The places

These public spaces, often lively and colorful, are places for residents and visitors to the town to meet and socialize. Whether to stroll, relax, or simply enjoy a warm atmosphere, La Ciotat’s squares offer an ideal setting to spend a pleasant moment.

Sadi Carnot Square

This square was part of the old cemetery, dating from the Roman period, surrounding the Church. Used as a Fruit Market for two years, it became Place de la Liberté (Freedom Square) during the Revolution, and then Place de la Poissonnerie (Fish Market Square) when a hall was built for the sale of fish there. This hall was razed in 1947 and replaced by a small garden with a beautiful Rognes stone fountain, benches for walkers surround a century-old magnolia tree.

Evariste Gras Square

Evariste Gras was Mayor of La Ciotat (1846 – 1928). In the middle of this square rises the metallic architecture of the former Covered Market, the work of the Marseille builder Delestrade. This market was opened in January 1892. It was immediately put into operation in spite of the hostility of the market gardeners and fairground vendors, who regretted the former location of the “Place aux Fruits” which is the Sadi Carnot square today. A few decades later, the premises proved to be too large, and the south-western part of the market was rented to install a cinema, which was named “Le Kursaal”. Later on, this room was rearranged to create a 3-screen cinema called “Le Lumière”. At the same time, the northeast part of the old Market became the municipal library.

Place du 8 Mai 1945

This square located at the foot of the grand and majestic stairs of the Chapelle des Pénitents Bleus keeps the memory of the great assemblies and ceremonies that took place here. The tiers of the amphitheater that surround this square were built in 1853. This square had its full function when the chapel was dedicated to worship. Now the Chapelle des Pénitents Bleus is a place of exhibition and the square allows to be the setting of various festivals such as that of Saint-Jean (in June) and balls that have also given it the more popular name of Place du Grand Bal.

Emile Zola Square

This square is named after the famous French novelist Emile Zola (1840- 1902). Between 1870 and 1875, the demolition of a block of dilapidated houses where the old Maison Commune was located, allowed the opening of this square, which thus gave the passage to the docks. From this square, you can see the façade of the church and the calvary that recalls the Mission Cross erected in 1821.

Esquiros Square

The name of this square is that of Alphonse François Henry Esquiros, French writer and politician (1812-1876). This square is bounded on the right, coming from Rue Gueymard, by the facade of a chapel built by the Black Penitents in 1630, and on the left, a second chapel of the Pénitents Noirs that retains a beautiful carved walnut door. In the past, the Chapelle Saint Joseph was located in front of the Auberge du Lion d’Or: these two buildings surrounded the Cassis Gate, opened in the 1550 ramparts, allowing one to leave the city to take the road leading to Cassis.

Guibert Square

The square is named after a former Mayor and benefactor of the town (1829- 1897). The interest of this square is the Chapelle des Minimes which was a former educational college run by the Minim Fathers from 1745 until the Revolution.

Place de la Liberté (Freedom Square)

This place was named Place de la Liberté in 1892. The ancestral hackberry tree present in the heart of this square is said to have been planted during the French Revolution. The architecture of the square, designed by the architect Gouirand is articulated around the Monument to the French Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen erected on the occasion of the Bicentennial of the revolution.

Jean Bouissou Square

This square was created in 1932 by the demolition of a block of houses. Named Aristide Briand Square in memory of the apostle of peace, it became Jean Bouissou Square at the inauguration of the monument raised in honor of the charitable doctor and Mayor of La Ciotat, who died in 1934.

Pierre Gautier Square

This square is named after the local musician and composer Pierre Gautier. He created the first provincial Opera in Marseille. The former theatre of the town became the Conservatory of Music and Dramatic Art in 2022.

The Squares' Map