Marseille is the center of European tourism. Every year millions of travelers from all over the world come here, dreaming of seeing its archaeological, historical and cultural attractions from antiquity to the present day with their own eyes.
Marseille is an ancient harbor and a city famous for its unique history and culture. It emerged in the 6th century BC, already in those days the port of Marseille was an important link in international trade.
Top 13 attractions in Marseille
We offer to your attention the most famous sights of Marseille with photos and brief descriptions. And you can see them in more detail if you visit this magnificent city.
Here, on the shores of the Mediterranean Sea, in the 6th century BC. The ancient Greeks landed and founded the city. During the Middle Ages, warships were built in the Old Port shipyard and it was the maritime gateway of Marseilles.
The New Port of Marseille was built in the 19th century, so the Old Port has become a haven for yachtsmen and the main attraction of the city, where tourists spend their time in the many taverns with excellent seafood cuisine and local wines.
This palace was erected in the 19th century at the behest of the Duke of Orleans on the New Canal of Marseille. The palace had a technical function: a water tower was hidden behind it. Today tourists come here to see the palace, museums and landscapes.
Here you can see a beautiful group of fountains, the colonnade in the classical style. The Museum of Natural History has curious natural exhibits, and the Museum of Fine Arts has sculptures and paintings of the New Age.
It is one of the most famous landmarks of Marseille and France, immortalized in the novels of Alexandre Dumas. The fortress was erected in the 16th century, it first protected the city, and then turned into a prison.
From the 16th to the 19th century, the Château d’If was considered one of Europe’s most dreaded penitentiaries. In the 80s of the 19th century, the prison was closed and immediately became a real Mecca for fans of Dumas’ work.
Notre-Dame de la Garde Basilica
This Byzantine-style temple was built on the foundations of a medieval church in the mid-19th century on a hill near the sea. Locals consider him the patron saint of the city.
At the top of the church bell tower is a many-meter gilded statue of the Virgin Mary. In the early 21st century the temple was restored, and today it is one of the most beautiful and most visited tourist attractions of Marseille.
This Empire-style palace was built in the mid-19th century by Emperor Napoleon III for his wife as a home by the sea. The walls of the palace are lined with pink stone, around the landscaped park. From its windows you can see the sinister Chateau d’If.
By the time the construction of Faro Castle was finished, the Third Republic had been proclaimed in France. Today it belongs to the city government.
Faro has a permanent exhibition and an excellent restaurant. In the park there are areas for children’s games.
This cultural center of Marseille is located in a building built in the 17th century. Despite the extraordinary architectural beauty, it used to be a workhouse, almshouse, or hospice.
The Baroque mansion is built of local pink and white limestone. Today it houses two museums: one that tells the story of the cultures of the peoples of the Americas and Africa, the other that offers visitors the opportunity to view amazing archaeological finds.
It is an obligatory administrative building for any Western European city. In Marseille, in its present historic part, it was erected in the mid-17th century at the behest of Louis XIV.
They built the town hall for a long time, constantly lacking funding, and eventually turned out a beautiful mansion in the Baroque style. Today, the City Hall is one of Marseille’s most sought-after historical and architectural landmarks.
The Marseilles Exchange at the Chamber of Commerce is an architectural monument of the 19th century. It is located in the center of the city and is still in operation today. The exchange can accommodate more than 2,500 people, and brokerage offices are in operation.
There are also various cultural institutions: the museum of maritime trade, open the doors of the library, organized various exhibitions. There is a large shopping center.
What else is there to see in Marseille? In the Old Port since 2007 there is a local Ferris wheel, where you can see the entire historic part of the city. The wheel operates year round, but most tourists ride it during the High Season.
In 2016, the Ferris wheel was reconstructed, and today its capacity is 200 people, the windows of the cabins are glazed. It is the second largest Wheel of France. Young children have free access to the Wheel, tickets for children under 10 years old are €5, for adults – €7.
This huge Catholic cathedral is one of the main religious and architectural landmarks of Marseille. It is recognized as a French monument of national importance. The cathedral was erected in the middle of the 19th century in the Byzantine style.
The exterior decoration and the interior of Marseille Cathedral are impressive. Frescoes and mosaics of marble and semi-precious stones were used to decorate its walls and ceilings. All the bishops of Marseilles are buried in this temple.
The Garden of Ruins
It is one of the most interesting sights in Marseille, testifying to the ancient and rich past of the city. The Jardin des ruins is located in the historic part of Marseille, near the stock exchange.
Archaeological excavations in this place began in the 1960s, and since then many ancient foundations, walls of forts and temples have been excavated here. Scientists have concluded that in the 6th century BC. the ancient Greek port was located here.
This one of the biggest soccer stadiums in Europe was built in the 1930s of the 20th century. Today it is home to the local soccer club Olympic. The stadium has hosted many soccer matches of the various Olympic Games.
The Velodrome got its name because. originally intended primarily for bicycle racing. It wasn’t until the 1980s that bicycle lanes were finally replaced by bleachers for soccer fans.
It is a whole complex of beaches stretching on the Mediterranean coast of Marseille. The seashore here is characterized by many small coves, fjords, rocky cliffs, so there were no good beaches near Marseille until the 70s of the 20th century.
The Prado beaches are artificially created. The coastal seabed was covered with rock from the construction of the subway, and the shore was covered with the softest white sand. The Prado beaches have first-class tourist infrastructure: playgrounds and sports fields, piers and parks for water sports, parking lots, checkrooms, showers, etc.