Walking the Best Religious Sites of Marseille (Self Guided), Marseille

Marseille is rich in sacred places, religious sights and buildings. Most of them represent Roman-Byzantine style and wouldn’t leave you indifferent. Often their interior is decorated with inlaid marble, mosaics and murals.
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Walking the Best Religious Sites of Marseille Map

Guide Name: Walking the Best Religious Sites of Marseille
Guide Location: France » Marseille (See other walking tours in Marseille)
Guide Type: Self-guided Walking Tour (Sightseeing)
# of Attractions: 7
Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 5.7 Km or 3.5 Miles
Author: kane
Sight(s) Featured in This Guide:
  • Cathédrale de la Major
  • Chapelle Sainte Catherine
  • Eglise Saint-Laurent
  • Eglise Saint Charles
  • Abbaye Saint-Victor
  • Notre-Dame de la Garde
  • Eglise du Sacré-Coeur
1
Cathédrale de la Major

1) Cathédrale de la Major (must see)

Marseille Cathedral, or Cathédrale de la Major, is a Roman Catholic cathedral and a national monument of France. It was built on an enormous scale in Byzantine-Roman style from 1852 to 1896 on the site used for the cathedrals of Marseille since the fifth century, principally by the architects Léon Vaudoyer and Henri-Jacques Espérendieu (1829-1874). Some modest structures remaining from the largely demolished earlier cathedral, the "Vieille Major", still stand alongside, dwarfed by the huge scale of the later construction.

Why You Should Visit:
Spectacular from the outside and well located right by the sea so that you can really get an impression of the grandeur.
The whole structure is impressive and every time you take a look, you see something different.

Opening Hours:
Tue-Sun: 10am-6:30pm (Apr-Sep); 10am-5:30pm (Oct-Mar)
Free admission
Sight description based on wikipedia
2
Chapelle Sainte Catherine

2) Chapelle Sainte Catherine

Chapelle Sainte Catherine is a splendid sanctuary dating back to the 17th century. As you enter the chapel, you will see an amazing set of tapestries that beautify the building. In addition to its religious purposes, Chapelle Sainte Catherine is known to hold occasional classical and choral concerts.
3
Eglise Saint-Laurent

3) Eglise Saint-Laurent

A Roman-Provincial church constructed in the 12th century, Eglise Saint-Laurent is a gorgeous Catholic church that, together with the Saint Catherine chapel, withstood the destruction of the Saint-Jean district during the German occupation. The church possesses different works of art from the late Gothic period, found only in Marseille.
Sight description based on wikipedia
4
Eglise Saint Charles

4) Eglise Saint Charles

Eglise Saint Charles is a fine example of neoclassical architecture. It was first erected in 1826 and later underwent a number of renovations. The church has an exceptional organ, and classical concerts take place here daily.
Sight description based on wikipedia
5
Abbaye Saint-Victor

5) Abbaye Saint-Victor (must see)

The Abbey of St. Victor is a late Roman former monastic foundation in Marseille named after the local soldier saint and martyr, Victor of Marseilles.

Tradition holds that in about 415, John Cassian founded two monasteries of St. Victor at Marseille, one for men (the later Abbey of St. Victor), the other for women. While Cassian certainly started monastic life in Marseille, he is probably not the founder of the abbey, as the archaeological evidence of Saint Victor only goes back to the end of the 5th century. Tradition also has it that it contains the relics of the eponymous martyr of Marseille from the 4th century. In reality, the crypts preserve highly valuable archaeological evidence proving the presence of a quarry exploited in Greek times.

The abbey is an imposing monument with an almost military architecture that evokes the medieval past of the city. The building is obviously classified as a historical monument, and it would be a shame to go to Marseille without coming to make a turn. On the one hand, because the monument itself is interesting, and partly because you have, from the forecourt, a stunning view of the Old Port!

Why You Should Visit:
The structure is wonderfully preserved, with plenty of good (English-translated) information and explanation of the various areas and artifacts inside.

Tip:
Do pay the small fee to go downstairs and visit the wonderful crypt – it is pretty much like entering another world!

Opening Hours:
Mon-Sat: 9am-7:30pm; Sun: 9am-6pm
To visit the crypt, plan your visit from 4 to 6pm
Sight description based on wikipedia
6
Notre-Dame de la Garde

6) Notre-Dame de la Garde (must see)

Notre-Dame de la Garde is an ornate Neo-Byzantine church which is situated at the highest natural point in Marseille, a 532 feet limestone outcrop on the south side of the Old Port and it is the site of a popular annual pilgrimage every Assumption Day.

Built by architect Henri-Jacques Espérandieu, the basilica was consecrated on 5 June 1864. It replaced a church of the same name built in 1214 and reconstructed in the 15th century. The basilica was built on the foundations of a 16th-century fort constructed by Francis I of France to resist the 1536 siege of the city by Emperor Charles V.

The basilica is made up of two parts: a lower church, or crypt, dug out of the rock and in the Romanesque style, and an upper church of Neo-Byzantine style decorated with mosaics. A square bell-tower of 135 feet is surmounted by a belfry of 42 feet which itself supports a monumental, 27 feet tall statue of the Madonna and Child made out of copper gilded with gold leaf. The stone used for the construction of the basilica was discovered to be sensitive to atmospheric corrosion. Extensive restoration took place from 2001 to 2008. This included work on the mosaics, damaged by candle smoke, and also by the impact of bullets during the Liberation of France at the end of World War II.
Sight description based on wikipedia
7
Eglise du Sacré-Coeur

7) Eglise du Sacré-Coeur

The church was built between 1920 and 1947. You will notice a mixture of Roman-Byzantine and eclectic styles. In June, the ‘magistrate's vows’ remain a tradition here. Inside, the sublime marble, granite, mosaics and stained-glass windows mix well. A Pietà (Virgin) signed by the sculptor Louis Botinelly and stained-glass windows by Henri Pinta make it well worth the visit.
Sight description based on wikipedia

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.
Daily Life in Marseille

Daily Life in Marseille

When you take this route, you'll have the opportunity to visit spots of locals' everyday life and get a glimpse of what it is like to live in Marseille. Come early at the harbor to see fishermen departing into the sea, do some shopping at a local market, enjoy a cup of coffee in the café around the corner. You will have a lot of fun on this tour.

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.5 Km or 1.6 Miles
Marseille's Museums Walking Tour

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Marseille, as the oldest city of France, has a rich history. It is home of diverse museums and galleries. Many of them are beautiful and interesting buildings which have become important landmarks. This walking tour will take you to them to know better understand French history and culture.

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 4.1 Km or 2.5 Miles
Marseille Introduction Walk I

Marseille Introduction Walk I

Located on the Mediterranean coast of France, Marseille is the largest commercial port and the second most populous city in France. Being also the country's oldest, the city is known for its ancient heritage, distinctive culture, ethnic diversity and strong identity, all of which secures for Marseille the status of a major tourist destination. Follow this orientation walk to explore some of...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 4.1 Km or 2.5 Miles
Marseille Introduction Walk II

Marseille Introduction Walk II

Located on the Mediterranean coast of France, Marseille is the largest commercial port and the second most populous city in France. Being also the country's oldest, the city is known for its ancient heritage, distinctive culture, ethnic diversity and strong identity, all of which secures for Marseille the status of a major tourist destination. Follow this orientation walk to explore some of...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.4 Km or 2.1 Miles
Historical Walking Tour in Marseille

Historical Walking Tour in Marseille

As Marseilles is the oldest city in France, it has a lot to offer visitors interested in history. It has many ancient buildings and churches of historical interest. All of these ancient buildings are very popular among tourists and have a rich history. Don't miss the chance to visit some of its most interesting constructions.

Tour Duration: 3 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 6.8 Km or 4.2 Miles