Cultural diversity at the heart of the Phocaean city
Discovering iconic historical monuments
Commonly nicknamed Bonne Mère by locals, the Notre-Dame de la Garde basilica towers up to 154 meters above the city of Marseille. A true symbol of the Phocaean city, she cares for fishermen, sailors and the people of Marseille. Today, this monument with its splendid architectural style is the most visited by tourists in Marseille. If you’d like to get there, you can take the small tourist train that stops at the foot of the basilica, the n°60 bus or simply get there on foot.
Another must-see place in Marseille, the Palais Longchamp is an ode to water and nature. Initially, this palace was built to bring the waters of the Durance River to the city, a true architectural feat for its time. Today, it houses two museums: the Fine-Arts Museum of Marseille and the Natural History Museum of Marseille.
For lovers of history and culture, the Saint-Victor abbey is undoubtedly one of the places not to be missed in Marseille on your September trip. Close to the Vieux-Port, this historic vestige immerses you in the city’s religious past.
Classified as a historic monument since 1926, the Château d’If receives an average of 100,000 visitors a year. An integral part of the Frioul archipelago, Ile d’If is a havre of peace for tourists who venture there. Royal fortification, the Château d’If is immortalized by the legendary Comte de Monte Cristo, hero of Alexandre Dumas’ novel. On your September trip, enjoy an impressive viewover Marseille by accessing the island via a sea shuttle.
Museums for young and old
The Mucem – Musée des Civilisations de l’Europe et de la Méditerranée – has been one of Marseille’s most visited cultural venues since its inauguration in 2013 by President François Hollande. Distinguishing itself from afar, its modern architecture imagined by Rudy Ricciotti combines technical prowess with aesthetic power. A place of exchange where different fields intersect, the Mucem offers permanent and temporary exhibitions throughout the year.
Located in the right wing of the Palais Longchamp, the Natural History Museum of Marseille houses various thematic rooms. The Safari Muséum room exhibits over 300 species of naturalized animals, some of which are threatened or have disappeared. The Terre des Hommes room recounts the history of man up to the metal age. The museum offers tours using the most recent technologies to plunge you millennia back in time.
Visible at 19 rue Grignan in Marseille, the Cantini museum houses collections of modern and contemporary art, including one of the most important in France covering the period 1900-1980. Among the artists represented are André Derain, Charles Camoin, Dufy, Fernand Léger and even Le Corbusier.
At the heart of colorful, lively neighborhoods
Probably the first district you think of when referring to Marseille, the Vieux-Port district represents the throbbing heart of the city. Here, you can buy freshly caught fish, stroll along the quay or the iconic Canebière or celebrate the victories of the Olympique de Marseille. Now, the ombrière designed by Norman Foster has become the center of attraction for many tourists. They come here to take photos, enjoying the mirror effect of this installation.
Want to wander during your September stay in Marseille? Then the Panier district will become your favorite spot. Between its colorful alleys, its craft shops and its lively terraces, the oldest and most typical district of the city will seduce you whether you’re a couple, with your children or with friends. It was popularized by the TV series Plus belle la vie, which drew inspiration from it to set up the imaginary Mistral district.
Dedicated mainly to street art, the cours Julien allows you to combine shopping and relaxation while admiring the many graffiti located in the surrounding streets. If you want to get away from the crowds and the big shopping streets, head for this colorful “boheme” neighborhood, which hosts different markets every month (la Plaine market, organic market, farmers’ market, designers’ market…).