This 19th-century Romano-Byzantine basilica, informally known as La Bonne Mère, sits atop Marseille’s highest hill, La Garde, and is visible from almost anywhere in the city.
The structure is striking, with colored marble, murals and mosaics, wraparound terraces and a tall Virgin Mary crowning the bell tower.
Since Roman times, this site has served as a lookout point over the entire city, the ports and the sea.
The interior is overwhelming and colorful with ornate gold leaf, anchor and boat motifs and floor and ceiling mosaics depicting palm trees, vines, olives and birds.
A church was first constructed here in the 13th century. Sailors would climb to it and pray for a safe voyage.
The architect, Henri-Jacques Espérandieu, also designed the Palais Longchamp and the Cathedral de la Major.
We took a bus from the Vieux Port and walked down.
Open 7 a.m. – 7 p.m. Tweet