Notre-Dame de la Garde, Marseille

Notre-Dame de la Garde, Marseille (must see)

Notre-Dame de la Garde stands proudly as an opulent Neo-Byzantine church situated atop the highest natural point in Marseille, perched upon a 532 feet limestone outcrop on the south side of the Old Port. This majestic site has become a cherished destination for an annual pilgrimage on Assumption Day.

Conceived by the talented architect Henri-Jacques Espérandieu, the basilica received its consecration on the 5th of June in 1864. Its origins trace back to a church with the same name, first erected in 1214 and later reconstructed during the 15th century. Remarkably, the basilica's foundations rest upon a 16th-century fortress built by Francis I of France to fend off Emperor Charles V's siege of the city in 1536.

The basilica comprises two distinct sections: a lower church or crypt, artistically carved into the rock in the Romanesque style, and an upper church boasting Neo-Byzantine elegance adorned with breathtaking mosaics. Towering above is a square bell-tower, reaching a height of 135 feet, crowned with a belfry standing at 42 feet. At its peak, a monumental statue of the Madonna and Child, crafted from copper gilded with gold leaf, soars to an impressive 27 feet.

During its history, the basilica encountered challenges, particularly regarding the stone used in its construction, which proved susceptible to atmospheric corrosion. In response, extensive restoration work took place from 2001 to 2008. This effort encompassed the meticulous repair of the mosaics, damaged by candle smoke over the years, as well as by bullets during the Liberation of France at the end of World War II.

Want to visit this sight? Check out these Self-Guided Walking Tours in Marseille. Alternatively, you can download the mobile app "GPSmyCity: Walks in 1K+ Cities" from Apple App Store or Google Play Store. The app turns your mobile device to a personal tour guide and it works offline, so no data plan is needed when traveling abroad.

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Notre-Dame de la Garde on Map

Sight Name: Notre-Dame de la Garde
Sight Location: Marseille, France (See walking tours in Marseille)
Sight Type: Religious
Guide(s) Containing This Sight:

Walking Tours in Marseille, France

Create Your Own Walk in Marseille

Create Your Own Walk in Marseille

Creating your own self-guided walk in Marseille is easy and fun. Choose the city attractions that you want to see and a walk route map will be created just for you. You can even set your hotel as the start point of the walk.
Marseille's Old Town

Marseille's Old Town

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Over the course of centuries the cobblestone streets of Marseille's Old Town had been a haven for refugees, criminals, and prostitutes, as well as Resistance fighters, Jews and...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.9 Km or 1.8 Miles
Food and Shopping Walk

Food and Shopping Walk

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Marseille doesn't have a flagship thoroughfare as such,...  view more

Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 1.8 Km or 1.1 Miles
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The leader of the galley people was one called Protis. Protis was...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.8 Km or 2.4 Miles
Historical Churches Walking Tour

Historical Churches Walking Tour

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The majority of Christians in Marseille are Roman Catholics, whose prevalence is manifested in the form of multiple...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.6 Km or 2.2 Miles