MARSEILLE : Arriving at Hotel Saint-Pierre de Rome

Hôtel Saint Pierre Rome-0393

Starting the new term, we get together for three days of immersion for the project “We Decide How We Reside”. On this occasion, we make a stopover at ” Hotel Saint-Pierre de Rome “, which is situated right in the center of Marseille. Katia, the director gives us “carte blanche”. Many thanks for her warm welcome and her trust !

Touching encounters with Carole, the housekeeper, Thierry the front-desk manager, Sonia the receptionist, Dravo who just joined the crew … Marie and Sonia the chambermaids and Jean-Marie the night watchman. A very welcoming hotel team.

They share their universe with us, their habits, their difficulties, their visions of an ideal hotel, of their job! This quirky hotel has a 100-year-old soul… It’s a labyrinth of a thousand doors, which open on passing fragments of life. We get familiar with this peculiar sort of life where individuals add-up without crossing each-other, and which flows 24hrs a day. This hotel wasn’t ever closed for one single day in the course of a century. As a result, there are plenty stories waiting to be picked from the fabric wallpaper!

From the terrace of the former board room, we see the little streets of Noailles, an old working-class area of town, toys from the hardware shop “Maison Empereur”, seafood stalls at “Chez Toinou”, two landmarks of the district, the top of the new tramway, the roofs around the Opera, the “Canebière”, the most famous street in Marseille, the masts of boats at “Le Vieux Port”… We are here at the crossroad of all of the city-centre’s main areas, split by the “Canebière” in one direction, and the tramway, a street corner, or a new urban rehabilitation site across the way.

We have all the time to visit this hotel from the cellar to the attic, to get lost in its twits and turns and to draw, map-out, write, interview, watch. We play the game, carrying-out some of the crew’s tasks, we explore the relationship between gesture and intimacy, between space and identity.

This is already the end of September, we will let these moments settle, to give us some precious, shiny material that we shall use upon our return in October.


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