropole

As the first port in France, the second one on the Mediterranean and the sixth in Europe, the GPMM enjoys a strategic position at the heart of Marseille, the 2nd largest city in France and part of the Aix-Marseille-Provence metropolis. The location’s historical, maritime/naval, urban, scenic, heritage, human and logistical foundations are truly exceptional.

Since antiquity, the pleasant climate, consistent sunlight, and diversified landscapes have settled people, attracted global exchanges and fascinated the greatest of artists and writers.

The bays of Marseille and Fos are a privileged area for Mediterranean and global trade while being a natural southern gateway to Europe. On January 1, 2016, the Aix-Marseille-Provence metropolis was delineated and is home to 1.8 million inhabitants.

The proximity to the Mediterranean Sea, an exceptional harbour, a city overlooking the port and a young creative population enriched by globalization reflect the renewed attraction that Marseille has been exercising over the past 20 years though social and territorial disparities still remain. Like other major European and global metropoles, Marseille is also experiencing immense urban development, albeit in a uniquely different setting.

For the past ten years, Marseille’s waterfront has been undergoing dramatic transformations spearheaded by two of the French State’s public establishments, the Grand Port de Marseille and the Euro-Mediterranean, supported by other local authorities.

Grand Port Maritime de Marseille

Previously known as the "Port Autonome de Marseille" (PAM), the Grand Port Maritime de Marseille (GPMM), is the French State’s public body responsible for operating, managing and promoting port facilities from Marseille to Fos-sur-Mer, in application of Decree No. 2008-1033 dated October 9, 2008. The public entity is responsible for managing and appraising owned or assigned property in accordance with 3° of Article L. 5312-2 of the French Transport Regulatory Code.

Among the various structures, the J1 Hall occupies more than 25,000 sq. meters spread over 3 floors. It overlooks two berths and is currently part of La Joliette Maghreb Passenger Terminal operated by the GPMM. Depending on whether or not necessary road access is completed, the commissioning of new international terminals at Cap Janet in 2021 will allow the GMPM to transfer Maghreb operations from La Joliette terminal to the J1. This scheduled initiative has paved the way for the GPMM’s decision to upgrade the J1 Hall for it to accommodate new revenue-generating activities.

With its exceptional location and its historic significance for both Marseille and the port, the J1 will be the centrepiece of the city’s new prestigious waterfront currently under construction.


The J1 hall and its surroundings

Located in the immediate vicinity of Place de La Joliette, the J1 is the last standing remnant of the historic Joliette halls, offering one of the most beautiful views of Marseille. In the heart of the commercial basin, the three-floor building on the waterfront overlooks an astonishing panorama of the harbour, port and city. These characteristics make it an exceptional site, with unparalleled potential for out of the ordinary projects.

Thanks to its history, dimensions and unique position in both the heart of the port and of the new Marseille, close to the MuCEM (Musée des Civilisations de l’Europe et de la Méditerranée) and La Joliette business district, the J1 offers unique possibilities and has the potential to become an emblematic building in the city-port interface.

  • Construction: 1920s
  • 3 floors: ground floor + 2
  • Total area covered: approximately 25 000m² (8 500m² per floor)
  • Height (roof): 23m
  • Width: 34m
  • Length of Northern facade: 264m
  • Length of Southern facade: 232m

Marseille, Capital of the South

  • Large Mediterranean Port
  • 2600 years of history
  • In the heart of the Aix-Marseille-Provence and in close proximity to the Côte d’Azur
  • 5 million tourists; 1.6 million cruise ships
  • European Capital of Culture in 2013 and of Sports in 2017
  • 300 days of sun per year

The J1: An Exceptional Structure in the Heart of the Marseille Metropole

Located in La Joliette, the J1 lies in close proximity to various transportation facilities :

  • Marseille-Provence International Airport is less than 30 minutes away (A7 then A55)
  • Saint Charles Train Station is less than 15 minutes away from Joliette / Paris is 3 hours away by TGV
  • Paris is 3 hours away by TGV
  • 200m away from La Joliette metro station and tramway
  • Various bus lines
  • A number of underground parking lots in immediate proximity

A Masterpiece on the Prestigious Waterfront Built within the Euro-Mediterranean Perimeter

  • Le MuCEM (Musée des Civilisations de l’Europe et de la Méditerranée)
  • Villa Méditerranée – Conferences and exhibitions
  • Regards de Provence Museum
  • FRAC - Fonds Régional d’Art Contemporain - Museum
  • Voûtes de la Major – Art, shops & food
  • Palace de l’Hôtel Dieu - Intercontinental - hotel
  • The Docks – Offices & shops
  • Joliette business district
  • The Terrasses du Port - shops & foods
  • The Silo - Concert hall
  • Le Castel – High standard real estate
  • Historical Insert

    “Built in the late 1920s, the J1 is the last reinforced concrete remnant of the Grand Port Maritime de La Joliette, which was constructed during the interwar period by the Marseille Chamber of Commerce, as part of concessions given to the Port de Marseille in the form of halls and tools. Unique for its time, the J1 was designed by none other than architect Gaston Castel, director of the Architecture Department of Marseille. The hall was at the heart of the complex in terms of both infrastructure and architecture. As the only two-floor structure supported by a steel frame, the J1 was able to boast a wide sea-facing gable for more architectural appeal.”
    René Borruey, Historian

  • The J1 in 2013

    In 2013, the J1 hosted one of the major museographic spaces during “Marseille Provence European Capital of Culture 2013”. The R+2 storey, directly accessible from the Boulevard du Littoral, welcomed more than 300,000 visitors from January to December 2013, during both the “Mediterranean” and “Le Corbusier” exhibitions.

  • The City-Port Charter

    The transformation of the J1 is part of an ambitious project to reorganize the port basins of Marseille. Signed by the State, the EPAEM, the GPMM, the City of Marseille, the Marseille Provence Metropole Urban Community, CD 13, CR PACA and the Marseille Provence Chamber of Commerce in 2013, the City-Port Charter allows for a shared and balanced vision of the project. The port opens up to more urban activities and the urban surroundings support port activities.

  • Today

    The J1 is at the heart of the international terminal of La Joliette. Vehicles embark on ferries to Algeria from ground level, while the maritime port on the first floor welcomes passengers without vehicles. The second floor houses the Port Training Institute (IFEP-ITIP) and host events aimed at promoting the region.

  • In the future

    ferries to Algeria will be merged with international passenger traffic to the Maghreb in a new terminal being built in the north port which is directly connected to major metropolitan services. The merging will allow a diversified use of the J1, adjacent berths and neighbouring landfills, in addition to new city-port relationships. Such upgrades must be compatible with the development of the Corsica terminals and the neighbouring high-end cruise terminals that remain part of La Grande Joliette basin sector.
    The port is part of an exceptional heritage site and a rich landscape, and promises a prosperous and remarkable future. Exceptionally located between land and sea, the J1 can become a link between the city and the harbour, as a symbol of the port's renewal and modernity.

The Southern part of the Dike

The "Grande Jetée du Large" is a pier structure protecting the Marseille port basins that was built in various stages since 1844, as the port developed.

Currently inaccessible to the public due to international safety and security regulations, the pier was initially built to shelter ports and accommodate ships, in addition to acting as a promenade – a place of life.

Part of the seawall might be part of the "LE J1" call for project proposals.