Written by Anna O’Neill. email@example.com
Disclaimer: 7 days gathering, not a local.
Online resources for Marseille
ALTERNATIVE INFORMATION SOURCES: https://mars-infos.org/ and mille babords (Local Autonomous information websites - giving information on activists, resistance events and news). radar.squat.net (global information websites on self organised groups - including squats). squat.net.marseille = articles specifically to the city
Background: 2nd largest city in France. Historically a huge centre of trading and commerce and remains biggest port of France. 20% population originate from outside of France; mainly Algeria, Tunisia, Morocco, Poland, Turkey, Armenia. Culture is significantly different than anywhere else in France. Hiphop/rap, street art and ragga music make up a lot of the street culture.
Note: City centre is space around ‘Marseille’. Suburbs/quartiers are spread along the coastline. Green Park at bottom of screen is the National Park of the Calanques
Getting there: Main routes are either the ‘Autoroute de Soleil’ (Motorway of Sun) i.e. A7 from Lyon or Grenoble - North. A8 from Cannes, Nice and Italy - East. A9 from Montpellier, Barcelona - West. Note that in France, these main motorways are expensive. Some people drive along less major routes to avoid pay tolls. Hitchhiking is not hard in France and people are used to it. Bla bla car is very actively used in France (probably due to the expensive roads). The Gare St Charles is in the centre of the town and connects Lyon, Paris, and other major cities to Marseille. Blackriding is easy if you are from UK/Ireland (we don’t have our address on our passport) by giving a fake address. I’m not sure if you are from other countries and you have an address if they can even find you…
Accommodation: The squatting scene has changed in Marseille in last few years. Increased evictions and pressure from the Police (e.g. The Manba squat v.s. Police in 2016) has made it harder to open and run squats. There are some smaller squattings which are easier to set up, but you have to know where there is an empty room. There is no collective spirit between squats, or events being run since La Manba was closed down violently. (https://en.squat.net/2016/04/16/marseille-eviction-of-third-manba-ends-with-3-comrades-in-custody-as-well-as-home-raided/)
There is a problem in the court with one squat (Le Raccoon) and it will stay open until at least April 2017. You can stay up to one week for sure, but need to negotiate after - depending on the vibes of the squat at that time. People are very helpful and friendly but admit the squat has been ‘exploited’ recently with many people coming and going. There is a lot of work to be done on inside (may be a point of negotiation) There is also talk of another squat close to the sea. More information should be found by going to Le Raccoon.
Note: Once you enter an apartment/building in France, there is a law which criminalises eviction after the first 48 hours over the ‘winter months’ i.e. October to April. Therefore you cannot be evicted
Where to find food
It is easy to find food in Marseille. Noaille Market (see umap) around 8-9pm there are many fruit/veg put aside. It’s meant to be illegal in France for supermarkets to throw away food but it still happens. E.g. monoprix on Canibiere (see umap). Every Boulangerie (bakeries) I asked are happy to give away leftover bread. One on Bvd Chavre even told me to come everyday as they often have a bag of frozen bread.
Food not Bombs stopped operating in 2015 due to lack of volunteers.
Contact: Marion (firstname.lastname@example.org) - you can say you got contact from Anna
Disco Soupe were very active between 2013 and 2016, as you can see from their facebook page. They are group of active people - promoting reducing of food waste as an environmental issue to tackle and the social cohesion and community that forms through self organised events of soup-making and disco-ing. They are also contected with other DIsco Soupe groups around France.
As of Oct 2016 - someone from Disco Soupe told me they were temporaily stopped due to lack of volunteers. I think one problem was that there were only few people very involved and being the energy behind the project. I was told that shops, businesses, supermarkets were willing to cooperate with Disco Soupe - and often had too much waste food to take all.
You must be able to present the project of foodsharing well. Small businesses like boulangeries often told me they give their food to associations and charities. So they will want to know about foodsharing. I also found out that for some businesses, the associations often forget to come by.
Local people/french speakers are essential here.
Markets are a good place to collaborate with. In Noaille - they leave much food aside at the end of the day, however - I got into some arguements with one vendeur because he said the waste food should go first to those who really need it (i.e. are homeless).
The people at Prado Market are really nice and willing to collaborate.
In terms of fair share points - Dar Lamifa would be a recommended place to start. Les Ondines restaurent are very interested but lack space.
Resources: Map of bio shops in Marseille (http://www.colibris-lemouvement.org/ensemble/acteurs-et-projets-pres-de-chez-soi). Yunity Umap (see above)
FS: Interested people
Les Ondines: collective cafe and the only bio restaurent in the city. Jade, Richard and Priscia are all interested in foodsharing. They have network in Marseille to like minded things. They are involved in decroissance movement (degrowth). Les Ondines is a venue for gatherings, events and involved in social projects e.g. they are building showers downstairs for ‘women of the street’. It is not activist or political. You can volunteer here; spend time with the trio who manage most things and make connections. Or just pass by.
More info to follow in this space
Does not exist in Marseille. No recycling points. But a lot of people will put stuff they do not want on the street (e.g. when moving flats) - so keep an eye out. However, be aware of insects (bedbug infestation Summer 2016).
Le Bon Coin is a website used by every French person - like Gumtree of France. Cheap things, sometimes free.
There are two things I haven’t checked out yet. One repair shops on the canibiere. The other a Recyclodrome (google it)
- Arabic populations are mainly around Noailles and Belsunce. I don’t know so much more about this. There is also large african community on Rue D'Aubagne.
- There is a perceived problem with people on the street, san papiers (without papers) and drugs. There are many social initiatives in Marseille to work to change this problem. Some say that associations tackling social issues are more accepted than those tackling environmental issues.
- Marseille is the main city in France for associations and collectives. Everyone seems to be involved in an association, i.e. self organised groups looking to carry out same vision. Some examples (although list is endless): urban intervention (e.g. YesWeCamp, Collective ETC), street art (CIte des art de la Rue), theatre, dance, music. Go to events to meet people. Find a paper magazine at the Office de Tourisme called Ventilo to see the events.
- Activist/Anarchist circles often have events at Dar Lamifa (umap). You can get involved in these circles by going there. There are two anarchist bars (thiers, rue du rome). Events can be found on the Autonomous information sites (above) e.g. demonstrations. There is a circle of punks also, but hard to find information about.
- Les Bobo is a term to describe those from middle class background that vote left and stay involved-ish in activism themes (but not too involved) i.e Bo (Bourgeois) and Bo (Bohemian). There are many in Marseille, they hang out around Cour Julien and Equitable Cafe. (see umap)
- There are not so many students. Most are in nearby cities of Aix and Avignon. However, there is a university campus at Luminy and some in the centre (e.g. law and medicine)
There are many 'mafia' systems within the city, due to long tradition of strong family and mediterannean culture. e.g. if you want to have a food truck in the centre, you will be harassed by some people - who will ask for money in return for not having your truck burned. ('Pizza mafia'). Public transport only runs until 12 despite many attempts from population to extend due to the 'taxi mafia'. Security is offered in return for safety (and money) for many outdoor events.
The mayor has been in control since 1995...