Wikipedia/Cité Radieuse
Wikipedia/Cité Radieuse

Cité Radieuse – an impressive concrete vertical village in Marseille

2 minutes to read

Marseille is a beautiful French city situated on the Mediterranean coast. Tourists from all over the world come here to visit its port, museums, cathedrals, fortress and, of course, the Calanques. But, have you ever heard about the Cité Radieuse? If you are an architecture lover, then you are probably familiar with this impressive concrete vertical village. Situated in Marseille and designed by Le Corbusier, this place has been listed as a French historical monument in 1986 and a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2016. Also known as "La Maison du Fada" ("The Madman's House"), this incredible concrete housing unit is definitely worth visiting

Cité Radieuse, Marseille
Cité Radieuse, Marseille
280 Boulevard Michelet, 13008 Marseille, France

History of the Radiant City

Built between 1947 and 1952, by the famous architect Le Corbusier, the Cité Radieuse is probably his most important project of this kind. Le Corbusier started already in the 1920s to work on this new kind of residential design. His idea was to create a new type of city. This was supposed to be a "vertical village," where its inhabitants will have everything they need between its concrete walls. Suspended on large piloti and constructed in beton brut, this building has 12 floors and 337 apartments. All apartments are situated on two levels and stretched from one side to the other. This vertical village is also imagined as a place which hosts an indoor shopping street, bookshop, gallery, restaurant, hotel, kindergarten, and the nursery school.

© Flickr/J E Theriot
© Flickr/J E Theriot

An incredible rooftop

Made as a communal terrace, the rooftop of the Cite Radieuse has an incredible view of the Mediterranean Sea. It is equipped with a little pool for children, a playground, and an athletics track. This is also a site where many theatrical and musical performances, as well as movie screenings, regularly take place. Since 2013, the rooftop of the Cité Radieuse hosts the MaMo (Marseille Modulor), an exciting art center. Created by Ora-Ito, a famous French designer, in this place you can visit the exhibitions of many multimedia artists from all over the world. The visitors already had the opportunity to see the artworks from Alex Israel, Dan Graham, and Felice Varini.

© Flickr/jeanbaptisteparis
© Flickr/jeanbaptisteparis

Practical information

The best way to visit the Cité Radieuse is to contact the Marseille Tourist Office. Their guides can explain to you all about this impressive concrete vertical village in Marseille, and they also have exclusive access to the apartments. You can also visit the building on your own. Upon your arrival, you should go to the security agents and register as a visitor. However, you will be able to visit only the 3rd and 4th floors and the northern part of the rooftop. The MaMo art center is open from June to the end of August, every day except on Tuesday, from 11 am to 6 pm. The access to this art center is free of charge.

The MaMo art center, Marseille
The MaMo art center, Marseille
280 Boulevard Michelet, 13008 Marseille, France

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The author

Sladjana Perkovic

Sladjana Perkovic

Hello, my name is Sladjana, a journalist and writer living in Paris, France. I write about French well hidden places, gastronomy and cultural events.

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