Top 20 Marseille Attractions, France

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Marseille is the oldest Mediterranean harbor, a city with a rich, centuries-old history. It has existed for more than 2.5 thousand years. The old city port has been an important hub of international trade since the Antiquity. The mighty forts of Marseille were built by Louis XIV, better known as the "Sun King", while the graceful Baroque palaces became the legacy of the era of the last French emperors.

Holidays in Marseille are designed for a wide range of tourists. There are enough attractions for a rich excursion program, and the magnificent beaches of the Friuli Islands will appeal to everyone. Tourists who prefer an active lifestyle can explore on foot the coast in the vicinity of Marseille, dotted with beautiful bays - calanques.

What to see and where to go in Marseille?

The most interesting and beautiful places for walking. Photos and a short description.

old port

The history of Marseille began from the Old Port. It was here that the Phocian Greeks landed 600 years before our era and founded a colony. Since the 13th century, a shipyard has been operating in the port, where military ships were built. Until the 19th century and the construction of the New Port, the pier served as the sea gate of Marseille. Nowadays, the Old Port has been chosen by yachtsmen and seafood sellers, turning it into a popular tourist center.

Old port

Longchamp Palace

The palace was erected in the 19th century, the Duke of Orleans laid the first stone in its foundation. Longchamp is a whole architectural complex, which includes a sculptural group of a fountain, a facade in the form of a triumphal arch and symmetrical colonnades. On the territory of the palace there is the Museum of Natural History with an extensive collection of natural sciences and the Museum of Fine Arts, which exhibits sculpture and painting of the 16th - 19th centuries.

Longchamp Palace

Chateau d'If

The famous fortress of the 16th century, which A. Dumas immortalized in his works. It was in the prison of the Chateau d'If that Edmond Dantes from the novel The Count of Monte Cristo languished. Initially, the fort served to protect Marseille from attack from the sea, but very soon it became a prison. From 1580 to 1880 the gloomy fortress on the island of the same name was considered the most terrible dungeon in Europe. 10 years after the closure in 1890, the Chateau d'If became available to tourists.

Chateau d'If

Faro Palace

The palace was built in the 19th century by order of Napoleon III for his wife, now the building belongs to the city authorities and is used for public events, conferences and receptions. The Faro Palace has about 500 rooms decorated in the Empire style. The building stands on a site near the sea, rocks and a steep coast stretch below. The best panoramic view of the castle opens from the water.

Faro Palace

city ​​hall

The city council building was erected in the middle of the 17th century. In turbulent times of endless revolutions, it miraculously escaped demolition, although such thoughts periodically arose in the newly formed governments. The building was built in the architectural style of "Provencal Baroque" designed by J.-B. Meolana and E. Belondel. The main entrance to the town hall is decorated with a bust of Louis XIV and the coat of arms of the Bourbon dynasty.

City ​​hall

Exchange of Marseille

An architectural monument of the 19th century, erected for the city Chamber of Commerce. The large hall of the exchange can accommodate up to 2.5 thousand people. Not only are brokerage firms involved in trading located here, there are also cultural institutions and a shopping center on the territory. The imposing building of the exchange looks monumental and somewhat cumbersome, its facades are entwined with a row of powerful Corinthian columns.

Exchange of Marseille

Fort Saint Jean

Fortress built in 1660, erected under Louis XIV. The fort is the "gateway" to the Old Port of Marseille. It was erected after the city uprising against the power of the governor of Provence. It is interesting that the cannons of the fort were directed not towards the sea - towards the alleged enemy, but inside the city. After the victory of the French Revolution, a prison was placed on the territory of the fortress, where many noble prisoners visited.

Fort Saint Jean

Fort Saint Nicolas

Fortress located opposite Fort Saint-Jean. It was erected on the site of an old church of the 13th century, designed by L. de Clerville. Saint-Nicolas was built for the same purpose as Saint-Jean - to suppress the repeated uprising of the townspeople and to intimidate the dissatisfied, although it was officially announced that the fortress would reliably protect Marseille from enemies. The citadel was built in 4 years, which is considered a record time for the 17th century.

Fort Saint Nicolas

Abbey Saint Victor

The abbey was founded by the Monk Cassian at the beginning of the 5th century, on the site of the grave of Victor of Marseilles, a martyr and Christian saint. In the 9th century, as a result of attacks by nomadic Saracens, the monastery complex was partially destroyed, but in the 10th century it was restored. Until the 18th century, the abbey functioned successfully, but as a result of the widespread destruction of monasteries (a consequence of the French Revolution), the monastery fell into decay. Since 1840, it has been considered a national monument, but restoration was carried out only in 1963.

Abbey Saint Victor

Basilica of Notre Dame de la Garde

The temple is located on a hill at the highest point of Marseille. It was erected in the middle of the 19th century on the foundations of an ancient fortress. The inhabitants of Marseille consider the basilica the patroness of the city. The building was built in neo-Byzantine style according to the project of A.-Zh. Esperandier. At the top of the church bell tower there is an 11-meter statue of the Virgin Mary. Notre Dame de la Garde is one of the most visited tourist sites in Marseille.

Basilica of Notre Dame de la Garde

Cathedral of Marseille

A picturesque cathedral built during the period of the highest economic power of Marseille - in the second half of the 19th century. The temple was built in a luxurious Byzantine style with round domes and graceful balustrades. During the construction, a wide variety of materials were used - from Italian marble to African onyx. The interior of the cathedral is lavishly decorated with mosaics, frescoes and decorative bronze elements.

Cathedral of Marseille

Museum of European and Mediterranean Civilizations

The museum opened in 2013 when Marseille was chosen as the European Capital of Culture. The modern building housing the collections is connected to Fort Saint-Jean by a bridge. The museum exposition exhibits both traditional items: paintings, coins, equipment, furniture, documents, as well as more provocative ones. Controversial exhibits include an image of a "pregnant" man and a glitter and aluminum statue of Aphrodite, created in 1966.

Museum of European and Mediterranean Civilizations

Center de la Vieille Charité

Cultural center housed in a 17th century building. Previously, there were an almshouse and a hospice. Today there are two museums in the center. One exposition is devoted to the culture of the countries of America, Oceania and Africa, the second is an archaeological collection. The building of the Center de la Vieille Charite is made in the Baroque style. The main material of the facade is pink and white stone from a local quarry.

Center de la Vieille Charité

Marseille House Le Corbusier

A 1952 house designed by Le Corbusier, an architect who, after the end of World War II, implemented the city's residential building programs. It was an innovative plan for the middle of the 20th century, since the house consisted of 17 floors and could accommodate 1,600 people inside. A gym, a swimming pool, a kindergarten and other public facilities were placed on the roof of the building.

Marseille House Le Corbusier

ruin garden

The territory of archaeological excavations, which contains the remains of architectural structures erected before our era. These ruins were discovered in 1967. They became direct evidence that a settlement arose here at the turn of the 6th-7th centuries BC. e. In order to preserve priceless finds, it was decided to create a park, which was called the "Garden of Ruins".

Ruin garden

Boreli Park

The park is located on a vast territory of 17 hectares. It has an English garden, a botanical garden, sculptures, fountains, "living" flower tunnels and other elements of French landscape design. In the middle of the park is an 18th-century castle that belonged to L.-J. Boreli - industrialist and shipowner. In the 19th century, the city authorities organized a public park on the site of the former Boreli estate.

Boreli Park

Velodrome Stadium

Sports arena, designed for 67 thousand people. The last reconstruction was carried out in 2016 before the Euro 2016 championship. During the 20th century, the Velodrome hosted European league games, as well as individual world championship matches. The stadium was built in 1937. For several decades it has been the home arena for the Marseille Olympic football team.

Velodrome Stadium

Prado beaches

The complex of artificial beaches, which was created by the city authorities in the 70s. XX century. Prior to this, Marseille did not have its own beach. The embankment was made from small fragments of rock left after the construction of metro stations. The result was a coastal strip of about 3.5 km. in length, where, in addition to beaches with all the infrastructure, there are playgrounds, parks and recreation areas.

Prado beaches

Friulian Islands

The Friulian archipelago consists of the islands of Tibulen, Ratonno and Pomego. From the Old Port of Marseille, the city ferry departs there every hour. The islands are attractive because there are a large number of convenient beaches. Yachts often moor in cozy coves, as people prefer to swim here, rather than in the artificial harbor of Marseille. Also on the islands there is a small settlement of Port Friul, where you can dine in a restaurant.

Friulian Islands

calanques

Calanques are small picturesque bays, French “fjords”, which are located on the coast from Marseille to Lia Ciot and Cassis. There are three ways to see this miracle of nature - during a sea cruise, a trip by car and a walk. Especially for hikers, the entire 20-kilometer coastline from Marseille to Cassis is equipped with hiking trails. Some calanques end with cozy sandy beaches.

Calanques