Lonely Planet review
From the Vieux Port, hike north up to this fantastic history-woven quarter, dubbed Marseille’s Montmartre as much for its sloping streets as its artsy ambience. In Greek Massilia it was the site of the agora (marketplace), hence its name, which means ‘the basket’. During WWII the quarter was dynamited and afterwards rebuilt. Today it’s a mishmash of lanes hiding artisan shops, ateliers (workshops) and terraced houses strung with drying washing.
Its centerpiece is Centre de la Vieille Charité ; nearby Cathédrale de la Major stands guard between the old and ‘new’ ports with a ‘stripy’ facade made of local Cassis stone and green Florentine marble. Creative art exhibitions for kids are held at Préau des Accoules inside an 18th-century Jesuit college.