Basilique Notre Dame de la Garde

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If you had to sum up Notre Dame de la Garde in just a few words, you might say that it is the symbol of an entire city, that it has been a site of pilgrimage for more than 800 years, and that it offers a breathtaking view of the entire city of Phocaea.


  • Discover the historical significance of this site when it was being used as a military fortress:

This iconic structure in Marseille can be found on the highest hill close to the Old Port, which stands at 150 meters.

During his visit to Marseille in 1516, Francis I gathered in the Notre Dame de la Garde chapel with his mother and his wife.

Due to his awareness of Guard Hill's advantageous location, he reasoned it would be an excellent place to establish a military outpost and a fort.

In addition, he authorized the construction of the present-day Chateau d'If, a fort located on the island of If.

Even in modern times, visiting these fort's abandoned ruins is possible.

  • Keep an eye out for any hints that may explain how the ruins were transformed into a basilica on the same site:

Notre Dame de la Garde is not a cathedral as commonly believed; rather, it is a basilica. Henry Espérandieu, who was also a builder, conceived this architectural masterpiece with Byzantine inspiration. More than forty years were spent on its construction before it was finally finished.

On the interior, the size was reduced to more manageable meters in length and 14 meters in width for the nave. It is embellished with side chapels, every 3.8 meters by 5.4 meters in size, and it also has a dome of 3.8 meters by 5.4 meters.

  • Take some time to appreciate the iconic statue that commands your attention:

The colossal golden statue of the Virgin Mary housed in the cathedral measures 11.20 meters in length and weighs close to 9,796 kilograms. It was developed by the Christofle company and needed to have an additional 500 grams of gold added to it every quarter of a century.

There was a staircase inside the statue of the Virgin Mary that led up to her head about thirty years ago. Visitors could see the city as if they were looking through the eyes of the statue.

  • Check out La Bonne Mère:

Notre Dame de la Garde has its very own museum, which is a location that chronicles the history of this location, beginning with its founding and continuing to the present day.

  • Take in the breathtaking scenery all around you and immerse yourself in the splendor of nature:

In addition to the fact that the people who live in Marseilles hold this place in the highest regard, Notre Dame de la Garde is an excellent place to break away from the hustle bustle of the city.

To take in the scenery and get some exercise while getting some clean air, there is nothing better than walking down one of the many paths that lead to the base of the hill.

On the weekend or during a day off, you can take advantage of this walk to give your body and mind a boost of oxygen and positive energy.

The journey is well worth it because it rewards you with a view that is nothing short of breathtaking.

  • imageDuration Required
    1 hour

Address of Basilique Notre Dame de la Garde

Rue Fort du Sanctuaire, Marseille, France

Opening & Closing time of Basilique Notre Dame de la Garde

  • Monday
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Basilique Notre Dame de la Garde

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