The old town of Marseille - has it finally shaken off the bad image?

Le Panier needs to evolve at a much faster pace to shake off its 'Wild Wild West' image as well as drop the French connection in favour of making it a part of the city we can be proud of.  Le Panier is not going down - its just never really come up. We should stop revelling in it's poverty and look towards change and its prosperity.

 

There's a bar in the old town that famously shows pictures of the very first 'petit train' that passed through Le Panier some years back. The tourists are all covered with white flour after being pelted by the local kids, who for some reason objected to the fact that they were 'on show' for the visitors. Fair comment you may think.

Since then of course we've had European city of culture year, rennovation of many historic buildings and the opening of a five star hotel. All good so far.  So what about the rest of Le Panier - has it moved on?  Well a bit, but there's still a long way to go. Buildings being tagged under the guise of it all being street-art; empty buildings in ruin and abandoned shops, cafes, restaurants and galleries, who open and close because there is just insufficient foot-fall to make much else viable here. Firstly though the people of Marseille as a whole need to learn to like it more, fear it less, visit more and forget its sordid scorced past, apart from the history for sure. And it’s that which will make the biggest difference.

Walking across the old town at the end of the day, it's not pleasant walking through gangs of people huddled in corners looking menacing and high on one substance or other.  It's not nice dodging all the dog pooh, broken glass bottles and rubbish strewn in public squares, however it's that which is an issue, but with the habitants and not the city of Marseille itself.  There are countless stories about assaults on tourists and on the people who bring visitors to Le Panier. All of this would have less signifigance if simply more people came to visit - starting with the good people of Marseille.  Hopefully with a greater police presence and a more visible one in the old town, because that adds to people's overall wellbeing and feeling safe and not harassed when passing through.

Behind all this Le Panier’s beauty lies in its restored historic architecture sitting in harmony with all the hard working artisans who are doing no less than simply trying to earn a living.  And to all those who say, well it's Le Panier, its always been that way - no, time to accept a significant change and move it on. Perhaps time for a more gentrification of the area as a whole. What do you think?