Basilique Notre-Dame de la Garde

#4 in Best Things To Do in Marseille
Basilique Notre-Dame de la Garde picture1 of 3
Basilique Notre-Dame de la Garde2 of 3
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Key Info

Rue Fort du Sanctuaire

Price & Hours

Free

Details

Churches/Religious Sites, Sightseeing, Free Type
1 to 2 hours Time to Spend
4.5

scorecard

  • 5.0Value
  • 4.0Facilities
  • 4.5Atmosphere

The Basilique Notre-Dame de la Garde – translated as Our Lady of the Guard – was built in the 1850s on the foundation of Marseille's ancient fortress. Today, this working Catholic basilica – filled with stunning marble, murals and mosaics – is a symbol of the city, the crowning point of its skyline and likewise, a wonderful place to enjoy sweeping views of the city below. You'll probably be able to spot it from the harbor, as a large, gilded statue of the Virgin Mary sits atop the bell tower. 

Some visitors called the climb up to the top "tough," but the views worth it. Although travelers admit that the church is beautiful, they were most impressed with the panoramic views. However, several reviewers also warned of heavy crowds and potential pickpockets. 

The basilica is open from April to September, 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.; from October to March, 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., though it might be closed to tourists during Mass, so it's best to check the website before visiting. To reach the basilica, many visitors walk; the church sits less than 2 miles south of Vieux Port. Alternatively, the No. 60 bus makes a stop at the basilica. Access to the church is free. On-site facilities include a cafe and two gift shops.

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Type
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#1 Le Panier

Le Panier – or the Basket – gives a glimpse of Old Marseille and real Marseille culture. From its narrow winding streets that spill into squares to its restaurants, ateliers (worskshops) and terraced homes, Le Panier is a delightful place to meander. It's also convenient to attractions, such as MuCEM and Cathedrale de la Major, among others.   

Visitors say that this district is full of character, highlighting the street art and local restaurants and boutiques. Others describe it as charming and a great place to wander for a few hours.

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