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Notre-Dame de la Garde is located in Marseille, France and the city's best-known symbol. It is a Catholic basilica built on the foundations of an ancient fort at the highest natural point in Marseille, a 149 m limestone outcropping on the south side of the Old Port of Marseille. One of the best things to do at Notre-Dame de la Garde is to enjoy the views from the hill during your stay in Marseille.
Embracing the History And Beauty of The Old European Architecture
The magnificent NotreDame de la Garde is one of the most visited attractions in Marseille. It is visible from all over Marseille and is best known for its grand bell tower, which is capped with a gleaming gold statue of the Virgin Mary. One of the best things to do at Notre-Dame de la Garde is to see the city views from it. Notre-Dame de la Garde has 360 degrees panoramic views over the city. The views are best seen at sunset from its terrace. The panoramic vista includes the city, the islands, and the sea. Just be warned, it can be a bit of climb to get to it, so best to take the tourist train from the Old Port unless you're feeling energetic. Take lots of water if you're walking the steps in summer. No extra tickets needed to access this area.
After admiring the basilica's elaborate facade and Virgin Mary statue, marvel at the lavish interior, which is adorned with colorful marble, maritime-inspired murals, and intricate mosaics. No tickets are required to see this area. The cathedral was painstakingly restored in 2006, but bullet marks and shrapnel scars on the northern façade are visible remnants of the fighting that took place during the Battle of Marseille in August 1944.
Notre-Dame de la Garde now has its own museum, for which there is a small ticket admission charge. The museum presents 800 years of the Basilica and its place in the history of Marseille. The museum also has many more examples of ex voto offerings. If you don't want to go home empty-handed from one of the most famous churches in the world, you can stop by its gift shop and buy something for you or your significant others. You don't need to buy extra tickets to access the gift shop area.
How to Get Tickets?
There is no ticket admission fee to visit the Notre-Dame de la Garde. Locals and tourists can walk in and out for free as it is a religious site. However, if you want to visit the Cathedral museum, you need to purchase a ticket. You can find the tickets on-site, before entering the Museum. Make sure you bring cash.
How To Get Around?
Walking is the only option to get around this church. Once you get to Notre-Dame de la Garde, you need to walk inside the church and climb up the stairs to get around. Most area of Notre-Dame de la Garde is accessible by wheelchair and stroller. You can access all area without tickets except for the museum.
What Should I Wear?
Although Notre-Dame de la Garde is the most-visited tourist sites in Marseille, it is still a religious site and is used to pray. Make sure you're not wearing something too revealing. It's better to dress a little conservative and cover your legs and shoulder while you're inside. If you bring anything valuable with you, make sure you keep them safe in your bag and beware of pickpockets.
Best Time to Visit
Notre-Dame de la Garde is open daily year round, but it can get busy in peak season (July and August). It's best to visit in the early morning or late afternoon to avoid the tour groups. Assumption Day (August 15th), when a special mass is held at the church, tends to draw large crowds.
Will I Need a Guide?
No, the Cathedral is big and easy to find and you can find everything on this website. However, if you choose to pay for a train ticket to get here, there will be a tour guide in English and French in the train to explain everything along the way before you arrive.
How To Get There?
There are several ways to get to Notre-Dame de la Garde. You can take Bus No. 60 which leaves from the Old Port and the ticket costs the normal bus fare. Stay on it until the end, it takes around 20 minutes to the Cathedral. Another option is to buy a ticket and take the little tourist train from the right side of the Quai Des Belges. The ticket includes a tour guide in English and French. You can also get there on foot, it takes about an hour long hike from the Old Port.