A straight and narrow street cuts across a central portion of Marseille. It is rue Dignan which slices through the first arrondissement from the Jardin de la Colline Puget to near Cours Julien. It is sandwiched between Boulevard de la Corderie on the west end and the small street rue Estelle on the east end.
Rue Estelle meets the Escaliers du Cours Julien. In French “escalier” means “stairs” or “steps.” The escalier is known for its street art.
Elaine Sciolino, a former New York Times correspondent, wrote a book on rue des Martyrs in Paris titled “The Only Street in Paris: Life on the Rue Des Martyrs.” She has said, “It’s a half-mile of magic.”
Elaine Sciolino lived nearby for a number of years on a small feeder street into rue des Martyrs, so she knows rue des Martyrs well.
I have often wondered if rue Dignan might deserve some recognition. Maybe it might not rise to the stature of rue des Martyrs as Sciolino lived it. However, rue Dignan shape shifts enough that someone clever could write an account that challenges its anonymity.
The economic fortunes of rue Dignan changes from the Jardin de la Colline Puget to Cours Julien. It seems to be middle class in the area near the Jardin, moves into a more boutique and upscale look in the middle, then becomes decidedly poorer as one approaches rue Estelle and then climbs the stairs to Cours Julien.
Pausing on the overpass that crosses Cr Lieutaud and looking around, it is easy to see that money has not been invested in the area.