ROL Cruise recommends…
1. Explore the Old Port
If you’ve only got a couple of hours to spare in Marseille, be sure to visit the city’s Old Port. If this spot seems familiar, that’s because it’s often been used as a location in film and literature over the years. You might recognise it from 2003’s Love Actually, the James Bond movies or Alexandre Dumas’ novel The Count of Monte Cristo. This picturesque port is home to a number of tourist attractions, including a lighthouse, an abbey, an historic ferry and the Roman Docks Museum.
2. Drink in the city’s architectural delights
Lovers of modern architecture are sure to be inspired by the CMA CGM Tower in the city’s business centre, a striking building designed by influential architect Zaha Hadid, as well as Cité Radieuse, a housing complex created by Le Corbusier. Not an activity for the kids, perhaps, but a truly awe-inspiring way to while away an hour or so if you’re artistically-minded.
3. Take a stroll in Parc Longchamp
Home to the famous Natural History Museum and Musée des Beaux-Arts, Parc Longchamp is widely considered to be one of the most beautiful parks in France. Indeed, it is listed as one of the Notable Gardens of France by the French Ministry of Culture. A nineteenth century creation, it contains a number of eye-catching sculptures, a decorative canal, a stunning waterfall and an impressively opulent fountain.
4. Find peace at Marseille Cathedral
A vast Roman Catholic cathedral – one of the largest in France, in fact – Marseille Cathedral has been a destination for locals and visitors alike since it opened in 1893. Built by the same architect who created Notre-Dame de la Garde basilica, it boasts an eye-catchingly grand façade and equally impressive interior. Full of information within - so you can discover its rich history at your leisure - and boasting an array of decorative mosaics, murals and marble, this is a welcome spot of tranquillity in an otherwise bustling city.
5. Be spellbound by the views of Notre-Dame de la Garde
For a bird’s eye view of Marseille, the hike up to this impressive Neo-Byzantine church at the highest point of the city is a must – not least in order to gaze upon the awe-inspiring, 11-metre-tall, gold leaf-gilded statue of Madonna and Child positioned atop the bell tower. Opened in 1864 on the site of an ancient fort, this tourist hotspot, built by architect Henri-Jacques Espérandieu, has long been considered the guardian of the city. In fact, locals refer to it as ‘the good mother’.