Porte d'Aix, Marseille
Once one of the gates to the city, the Porte d'Aix is a grand arch similar to Paris' Arc de Triomphe, marooned on a traffic island in a litter-strewn park. In 2012, I couldn't get close, as...you guessed it...fences surrounded it, presumably for some sort of restoration work in preparation for the big event in 2013.
To the north is a lively street market on Rue du Bon Pasteur in an area I was told by someone in the hostel not to go to, as it has a dodgy reputation. Not really sure what that was based on, as there was nothing threatening about it at all. If you want to buy a hijab, an Algerian football shirt, a nargile, halal meat or sugary North African sweets, this is a good place to try as most traders and customers seem to be Arab.
South of the arch, at the start of Cours Belsunce, is some sort of government office which has two things worth a quick look. The first is a remnant of the city wall, a solitary arch made of stone, wedged between two office blocks. The second is an Armenian khachkar or cross, a memorial to the Armenian genocide of 1915 I presume, as there was nothing around to say what it was for, aside from the date.
This Arch of Triumph is called Porte d'Aix as it was the way to connect Marseille with Aix-en-Provence (and Paris). It was realized by Architect Penchaud (XIXth century) and adorned by inscriptions and low-reliefs (David d'Angers and Jules Ramey) to commemorate the Revolution Triumph.
Follow the suggested Tour with rue d'Aix and Cours Belsunce until La Canebière.
The Porte d’Aix - that’s how this particular Arc de Triomphe is called - markes the entrance to the city. It was built in year 1825 Penchaud, following the lines and the style of the famous ancient Roman Triumphal Arch in Orange nearby. This one was to celelbrate the glory of the Republic, the Consulate and the Empire - not Roman, like in Orange, but French, of course.
Like Paris, there is an Arc de Triumph in Marseilles. However this one is much smaller and you can not enter the monument and climb to the top. Its sits on a beautiful hill area not far from the train station.