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Want to know what Marseille attractions every tourist should see? Then read this review carefully. We will tell you about what to see in Marseille will be interesting for a traveler of any age.
What to see first in Marseille
When compiling our rating of “the best attractions in Marseille”, we focused on the reviews of local residents and the recommendations of experienced guides. In our general opinion, when traveling to a hospitable French city, you should visit such places in Marseille as:
1. Notre Dame de la Garde
Basilica of Notre-Dame-de-la-Garde – the temple of the Holy Virgin in Marseille
What is the first thing to visit in Marseille? A beautiful 19th century Catholic cathedral built on top of a hill. The architectural style of the building is neo-Byzantine. The building is decorated with a gilded figure of the Virgin Mary. The complex includes observation decks from which incredible panoramas of the French city and the surrounding area are visible.
Official website: http://www.notredamedelagarde
2. Palais Longchamp
Palais Longchamp in Marseille
Exquisite castle, which is considered a real gem of Marseille. The date of construction is the 19th century. On the territory of Longchamp there are many amazing architectural masterpieces: a museum of fine arts, a beautiful fountain on several levels with sculptures, a symmetrical triumphal arch, an observatory that allows you to see all the stars in the sky. Thanks to the local water tower, which supplies water to all areas of Marseille, the attraction is often called the Palace of Water. Your trip here will be unforgettable.
Official website: http://www.marseille
3. Saint Victor Abbey
Saint Victor Abbey in Marseille Guiguilacagouille
According to historians, this ancient temple of the 5th century was destroyed by nomads and rebuilt in the 11th century. The abbey, which received its name in memory of the Great Martyr Victor, resembles a fortress of the Middle Ages. Guides in Marseille recommend visiting this place without fail: inside the cathedral you can see unique relics created during the construction of the building itself.
Official website: http://www.saintvictor
4. Marseille Cathedral
Marseille Cathedral (Cathédrale Sainte-Marie-Majeure de Marseille)
What to see in Marseille in 1 day for fans of history and architecture? This colorful 19th century cathedral. During its construction, many Byzantine techniques were used: inside and outside the building was decorated with lovely frescoes and mosaics, sculptures and bas-reliefs, decorations of a different nature. Graceful balustrades and powerful rounded domes cause a special delight of visitors. The Cathedral of Marseille is included in all lists of “top attractions in France”.
5. Vielle Charité Museum
Vielle Charite Museum (La Vieille Charite0 in Marseille
Unique expositions are stored in a beautiful building of the 17th century, which originally served as a hospital and workhouse. In addition to the museums of archeology and arts, with samples from America, Oceania and Africa, there is also a cultural and exhibition center. If visiting the museums themselves is not of interest to you, come and see the baroque chapel and the beautiful courtyard.
Be sure to watch this beautiful video about Marseille!
6. Chateau d'If
If Castle (Château d'If) on the island of If in Marseille
In order to protect the city from the possibility of attack from the sea, in the middle of the 16th century a castle was built on the island, which later became used as a prison. At one time, the French revolutionary Mirabeau was imprisoned here. Each of us knows about this attraction thanks to the famous author Alexandre Dumas: the writer told about the mysterious fortress in his legendary novel about the Count of Monte Cristo.
Official website: http://www .chateau
7. Borely Park
Parc Borely in Marseille Charliemoon
After intense excursions in Marseille, a walk through this park will relieve fatigue like a hand. Initially, the park and the castle located on its territory belonged to the family of a wealthy shipowner and industrialist Borel. However, in the future, the territory passed into the possession of the city authorities. You should definitely visit such interesting places in Marseille: you can look at the wonderful gardens of England, Japan, France and the Mediterranean, combined with the botanical garden into a single complex. Of no less interest is the castle of the 18th century: inside there is a collection of decorative art and faience.
8. Fort Saint John
Fort Saint-Jean in Marseille
An impregnable building built on the site of an ancient temple of the 13th century. The fort was built to protect the city from enemy attacks, and, for the most part, to suppress the uprisings of the local population. Construction work continued for only a few years, which was quite unusual for the 17th century. If you don't know where to go in Marseille, buy a guided tour or go explore the ancient fortress on your own.
9. Museum of Fine Arts
Museum of Fine Arts (Musee des Beaux-Arts) in Marseille Bobo11
In the expositions you can see examples of modern sculpture and art. Including such talented masters as Buren, Ben, Warhol, Armand, etc. In general, on the territory, which occupies over 2.5 thousand square meters, there are approximately 47 thousand exhibits. Museum visitors can visit the cinema hall and the library with a rich collection of works. Exhibitions on various topics are regularly organized. The museum building is surrounded by a wonderful park, open to all residents and guests of the city.
Official website: http://translate.google.
10. Marseille Observatory
Marseille Observatory in Marseille
The observatory includes various hotels and laboratories: world interference, Upper Provence, astrophysics, etc. Employees of a scientific institution are observing space and looking for asteroids. At one time, A.L. worked here and made great discoveries. Nicolas and Borelli, C. Steffan.
Marseille attractions: what else to visit in Marseille?
We have briefly listed the main attractions of Marseille. And now let's dwell on other cultural and entertainment objects that deserve your attention:
11. Museum of Civilizations of Europe and the Mediterranean
Museum of European and Mediterranean Civilizations (MuCEM) in Marseille
The museum complex opened its doors in 2013 for everyone who is interested in the history and development of the peoples of the Mediterranean. The bulk of the samples were placed in a building, the lower level of which was submerged in water. The rest of the items are stored in Fort Saint-Jean with its wonderful landscaped park area. A number of exhibits can be seen in the modern research center, decorated in modern and classic styles.
Official website: http://www.mucem.
12 The Calanques of Marseille
Calanques of Marseille
Listing the best sights of Marseille, created by nature itself, we should not forget about the calanques. Their age is over 120,000 years. In fact, we are talking about a national park, consisting of their deep bays and limestone cliffs. The park area has its own unique eco-system, which is under the protection of the country. You can take a walk to the Calanques by renting a pleasure boat or by walking with a guide (excursions here will be offered to you by all hotels in Marseille). The walking distance will take approximately one hour. We recommend that you certainly admire the impregnable islands, leisurely backwaters, azure waters and sharp rock peaks. According to local residents, the calanques are the most beautiful site not only in the city, but in the entire Mediterranean. If you want to take unforgettable photos against the backdrop of French nature, be sure to come here.
13. Park of the 26th century
Park of the 26th century in Marseille Fr.Latreille
An extensive park area with a variety of vegetation, equipped on the territory of the old railway station. Walking along it, you can see a beautiful fountain, ponds in which ducks swim, and a long canal. For children and adults there are attractions and rentals (including bicycles and roller skates), there are basketball and playgrounds. Picnics are allowed in the park. An ideal place to relax and have fun in good weather.
14. Porte'Aix Arc de Triomphe
Arc de Triomphe Porte d'Aix in Marseille Jola Sik
The famous architectural structure, made in the shape of an almost perfect square, is on the way to Aix-en-Provence. The size of each side is about 18 meters. On the surfaces you can see illustrations from the military history of France. You can view the arch and take pictures with it absolutely free of charge and at any time of the day or night.
15. Fort St. Nicholas
Fort Saint-Nicolas in Marseille Christophe.Finot
A historical and architectural monument created in the 17th century on the site of an ancient chapel. For many years of its existence, this defensive structure was rebuilt and reconstructed more than once. Note that it performed not only direct protective functions, but was also a prison. Currently, part of the building belongs to the army of the state, so you won’t be able to see the fort in its entirety.
16. Old Port of Marseille
The old port of Marseille against the background of the highest point of the city – the Basilica of Notre Dame de la Garde Pumbaa80
Marseille, Provence is the largest port city in the region, and of course, Marseille's hallmark is its Old Port, founded back in the 7th century BC. Phocian Greeks. And despite its vast history, the Old Port today continues to be the largest port in the Mediterranean – to this day, fishermen leave these shores to return with a rich catch, as in past centuries. No wonder they say that it is here that the spirit of the true Marseille reigns. From the port, you can easily get to the nearest, most significant sights, or you can just take a walk at dawn and see the ships “reviving” after a night's sleep, or admire the most beautiful sunset and drink the best wine in Marseille. It is here that you can buy the freshest seafood at the fish market, go on a boat trip with magnificent panoramas of Marseille on a sightseeing boat, or visit the Ferris wheel on the embankment without leaving the shore.
17. City Hall
The main facade of the Marseille City Hall of the mid-17th century in the Provencal Baroque style Jeanne Menjoulet
The oldest building in the historical center of Marseille is the city hall, which was able to successfully survive even the most difficult periods in the history of France. The baroque building of the 17th century, as in previous centuries, still looks elegant and noble, pleases with its appearance, the offices of the city hall are located on its upper floors. Historically, the first floor of the town hall has always been occupied by merchants, and our time is no exception. Today, on the ground floor there are a number of shops, designer boutiques, antique and souvenir shops – guests of the city have no questions about what to buy in Marseille if they find themselves here. The facade of the town hall repeats the appearance of the Genoese palazzo and is decorated with stucco, and the design feature of the building is the absence of an internal staircase leading to the upper floors – to get to the city hall, you must enter the building located at the back of the town hall and go upstairs there.
Official website: http://translate
18. Faro Palace
3-storey building of Faro Palace in classical style on an elevated plateau above the Old Port of Marseille
In the western part of Marseille, on a hill, flaunts the magnificent Faro Palace, founded by Napoleon III. When the French monarch visited Marseille in the middle of the 19th century, he had a dream – to build a palace right here, on a steep bank, as a gift for his wife. The palace is notable for its unprecedented scale – just think, there are five hundred rooms inside! Almost all of them are decorated in the artsy Empire style, with an abundance of intricate decor. The dream of the monarch to live in this excellent residence did not come true – by the time the construction was completed, Napoleon III was deposed from the throne, and two years later he died. The widowed Empress Eugenia handed over the palace to the state, so at the beginning of the 20th century the Medical Institute settled inside, and later city services were located here. Today, the palace hosts ceremonial receptions, social events, an exhibition hall and a panoramic restaurant with a beautiful view of the harbor.
Official website: http://translate.goo
19. Marseille Exchange
Monumental Corinthian columns on the facade of Marseille's 19th century Chamber of Commerce Robert Valette
Starting from the end of the 16th century, the Chamber of Commerce of Marseille concluded large trade deals and actually acted as a stock exchange. It was only in the middle of the 19th century that it was decided to build a new exchange building, and in 1860 a magnificent building in the classical style grew up. Napoleon III himself arrived at the grand opening of the new building, and a commemorative medal was even issued in honor of the event. The magnificent facade of the building has a portico with 10 columns, the roof is crowned with the city coat of arms and a relief composition, the side portals are decorated with allegorical sculptures. The real pride of the Exchange is a huge trading hall with a capacity of 2.5 thousand people, surrounded by covered galleries with offices of exchange workers. During World War II, the building was badly damaged by live shells. Today, the Exchange has been restored, and, as before, it houses the offices of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry, as well as the Maritime Museum and the library, temporary exhibitions are held in the hall.
20. Fort Saint-Jean
Powerful quadrangular Fort Saint-Jean with loopholes at the entrance to the Old Port of Marseille decar66
On the northern side of Marseille harbor, right at the entrance to the Old Port, is Fort Saint John – a majestic fortress that never had a chance to prove itself as a defensive structure. Starting from the 12th century, Saint-Jean was the starting point in the campaigns of the Crusaders against the Gentiles, in the 15th century the first defensive fortification grew in the form of a watchtower, and a century later a lighthouse appeared here. Under King Louis XIV, the direct construction of defensive fortifications began, but their goal was rather not to repel attacks from the sea, but to constantly control the rebellious townspeople. In the 60s of the last century, a radical restoration of the fort began, and in many respects this was facilitated by the announcement of Saint-Jean as an architectural monument. Until now, excavations are underway in the vicinity of the fort, and the finds replenish the exposition of the Museum of the Middle Ages located on the territory of the fort.
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Le Corbusier's 17-floor house – residential complex on Boulevard Michelet in Marseille Gunnar Klack
Moving away from the historical center, you can take a taxi and go to Michelet Boulevard. The object of attention here is an extraordinary residential building, built according to the design of the great architect Le Corbusier in the 40-50s of the last century. This building is the first of the author's 5 “residential units”, which is open today not only for general study of architecture, but also for visiting the museum, restaurant and even a hotel located here. The “Radiant House” is a complex 18-story structure with an extremely non-standard layout. The building stands on powerful pillars, includes more than 3 hundred apartments of 23 types, united by corridors – internal streets, one of which connects apartments with various commercial and service establishments. Corridors lead to apartments located on two levels and formed as independent micro-objects, the compressed low part of which smoothly passes into a high living room – a “pool of light” framed by a deep loggia with unique views of the surroundings.
Official website: http://corbusier
22. Fashion Museum
The building of the Fashion Museum in the night illumination on the Canebière street in Marseille Tiia Monto
The Marseille Fashion Museum was founded in 1989 of the last century. It is located in the Mediterranean Fashion Center, located in a building designed by Baron Georges-Eugène on rue Canebière in Marseille. The Fashion Museum offers to get acquainted with the clothing styles of the second half of the 20th and the beginning of the 21st centuries. Museum halls occupy two floors of the building, with a total area of more than 600 square meters. A separate hall of the museum is dedicated to accessories. The museum often hosts themed exhibitions.
23. Velodrome Stadium
Top view of the Velodrome stadium of the French football club Olimpic Challengeputeaux
The Orange Velodrome is the largest football stadium in France Hombrey
Given the variety of museums, the people of Marseille clearly love art and history, but they have no less interest in sports, with great excitement watching the competitions of their club Olympic in the championships and their training at the home arena Velodrome. The Velodrome stadium was built in 1937, in honor of this event a solemn ceremony was held, the main part of which was bicycle races – it was from that moment that the arena got its name. And although today only football has been played here for a long time, the former name has been preserved and has become part of history. This arena has witnessed many sporting events, during its existence it has been reconstructed several times, its technical equipment has been improved. So, in 2014, a huge roof was built for the next championship, the capacity was increased, the infrastructure was improved, but even during these works, the stadium never closed.
Official website: https: //www.orang
24. Prado Beach
Prado beaches on the Mediterranean coast in the city of Marseille Ximonic
Those who want to relax on a budget in the surroundings can also find free attractions in Marseille – for example, go to the Prado beaches. This is a whole system of beaches that stretch along the Mediterranean coast for many kilometers. In fact, these beaches are artificial, they were covered with the smallest pebbles back in the 70s of the last century, and it’s hard to believe that until that moment there were no beaches at all in Marseille – the rocky terrain did not allow creating a comfortable recreation area. But over time, this issue was resolved, and now you can go to the sea at any time, swim and bask in the sun serenely. In addition to passive leisure, here you can recharge your impressions in the process of water sports – the beach has all the opportunities for diving, water skiing, windsurfing and other entertainment, there is a rental of sports equipment. The beach has a developed infrastructure, equipped with changing rooms and showers, there are a number of cafes and restaurants nearby.
25. Frioul Islands
View from Marseille to the Friulian archipelago in the Mediterranean Sea Jddmano < p>A kilometer from the Old Port, the route along Marseille passes the Gard hill, which you can climb up and from the highest point of the city see the panorama of the Friulian archipelago. You can get to the islands from the Old Port on one of the tourist boats that run here quite often. The island of If is home to a legendary 16th-century medieval fort that was once a prison, made famous by Dumas's world-famous novel The Count of Monte Cristo. The other two largest islands are interconnected by a bridge that forms the harbor. There are even residential buildings here – however, there are no more than a hundred inhabitants, but the annual number of visitors reaches 400 thousand. The thing is that on the islands there is a protected area with many birds and hundreds of species of vegetation. The local underwater world is rich in various types of fish – you can learn more about these and other interesting facts once you are on the islands.
We hope that you will be able to personally visit all those sights of Marseille, the photos with names and descriptions of which you saw in our review. Read also about the sights of Paris and be inspired to travel further in France.