On the Corniche du Président JFK in Marseille, stands a 9m tall bronze monument in the curved arch of a ship's propeller. This 'monument des rapatriés' [Monument to the repatriated] was sculptured by the artist César and then inaugurated on 14 February 1971 to pay tribute to those who left Algeria. Of the 1.2 million French settlers of Algeria, two thirds of them arrived in France, often for the first time, via the port of Marseilles and the Quai de la Joliette. There are plaques on three corners of the monuments foot, including the following words:
La Ville de Marseille
Aux rapatriés d’Afrique du Nord et d’Outre-Mer.
A tous ceux qui ont pour dernière demeure un sol maintenant étranger sur lequel ils ont vécu, travaille, et qu’ils ont aimé.
Salut à vous qui êtes revenus.
Notre ville est la votre.
The historian Robert Aldrich has suggested that this abstract monument provoked mixed reactions from the Pieds-noirs communities of Marseille and elsewhere, who recall primarily the difficult material conditions of their resettlement in the region:
Only with great difficulty did the city [of Marseille] manage the exodus of rapatriés from Algeria, who landed in overcrowded ships and packed planes for months on end, beginning before the ceasefire in 19 March and continuing through the summer of 1962, when conditions became chaotic. Many arrived with few belongings and little money, disorientated, frightened and resentful at leaving Algeria [...] The Marseilles [...] seeing the strain on public services by the influx of 800,000 people - though most would settle in other parts of France - did not always provide a warm welcome for their counterparts. Many imagined the rapatriés wealthy and suspected them of racism; the Pieds-noirs complained that local shop-keepers exploited them, that authorities provided little for their welfare and that 'on se moquait de nous'. Tensions led to conflict, and the prefect of the Bouches-du-Rhônes had to deploy extra administrators and paramilitary police, and even ban the sounding of car horns in the five beeps signifying the syllables of Algérie française.
Robert Aldrich, Vestiges of Colonial Empire in France, 2005: 93