The train station (Gare) Marseille-Saint-Charles is the major railway station of the important port city in the south of France. It once was an important stage on the sea voyage to africa and the arabic east. Originally this small hill north of the old town had been the Saint Charles Cemetery. The first station building was errected in 1848 for the opening of the PLM-Line (Paris – Lyon – Marseille). The current building was built 1893-1896 after plans of the architect Joseph-Antoine Bouvard. Then the building was isolated atop the city, so in 1911 Eugène Senès envisioned a monumental staircase, which was created by 1926 and which has been decorated with statues inspired by the french colonies in africa and asia. During the 1990s a big redevelopment program for the station was started, the most prominent result of which was the large Halle Honnorat, north of the old building (at the left edge of the panorama) which houses, amongst others, the bus terminal of Marseille today.
The front of the station building presents a number of city arms. The roof top bears the coat of arms of Marseille itself. Along the front we find 12 french city arms between the windows on the first floor – a link to the local train destinations. From left to right these are: Dijon, Besançon, Macon, Valence, Avignon, Nimes, Montpellier, Clermont, Nevers, Grenoble, Chambery and Nice.