Musée des Civilisations de l’Europe et de la Méditerranée
This eye-catching white structure next to MucCEM is no ordinary 'villa'. Designed by architect Stefano Boeri in 2013, the pistol-shaped...
Guarding the Marseille harbour, across the water from Bas Fort St-Nicolas, is Fort St-Jean, founded in the 13th century by the Knights...
Musée Regards de Provence
The harsh reality of Marseille as a port city – vulnerable to disease and epidemic – comes to life in this unusual museum in the city's...
Le Môlé Passédat
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1 esplanade du J4 · interesting places nearby
Musée des Civilisations de l’Europe et de la Méditerranée information
The icon of the 'new' Marseille, this stunning museum is split across two dramatically contrasting sites, linked by a vertigo-inducing foot bridge. One one side is lumbering Fort St-Jean , founded in the 13th century by the Knights Hospitaller of St John of Jerusalem and rebuilt by Louis XIV in the 17th century; and on the other the contemporary J4 , a shoebox with breathtaking 'lace' skin designed by Algerian-born, Marseille-educated architect Rudi Ricciotti.
Ambling around the beautiful, cream-stone citadel commands no admission fee. Different views of the Mediterranean, streaked by boats sailing in and out of the Vieux Port, unfold from dozens of viewpoints, including the Chemin de Ronde (Parapet Walk) along the ramparts and atop the square Tour du Roi René, a defensive tower reached by a narrow staircase. The history of the fort is explained in the Salle du Corps de Garde (guardhouse room), and there are always a couple of temporary exhibitions.
Walking high above the sea from Fort St-Jean along the 115m-long 'flying carpet' footbridge to J4 (an abbreviation for its street address 'Joliette 4') feels like walking the plank. Views of the ferry port and striped facade of Cathédrale de la Major one direction and Vieux Port the other seriously distract. Inside J4 the Galerie de la Méditerranée explores the history, culture and civilisation of the Mediterranean region through anthropological and ethnographical exhibits, art works and film. Afterwards, from the musem's ground-floor ticketing hall, pick up the path that twists its way between the glass wall of the building and its outer lace shell for more staggering views of the Med from a very different perspective.