Tilting at Windmills

Le Place des Moulins is an old neighbourhood of Le Panier that used to be covered in windmills. In the 16th century, there were 15. The windmills began to disappear as alternate sources of power took over. By the 19th century, there were only 3 remaining. The remains of 2 windmills can still be seen in the square.

The first one I found was super cute, it was exactly what I was hoping to photograph!

I think this was the second one? I couldn’t find anything else… but it’s looking like it’s been heavily modernized.

There were a couple of other buildings in the area that struck me as being windmillesque.

I am also using this as an excuse to post a few pictures I snapped at the Marseille City History Museum, because there are some old illustrations of Marseille that show windmills in the area.

Marseille around 1600. Look, windmills!

Marseille around 1596 by J. Tortorel et J.-J. Perrissin. Le Panier is in the foreground and Vieux Port in the background, so the image is a different view from what is usually shown of Marseille. On the bottom left are the windmills! This picture also shows the medieval city walls. The troops of the Duke of Guise are entering the city (another battle this city with a long history has seen).

Marseille around 1650, by Louis Cundier “d’après Jacques Maretz.” You might want to click on the image and go “command +” to zoom in to see the windmills. Also, this picture includes city walls, a chain strung in the water across the entrance to the Vieux Port, and tall ships docked in the harbour. (I love old photos/illustrations!)

Windmills! Marseille by Joannes Orlandi “d’apres Georg Braun”, 1602.

Also, just for fun, the same picture but with a close up of Fort Saint Nicolas and the Fortress/Chapel Notre Dame de la Garde.

And the Chateau d’If.

This picture has the windmills as well, if you zoom in. It also shows how the harbour used to extend further into the city.

Okay, I think “tilting at windmills” for me is obsessing over historic details, such as depictions of windmills in old pictures.

In the same vein, there was a bookshop in Marseille that I could have spent hours in. See below.

In addition to old books, this room had files and files of historic prints available for sale. I wanted to stay there and look at them all.

Below is a print of Marseille’s “Transporter Bridge.” This bridge connected the two shores of Vieux Port and was inaugurated on December 24, 1905. This “Eiffel Tower of Marseillais” carried out 250 crossings per day on a suspended basket. It was 53 metres high, and a panoramic restaurant was located on top. It fell out of use by the 1930s due to a lack of funds to maintain it. The German military blew up the bridge during the liberation of Marseille on August 22, 1944 in an attempt to block the port, but only the north tower fell. The rest of the bridge was destroyed in September 1945.

When we were in Marseille I wanted to look into this bridge a little more because it fascinated me. Too many rabbit holes, too few rabbits (me).

Here is a picture of the bridge from Wikipedia, which shows its placement in Vieux Port a little better.

A large bookshelf of old books.

I desperately wanted to find pink antique books while in Paris, and wasn’t successful. Found some here!

Old editions of Alexandre Dumas’ novels, including Le Comte de Monte Cristo.

A funky statue located in the square outside the bookstore.

All right, I better go tilt some dinner.

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