Confusion over street numbers: allées des Capucines, Marseille


allées Léon Gambetta (not to be confused with boulevard Gambetta, another street entirely), Marseille, France, is a broad boulevard lined with commercial establishments on the street level of residential buildings.  In the mid to late 19th Century the street was home to many Greek families from Chios—where the majority of Greek expatriates lived in Marseille at that time.


Formerly, the street was named allées des Capucines, also allées de Meilhan, also Île des allées [de Meilhan].  Apparently, these street names were used interchangeably for the years 1841-1897, according to registered BMD certificates. There is also rue Sénac [de Meilhan], where Marseille Greeks lived.  This street exists today as well as historically, i.e., in both the 1841 and 1856 census.


The street numbering of the properties in our photos is that used today for allées Léon Gambetta.  There is a problem.  A plaque on today’s allées Léon Gambetta 33 says the building is the birthplace of  Joseph Marie Timon-David.  His 29 Jan 1823 birth certificate, however, gives this location as allées de Meilhan 19, not 33.  Thus, today’s street numbering does not translate directly to the numbers used in the past for allées des Capucines, et al.  This fact was determined after our photos were taken, and we include the photographs here to give an idea of  the type of dwellings and neighborhood (greatly changed now, of course) where our ancestors lived.