The square was built in 1820 and has been an important part of Marseille’s history ever since. It is named after the thirteen cantons, or districts, that make up the city.
The square itself is quite large and features several monuments dedicated to different historical figures from Marseille’s past. At its centre stands a statue of General de Gaulle, who liberated France during World War II. This monument was erected in 1967 as a tribute to his bravery and leadership during those difficult times. Other statues include one honouring Admiral François Joseph Paul de Grasse for his victory at Yorktown in 1781; another celebrating Louis XIV for establishing the port of Marseilles; and one dedicated to Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, author of The Little Prince and an aviator who disappeared over the Mediterranean Sea while on a reconnaissance mission during World War II.
The Thirteen Cantons Square also contains some beautifully landscaped gardens filled with trees, shrubs, flowers, benches, and fountains – perfect for taking a break or simply admiring nature’s beauty. There are also plenty of cafés nearby where you can sit down for coffee or lunch while enjoying views across the square towards Notre Dame de la Garde Basilica looming above it all.
On special occasions like Bastille Day (July 14th) fireworks will be set off from boats moored in front of Notre Dame de la Garde providing spectacular views from Thirteen Cantons Square below. In addition to being home to many public events throughout the year such as music concerts, art exhibitions etc.