Attractions in Marseille
As the second largest city and third largest metropolitan area in France, Marseille has a variety of attractions to keep visitors busy. One of the city's most popular attractions is the Basilique Notre Dame de La Garde. This 19th century basilica is an excellent example of Romano-Byzantine architecture and boasts beautiful panoramic views of Marseille and the surrounding area from the basilica's terrace.
Another popular attraction is Vieux Port. This area is best known for the two forts that guard it, Fort Saint Jean and Fort Saint Nicolas, and the numerous restaurants, shops, and cafes that face the waterfront. Vieux Port is located just north of the Basilique Notre Dame de La Garde and is a great place to relax and take in Marseille's natural beauty.
After a leisurely visit to Vieux Port, visitors should consider taking a ferry to another one of Marseille's favorite attractions, Château d'If. Château d'If was the setting for most of the action in the book The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexander Dumas. A 16th century castle that was later turned into a prison, the island's most famous resident is Mirabeau, considered one of the heroes of the French Revolution.
Marseille is also home to the Cathedrale de la Nouvelle Major. Napoleon III commissioned this cathedral in the 19th century, which is yet another example of Romano-Byzantine architecture. Its interior features a variety of exquisite mosaics and sculptures, while the small square just outside has beautiful views of the Mediterranean.
Yet another must-see sight, also commissioned by Napoleon III, is his waterfront residence, the Palais du Pharo. The architecture is impressive, and there's also a quiet park and gardens, perfect for taking in the sea views. The Palais du Pharo occasionally plays host to exhibitions that are of interest to locals and tourists alike.
Religious history buffs will appreciate a visit to the Abbey of Saint Victor. Built in the 5th century, it's one of the oldest Christian places of worship in Europe. The onsite crypt once held the remains of Saint John Cassian, a well-known Christian theologian, as well as the remains of other saints and martyrs.
La Vieille Charité is another one of Marseille's many attractions. A former almshouse, La Vieille Charité is an excellent example of Baroque architecture and is now home to an archaeological museum. It also houses Asian and African artwork, bookshops, and a cafe.
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