It may not have the romance of Paris or the glamour of Nice, but there are plenty of attractions of Marseille to make it worth visiting. Marseille is a grand old port and there’s something deliciously “gritty” and real about it that gives it a unique flavor compared to other destinations in the South of France. If you want to experience the south but not the Riviera, the attractions of Marseille are calling.
1. Basilica of Notre-Dame-de-la-Garde, Marseille, France
This magnificent religious monument dominates the ancient university town that is also the seat of an archbishop and the location of one of Europe's most important ports. The Basilica of Notre-Dame-de-la-Garde is one of the main attractions of Marseille and the city's most revered landmark. Situated on a 505 ft high limestone hill to the south of the city, the Basilica was erected on the site of a medieval pilgrimage chapel. Built between 1853 and 1864 in a neo-Byzantine style, the basilica's interior is clad in white and dark marble and its 151 ft high belfry is guarded by a gilded Madonna who is widely visible from across the city. One of the best attractions of Marseille is entirely free: the splendid panoramic views visitors can enjoy from the terrace that surrounds the Basilica! The views stretch beyond the city limits and encompass the offshore islands of Pomègues and Ratonneau as well as the Château d'If (a former island prison fortress)