The Port of St-Raphael

In 1799, the port of St-Raphael (83 – Var) welcomed the famous French general, Napoleon Bonaparte, triumphant after his Egyptian campaign. Later, at the beginning of the 19th century, the sea port of Saint-Raphael prospered through its exports of ceramics, esterelite and cork. In 2011, the port, which had become a marina and fishing port, was devastated by a violent storm. The municipality then decided to undertake the extensive reconstruction of the Old Port with the objective of protecting the harbour and increasing the capacity of the marina.

These works consisted of the following:

  • Securing the harbour by extending the jetty offshore
  • Renovating and upgrading the quays and wharfs to comply with standards
  • Construction of a breakwater and a groyne
  • Creation of a marina
  • Creation of a public square, an underground car park, a brasserie, shops and a peripheral pedestrian walkway
  • Creation of port facilities: harbour master’s office, coast guard station, shipping locker, fishermen’s wharf, seafood sales counter, bunkering station.

When I took over the project management of this exceptional renovation project, the challenge was immense. The project brought together all the disciplines for construction: building, civil engineering, marine works and landscaping. Each of these has their own respective cultures and I had to manage all of them. 

The work took place in a dense urban context and on an occupied site. The deadlines were particularly tight. With all the parties involved, we embarked on an extraordinary adventure in which we had to tackle sea breaches and geological incidents that tested our collective intelligence. 

The symbolic culmination of this adventure was when we erected the statue of a young Tobias and the Archangel Raphael pointing his finger towards the horizon as if indicating the way to future generations. With the completion of this project, we have left a mark in time