A military fort loaded with history
In 1660, Louis XIV ordered the construction of the fort, at the entrance to the Old Port. Although its purpose was to protect the city from the outside world, the cannons pointed at the city testifies of its primary purpose: submitting the revolutionary impulses of Marseille to royal allegiance.
As a symbol of royal authority, Fort Saint-Nicolas was partially dismantled by the citizens during the Revolution, and its stones were used to build the Panier district. The future emperor Napoleon, aware of its strategic defensive potential, pleaded for its reconstruction. At the end of the 19th century, Napoleon III, who was involved in the development of urban planning in Marseille, decided to accompany the deployment of the city’s activities on the north bank of the Old Port and built a large boulevard around Fort Saint-Nicolas, the two parts of which were later named after French sailors: the upper part of the Fort was henceforth called Fort d’Entrecasteaux.
The Fort d’Entrecasteaux remained a military fort until 2011, when the French army, which no longer has the use of it, finally gave it to the City of Marseille.
For 20 years, on the initiative of the Ministry of Defense, and then with the support of the City of Marseille, the first restoration work was carried out by people in precarious situations via ACTA VISTA’s integration projects, which enabled people in precarious social and economic situations to find a job and follow a training course leading to a qualification in the trades of the old building.