The Mistral

TV show Plus belle la vie (2004)
Holding millions of viewers spellbound since its first broadcast in August 2004, Plus belle la vie takes place in the Mistral district in the heart of Marseille. An enclave invented from scratch, where the destinies of colorful characters, well known to fans, are linked and unlinked.
Media center of the Belle de mai
Pôle média de la Belle de mai - Credit: Superbenjamin, CC BY-SA 3.0 , via Wikimedia Commons

“That’s the way it goes in Le Mistral: all’s well that ends well.”

Blanche Marci (Cécilia Hornus)

The production team does not plan to shoot Plus belle la vie in Marseille, preferring to set up in the Belle de Mai media center. The brand new complex offers the possibility to build life-size sets. This is when the Mistral comes to life. A district inspired by the Panier, imagined and designed by Michel Blaise, on a space of 1,100m2.

The pace of filming is quite intense. Five episodes are filmed each week between the Belle de Mai studios and several outdoor locations.

In these, the directors are often subjected to the famous wind that gave its name to the neighborhood of the series. On the other hand, the conditions at the Mistral are ideal. In particular in the bar of Roland Marci (Michel Cordes). This establishment was itself inspired by a famous bar in the Place des Treize-Cantons, located opposite the Plus belle la vie store, where all sorts of derivative objects are sold.

Rarely open to the public, the Mistral embodies a kind of ideal. An enclave in Marseille where life is always more beautiful. The nerve center of a series with multiple twists and turns, shaped to the glory of an entire city and its inhabitants.


Plus belle la vie is the first French series to have reachedthe milestone of the thousandth episode on July 11, 2008.

Plus belle la vie team in the Mistral
Team of Plus belle la vie at the Mistral – Credit: France 3

Pôle Média de la Belle de Mai

Inaugurated in June 2004, this infrastructure for audiovisual and multimedia production is one of the largest in France.

The Belle de Mai media center covers 23,000 square meters and includes several equipped offices, technical and commercial spaces, as well as four film sets. The latter have been occupied since the beginning by the Studios de Marseille for the production of the TV show Plus belle la vie. This is where the Mistral district was built from scratch. The rest of the complex also includes the headquarters of some fifty companies, a national incubator dedicated to digital industries and a cluster devoted to image, multimedia and the Internet.

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By Gilles Rolland

Monday, May 23, 2022

Passionné de cinéma, de rock and roll, de séries TV et de littérature. Rédacteur de presse et auteur des livres Le Heavy Metal au cinéma, Paroles de fans Guns N' Roses, Paroles de fans Rammstein et Welcome to my Jungle : 100 albums rock et autres anecdotes dépareillées. Adore également voyager à la recherche des lieux les plus emblématiques de la pop culture.

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