ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Visiting Marseille, France, and the Grand Stairway to Saint-Charles station: an opulent entry on a huge scale

Updated on August 13, 2015
Flag of France
Flag of France | Source
Monumental stairway, Saint-Charles station, Marseille
Monumental stairway, Saint-Charles station, Marseille | Source
The Great Stairway and Athens Boulevard, Marseille, France, seen from Saint-Charles station
The Great Stairway and Athens Boulevard, Marseille, France, seen from Saint-Charles station | Source
Map location of Marseille, France
Map location of Marseille, France | Source

Mounting 104 steps of seemingly never ending grandeur

When looking at the Grand Stairway at Marseille's Saint-Charles railroad station, I don't necessarily think of trains.


Rather, the sheer grandeur, scale and opulence of this built environment reminds me more of what one might expect of a Baroque 17th century cathedral in Italy or Spain.

Be that as it may, this impressive stairway, classified as an historic monument, is certainly a major sight of Marseille.

Some history and features

It was planned from the year 1911, but completed in 1926 and inaugurated by French President Gaston Doumergue in 1927. The stairway's architects were Eugène Sénès and de Léon Arnel.

The stairway incorporated various statues by sculptors Ari Bitter, Auguste Carli, Henri Martin and Louis Botinelli. These works follow African and Middle Eastern themes, a tribute to the fact that Marseille has historically been viewed as a gateway to the East, and to the extensive trade links which the port of Marseille has long maintained with these regions.

The total height of the grand stairway is 15.5 metres. From the top of the stairway, a commanding view of the city, and nearby hills, may be seen.

The railroad station itself, the architect of which was Gustave, Count Desplaces, was one of the early rail facilities in France, opened in 1848. This building has recently been refurbished, with its frontage in keeping with its original design.

(But after the mounting grandeur of the monumental stairway, a train ticket seems almost an anticlimax.)


(1) Spelling: The French spelling of the city is 'Marseille'; the English usage 'Marseilles' has been quite widespread, but increasingly 'Marseille' is being used within English texts also, and I have followed this trend.

Also worth seeing

In Marseille itself, the church of Notre-Dame-de-la-Garde is a conspicuous landmark overlooking the city; the Old Port (Vieux-Port ) area is picturesque; the City Hall (Hôtel de ville) is housed in a 17th century building near the Old Port.


How to get there: Continental Airlines flies from New York Newark to Paris (Aéroport Paris-Charles de Gaulle ), where car rental is available (Paris-Marseille: distance: 778 kilometres); a variety of Paris-Marseille air connections is also available. The French railroad company SNCF maintains services from Paris to Marseille. Please check with the airline or your travel agent for up to date information.

MJFenn is an independent travel writer based in Ontario, Canada.

For your visit, these items may be of interest


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)