According to Sourcemakeup, Marseille is the second largest city in France after Paris. The old nostalgic harbor from the sixth century was founded by the Greeks. From different points of the city you have an amazing view over the sea. For example from Notre Dame de la Garde. From here you also have a beautiful view over the “Château d’If”. The city is full of sights, including a number of fortresses, monuments, impressive churches and cathedrals. During a ride with the slow train it is quite feasible to see a lot of the city. Several excursions offer the opportunity to go out with a guide who can tell you a lot about the history of this beautiful city.
Marseille ‘s Top 10 Things to Do
#1. Our Lady of the Guard
For the inhabitants of Marseille, this basilica is seen as the protector of the city. On the sixty-meter high bell tower, the statue of the Holy Mary with baby Jesus can be seen from a great distance. It therefore stands high above the city and has thus acquired a very dominant position. It is therefore not surprising that Notre Dame de la Garde is the most visited attraction in the city of Marseille. The view from this hill is spectacular. If you have the opportunity to visit the inside, you will not be disappointed. The interior is certainly as impressive as the exterior suggests. Many of the marble and porphyry used come from Italy.
The entrance to the port is indicated by the forts Saint-Jean and Saint-Nicolas. These were built around 1660 by order of King Louis XIV to protect the important harbor against invaders. In 1948 the harbor was largely renovated after it was destroyed in the Second World War. The harbor is a pleasant part of the city where you can enjoy a delicious meal or a glass of wine. Near the harbor there are many places of interest such as: the Phare de Saint Marie lighthouse, the cozy street Canebière and the national theater ‘Théâtre National de la Criée.
#3. Basilique le Sacré-Coeur
On the Avenue du Prado is the fairly new basilica that was built between 1920 and 1947. This street is one of the most beautiful avenues in the city. The building was designed by Dupoux and has a Roman-Byzantine appearance.
#4. Chateau d’If
On the smallest island of the Frioul archipelago, which lies off the coast of Marseille, is the fortress ‘Chateau d’If’. Between 1524 and 1531, this fortress was built to defend the city against attacks from the sea. Years later, the fortress was used as a prison. The Chateau has been open to the public since 1890. It is easily accessible by boat from Marseille.
#5. Cathédrale de la Major
The full name of this cathedral is ‘Cathedrale Sainte-Marie-Majeure de Marseille’. In the area you can clearly see from the remains that the cathedral was built on a place where other churches stood centuries before. The Cathédrale de la Major was built between 1852 and 1896. Its length is an impressive 140 meters.
#6. Longchamp Palace
This beautiful palace is located in the fourth arrondissement of the city of Marseille. Its magnificent fountain gives the whole a regal appearance. In the palace you will find two special museums. These are the ‘Nature Historical Museum’ and the ‘Museum of Fine Arts’. The adjacent park runs partly through the city. A special part of the park is the classical part, better known as ‘Jardin du Plateau’.
#7. Cours Julien
A fun, cozy and colorful part of the city can be found in the boho-chic district of Cours Julien. Many small shops, cafes, restaurants and galleries have a great appeal to the public. There are plenty of play areas for the little ones. There is certainly plenty to do around the square.
#8. Quai des Belges
This quay at the harbor is bustling every morning. Here, the catch of the day is offered for sale at the fish market. Many local catering entrepreneurs and other fish lovers come here to do their fresh shopping. Many restaurants in the area serve the delicious bouillabaisse for which Marseille is known.
#9. Quartier de l’Estaque
In this northwestern part of the city you will find an exceptionally cozy atmosphere. The narrow French alleys and small houses immediately give you the popular conviviality. Here you can start the day with a delicious coffee and the famous Chichi freggi. This is a sugar sprinkled donut. But of course there are more delicacies to be found. This area is also very popular among artists.
#10. Town Hall of Marseille
North of the harbor ‘Vieux-Port’ is the town hall of the city. It was built around 1653 by the brother of the noted sculptor Pierre Paul Puget, Gaspard Puget. The town hall consists of two parts that are brought together by an arch. The French flag flies on the facade.