The Museum of European and Mediterranean Civilizations (MuCEM) has exhibits that draw from a broad range of disciplines, from archaeology to political science to art history. Inside the building, which is perched on the edge of the Vieux Port next to the medieval Fort Saint Jean, discover artifacts and art from Greece, North Africa, Spain, Lebanon and more.
Pause before entering to appreciate the building itself, designed by Algerian-born architect Rudy Ricciotti to evoke the lacework screens common throughout North Africa.
Enter and start in the first permanent exhibit, Connectivities, which looks at the relationships between and history of the Mediterranean’s ports from Marseille to Istanbul.
In the adjacent Ruralités exhibit, see a traditional sailing vessel and well pump, among other items that present an overview of the industry behind the Mediterannean’s three major crops: wheat, olives and grapes. Listen to the music of North African folk singers, admire intricately designed breads from the Balkans and learn about how Provence’s wines are made.
Leave the main collection and stroll slowly up the ramp that wraps up the sides of the building, peeking occasionally through the intricate screen to catch glimpses of the sparkling waters of the Mediterranean below.
Relax on the roof as you look out over the Marseille skyline. Wander through the gardens or see if the open-air theatre is putting on a show. Head back in to the cool interior to take in the temporary exhibits, on subjects ranging from the sea to glass-blowing.
Walk to the MuCEM from the bottom of Marseille’s Vieux Port in 15 minutes. Take the metro from the Marseille-Saint-Charles station to the museum in 20 minutes, or walk in 30 minutes. Drive from the airport in 25 minutes. Metered parking is available in underground parking garages nearby.
The museum is open daily except Tuesdays, from mid-morning to mid-evening. Opening hours change seasonally. There is a fee to enter the museum but you can access the gardens, restaurants and theatre for free. A reduced family pass is available.