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Holidays in Notre-Dame de la Garde
Holiday Travel Guide

Notre-Dame de la Garde

Marseille’s most iconic building is a bit of a hike to get to, but the reward includes a magnificent 19th-century basilica and the city’s best views.

Notre-Dame de la Garde’s enormous gilded statue of the Virgin Mary is one of the first things visitors to Marseille notice. From nearly anywhere in Marseille, see the Madonna casting a protective eye over the busy city below. Note that the cathedral near the port is the official heart of the Catholic church in Marseille; however, for a sense of the city’s real religious life, visit Notre-Dame de la Garde.

Although it’s built on the city’s highest point, which is a nearly 500-foot (150-meter) limestone massif south of the Old Port, the basilica is even more imposing than the hill.

Before entering, appreciate the views stretching out from the multiple levels of balconies and patios. Spot the Château d’If on its tiny island and the Frioul Islands farther away. Look for fishing boats bobbing in the sea. Huge container ships steam steadily toward Marseille’s industrial port.

Turn around and admire the neo-Byzantine striped exterior, alternating bands of white limestone with green sandstone imported from near Florence.

Inside the cathedral, relatively small windows keep it pleasantly cool even on summer days.

Notice the many votive offerings on the wall, a distinctly Mediterranean religious phenomenon that attests to the affection Marseillais and other seafarers feel for the “Bonne Mère,” as they call the cathedral.

Admire the elaborate decoration and perfect striping on the wall. The simplicity of the crypt is almost shocking after the profusion of color above. In the crypt, monuments pay tribute to some of Marseille’s founding families.

Notre-Dame de la Garde is visible from most spots in Marseille’s center, south of the Old Port. Located at the very top of the hill, it is a rewarding 25-minute walk from the Old Port, but can be difficult for people with mobility issues. Travel by bus from the Old Port in 15 minutes or drive in 10 minutes. The main train station is a 15-minute drive or 25-minute bus ride away. Free on-site parking is available, with a staircase to the church.

Visitors to Notre-Dame de la Garde are welcome daily from early morning to early evening, at no charge.

Top activities in Notre-Dame de la Garde

2788 Cheap Hotels Near Notre-Dame de la Garde

Residhotel Grand Prado
Residhotel Grand Prado
3 out of 5
Allée Turcat Méry, 7 square des frères Ambrogiani, Marseille
Free cancellationReserve now, pay when you stay
The price is AU$102 per night from 20 Jun. to 20 Jun.
Located in 8th Arrondissement, this residence is within a 15-minute walk of Prado Market and Parc Chanot Convention and Exhibition Center. Old Port of Marseille ...
3.8/5Good! (538 reviews)
In the end it was okay.
"When we first arrived they gave us an absolutely dirty and rundown room. The paint was peeling off the wall skirts, there was something sticky next to the bedside table, hair and stains on the bed, the shower was dirty, a socket was hanging out of the wall, curtains were hanging down... We asked ..."

Reviewed on 12 Feb. 2021

Residhotel Grand Prado
Radisson Blu Hotel, Marseille Vieux Port
Radisson Blu Hotel, Marseille Vieux Port
4 out of 5
The price is AU$255 per night from 27 Jun. to 27 Jun.
Located in 7th Arrondissement, this romantic hotel is steps away from Old Port of Marseille, La Criee National Theater of Marseille and Abbaye de Saint Victor. ...
4.2/5Very Good! (956 reviews)
"The lift was not working and the receptionist seemed to be not care about it. The breakfast aas not great and I think it do not meet the standard of four star hotel."

Reviewed on 1 Oct. 2020

Radisson Blu Hotel, Marseille Vieux Port
nhow Marseille
nhow Marseille
4 out of 5
The price is AU$305 per night from 27 Jun. to 27 Jun.
Located in 7th Arrondissement, this beach hotel is within a 15-minute walk of La Corniche, Prado Beach and Borely Park. Parc Chanot Convention and Exhibition ...
4.3/5Excellent! (204 reviews)
"nice location pool spacious room seaview friendly staff"

Reviewed on 24 Jul. 2020

nhow Marseille
Lowest nightly price found within the past 24 hours based on a 1 night stay for 2 adults. Prices and availability subject to change. Additional terms may apply.

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Top Notre-Dame de la Garde Hotel & Accommodation Deals

Residhotel Grand Prado
Residhotel Grand Prado
3 out of 5
Allée Turcat Méry, 7 square des frères Ambrogiani, Marseille
The price is AU$102 per night from 20 Jun. to 20 Jun.
Residhotel Grand Prado
Radisson Blu Hotel, Marseille Vieux Port
Radisson Blu Hotel, Marseille Vieux Port
4 out of 5
The price is AU$255 per night from 27 Jun. to 27 Jun.
Radisson Blu Hotel, Marseille Vieux Port
nhow Marseille
nhow Marseille
4 out of 5
The price is AU$305 per night from 27 Jun. to 27 Jun.
nhow Marseille
Maisons du Monde Hôtel & Suites - Marseille Vieux Port
Maisons du Monde Hôtel & Suites - Marseille Vieux Port
The price is AU$145 per night from 1 Jul. to 1 Jul.
Maisons du Monde Hôtel & Suites - Marseille Vieux Port
Sofitel Marseille Vieux Port
Sofitel Marseille Vieux Port
5 out of 5
The price is AU$387 per night from 20 Jun. to 20 Jun.
Sofitel Marseille Vieux Port
Aparthotel Adagio Marseille Vieux Port
Aparthotel Adagio Marseille Vieux Port
4 out of 5
The price is AU$143 per night from 20 Jun. to 20 Jun.
Aparthotel Adagio Marseille Vieux Port
Ibis Budget Marseille Vieux Port
Ibis Budget Marseille Vieux Port
2 out of 5
46 rue Sainte, Marseille
The price is AU$102 per night from 20 Jun. to 20 Jun.
Ibis Budget Marseille Vieux Port
InterContinental Marseille - Hotel Dieu
InterContinental Marseille - Hotel Dieu
5 out of 5
The price is AU$343 per night from 27 Jun. to 27 Jun.
InterContinental Marseille - Hotel Dieu
AC Hotel by Marriott Marseille Prado Velodrome
AC Hotel by Marriott Marseille Prado Velodrome
4 out of 5
4 allee Marcel Leclerc, Marseille
The price is AU$172 per night from 20 Jun. to 20 Jun.
AC Hotel by Marriott Marseille Prado Velodrome
Lowest nightly price found within the past 24 hours based on a 1 night stay for 2 adults. Prices and availability subject to change. Additional terms may apply.