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Basilique Notre-Dame de la Garde Marseille, France

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 […]

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Palais Longchamp, Marseille, France

This colonnaded palace was originally built to celebrate the construction of the Canal de Marseille, which brought water to the city and helped alleviate its summertime draught problem. After continued outbreaks of cholera in the 19th century, the city built the canal linking Marseille to the Durance River. In addition to providing a fresh water […]

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L’abbaye Saint-Victor, Marseille, France

The remains of L’abbaye Saint-Victor, once a prestigious religious center, overlooks the Vieux Port. The abbey was built in the early 5th century on the site where Saint Victor was massacred, and was dismembered in the 18th century. It was secularized, the gold and silver valuables were melted to make coins, the relics were burned […]

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Cathédrale Sainte-Marie-Majeure de Marseille, Marseille, France

This monstrosity is Marseille’s cathedral. If it looks a little modern, it’s because it was built during the late-19th century boom. This was built to signify France’s importance as a powerful trading partner with Asia. Built in eye-catching green and white stone stripes and a mix of Romanesque, Byzantine and Gothic styles, the cathedral oozes […]

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La Vieille Charité, Marseille, France

We spotted this unique dome and beautifully-colored stone from the street and wandered in to find a bit of calmness. The structure that wraps around the Baroque church was originally designed as an almshouse by Marseille architect Pierre Puget. In the 19th century, it was used as an asylum, then for soldiers and the homeless. […]

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Vallon des Auffes, Marseille, France

We walked along Corniche JFK to this fishing cove to check out a rooftop pizza place, but it was closed. There’s not much here – just a few restaurants that were all closed since it was Monday – but it’s an appealing, colorful little area. Tweet

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Marseille Sofitel, Marseille, France

This was one of the best hotels we’ve stayed in recently. The hotel has sweeping views of the Vieux Port and the city, and the walls of windows allow the seaside breeze in. The breakfast was our favorite hotel breakfast in Europe, full of Mediterranean fare like the world’s best ratatouille, marinated vegetables, fresh cheeses […]

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Marseille, France

To think we almost didn’t visit Marseille! We’d heard so many negative things about it, mostly along the lines of it being dirty and dangerous, that we nearly gave it a skip. Well, had we listened to others and bypassed this major French city, we would have missed out on the delicious seafood (notably, the […]

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Terrain des Peintres, Aix-en-Provence

Okay, one more stop on the Cézanne route! This hilltop garden is a ten-minute walk from the atelier. Here, Cézanne seems to have found the most inspiration, as 87 works from this series are scattered throughout international museums and private collections. Here again, Mont Sainte-Victoire dominates his work. Opposite 62 av Paul Cézanne. Tweet

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Atelier Paul Cézanne, Aix-en-Provence

Here’s another of Cézanne’s workplaces, where he worked every morning from 1902 to his death in 1906. The atelier is seemingly frozen in time, arranged as (the historians and restorers think) he left it. Still-life models such as pottery, vases, bottles and skulls, tools, a jacket and a cherry-picking ladder are on display. Correspondence between […]

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