Marseille is a port city in France, mostly popular for been a sea hub for trading and immigration. The city has a long history since 600 B.C. when it was established by the Greeks. When Cody and I planned our trip to France, Marseille was the third must-visit city on our list, right after Paris of course, and Bordeaux (umm….couldn’t skip the famous wine region). Although Marseille is considered to be the most dangerous city in France (more pickpockets and petty theft), it has more of a real city character, than for example, Nice, which is very overcrowded and aimed at tourists. Marseille has lots of the things and places to see and one of them is the Basilique Notre-Dame de la Garde.
Basilique Notre-Dame de la Garde is a Catholic basilica, an iconic site, and the most famous symbol of the city. The basilica was built on the highest point in Marseille on the remains of the ancient fort. The construction of the basilica was finished in 1873 and lasted 21 years. The church combines a few styles in it, for example the crypt is built in the Romanesque style and the upper part of the church in the Neo-Byzantine style. The church highlight is a bell tower with a “golden” (copper covered with a gold leaf) statue of the Virgin Mary. And of course, because of the location of the basilica, it looks amazing and very divine from down below.
To get to the Basilique Notre-Dame de la Garde, you can use a few different methods of transportation.
At the old port you can get yourself on the tourist train that will take you all the way to the basilica and back down to the old port. The train takes you through the narrow streets of Marseille, by the seaside all the way to the top of the hill. There is a presentation in a few languages and over all it is a nice way to explore Marseille.
Price: the train costs 8 Euros per person round trip;
From the old port you can get a bus to the Basilique Notre-Dame de la Garde, which is a cheaper option than the tourist train. The bus number is 60 and it leaves every 15 minutes from this location. The ride to the top will take just 15 minutes plus a short walk up to the basilica.
Price: 1,60 € each way
If you have enough time and are keen on having good walks, then the third option is for you. You of course can walk all the way up to the basilica. The walk will take around 40 minutes if you are fit, but remember that you are going to walk up the hill and it isn’t easy, so better to wear comfortable shoes and bring some water as well.
And of course, you can take a taxi. The ride will take around 10-15 minutes depending on the traffic.
Price: Uber taxi will cost between 9 and 10 € one way.