Discovering Marseille in June: cultural visits
Must-see places between history, culture and heritage
When visiting Marseille in June, you won’t be able to miss the basilica of Notre-Dame de la Garde, commonly known as the Bonne Mère by the city’s inhabitants. Perched 150 meters above sea level, this Roman-Byzantine-style church welcomes nearly 2 million visitors annually, positioning it as the Phocaean city’s most-visited monument. According to legend, it watches over fishermen, sailors and the entire population of Marseilles. Those wishing to visit it can get there on foot (about 20min from the Vieux-Port), by bus (n°60), by car (note that parking is limited), or by taking the small tourist train from the Vieux-Port.
Another unmissable cultural visit: the Mucem! This is the first major national museum dedicated to the Mediterranean. Throughout the year, visitors can discover permanent and temporary exhibitions on a variety of themes (history, anthropology, archaeology, art history and contemporary art). Its original architecture is the work of Rudy Ricciotti, a French architect of Italian origin. A cheerful dédale, the fort Saint-Jean – an integral part of the museum – allows visitors to lose themselves in its gardens, discovering mysterious secrets. Nearby you can also discover the replica of the famous grotte Cosquer, a prehistoric gem sunk 35m deep.
On the Ile d’If, one of the islands of Frioul, lies the château d’If, a former state prison that attracts thousands of tourists every year wishing to discover the beauty of this historic monument. Alexandre Dumas made this feudal building famous by mentioning it in his novel Le Comte de Monte-Cristo, a work in which the hero is imprisoned in the said fortress.
To combine culture, heritage and history, head for the Palais Longchamp in Marseille’s 4th arrondissement. A true ode to water, this palace was originally built to accommodate the waters of the Durance into the city. Today, this majestic-looking water tower comprises 4 main entities: the Fine-Arts Museum of Marseille (left wing), the Natural History Museum of Marseille (right wing), a public garden and a park with observatory (at the rear).