1. What makes you happy in this city?
Marseille is a city on the beach. On sunny days—and in less than ten minutes—, I can leave the office and take a quick swim at lunchtime or relax in the evening at sunset. Nothing like it to relieve stress!
Hopefully this will say it all: on a hot summer or winter day, finding a sunset like this in Marseille is not unusual.
2. WHAT INSPIRES YOU IN THIS CITY?
The ever-changing light. From my small terrace, I never get tired of photographing sunsets over the Basilique Notre Dame de la Garde (the basilica is called “the Good Mother” by the locals) overlooking Marseille.
Surrounded by water and large mountains, Massilia—the oldest city in France—is a city with so many different facets: so many different people, foods and landscapes. Marseille is rough, gentle and so rich at the same time. Even the landscape is broken…making it a city with a love-hate relationship, if I can say that…
3. WHAT WORKS FOR YOU VERY WELL IN THE CITY?
Luxury in simplicity. The most popular places are the oldest fishing districts by the sea that have remained humble and accessible to everyone—very different from the French Riviera and the bling-bling attitude of the private resorts.
It’s very impressive to be so close to the end of the world, but in fact so close to the city. Having the feeling of total nature so close to the city is, I think, such a privilege today. The secret gardens blending into the city of Massilia!
4. WHAT WOULD YOU DO BETTER?
In the last five years Marseille has seen more architectural changes than in the 50 years prior. Zaha Hadid, Rudy Riccioti, Stefano Boeri and—soon—Massililiano Fuksas have designed new buildings transforming the city into one of the most interesting architectural tours in France. The city should take advantage of this and better inform inhabitants about this new urban landscape with interactive information.
For a city that is surrounded by water, there is absolutely no integration between land and sea. Fortunately, Marseille already has so much to offer, but it would be so amazing to create a real connection between all those islands and the city. Having hybrid boats taking people to the islands for all kinds of different activities would make the city so much more open, just giving it another dimension.
5. HOW WOULD YOU DO IT BETTER?
In order to best take advantage of these treasured islands, I would set up a system of small shuttles inspired by the traditional local boat (called “pointus”), but with hybrid propulsion to be able to circulate very easily and noiselessly.
The idea would be to have electronic, interactive terminals positioned next to museums, architectural buildings and landmarks. These interactive terminals would have all the info necessary to help you understand the history of the museum, architectural building or landmark. Not only would they be there to help you to understand the history of the places, but they would also give you maps of other interesting place to go to (depending on your interests).
Those interactive terminals would help people to understand and be informed, not only about cultural places, but also about where to go based on what you want to explore (museums, architectural buildings or beaches).
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