Rue de la République: history
In 1840, Marseille embarked on a programme of major works that was unprecedented in the city's history. Between 1862 and 1867, Rue Impériale was at the centre of this urban development. Private investors took an interest in this thoroughfare, which was later renamed Rue de la République. Four businessmen – Paulin Talabot, owner of the PLM railway, the Péreire brothers and Jules Mirès – developed the street.
In 1856, Jules Mirès acquired land in the Joliette, Lazaret and Arenc areas, with an ambitious vision of developing new districts close to the ports. However, his plans were blocked by the local authorities. The Mayor of Marseille, having rejected the plans, subsequently had a programme of works approved by the Marseille City Council. This programme was inspired by Mirès' proposals, with a major thoroughfare linking the Vieux Port with the new commercial port.
The city of Marseille, supported by the visit of emperor Napoleon III, designated the project a "Rue Impériale", thereby gaining financial support from the government. However, without the involvement of Emile Pereire as a private investor, the project would never have got off the ground.
Emile Pereire made an undertaking to the public authorities to buy the land cleared following compulsory purchases, in order to build the street and its buildings.
The thoroughfare was cleared in record time (24 months), and in 1864, one of the 19th century's largest construction projects got underway.
It was a major challenge for both the city of Marseille and the companies involved in the project.
Renewal of Rue de la République in 2005
Rue de la République is a major thoroughfare in Marseille, connecting the Vieux Port with the rapidly changing Euroméditerranée business district. Rue de la République lies at the heart of the renewal plan for Marseille city centre. It is the largest city-centre construction project in Europe. It will revitalise the image of Rue de la République, which has in the past been neglected by locals.
Euroméditerranée is a huge project. In the République district, the project involves the widening of pavements in the section between the Vieux Port and Place Sadi-Carnot, the construction of an 800-space car park and the construction of a tram line. As a result, the renewal of Rue de la République will soon be a reality.
The inauguration of the first tranche of Rue de la République in the presence of the Mayor of Marseilles on 8 December 2007 demonstrated the success of the effort put in over the last two years to attract these well-known chains.