Vieux Port

Vieux Port information

Marseille , France
Getting there
Metro: Vieux Port
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Ships have docked for more than 26 centuries at the city’s birthplace, the colourful Old Port. The main commercial docks were transferred to the Joliette area north of here in the 1840s, but the old port remains a thriving harbour for fishing boats, pleasure yachts and tourists. The free Cross-Port Ferry in front of the town hall is a fun way to get out on the water, however briefly.

Guarding the harbour are Bas Fort St-Nicolas on the south side and, across the water, Fort St-Jean , founded in the 13th century by the Knights Hospitaller of St John of Jerusalem, and home of the national Musée des Civilisations de l’Europe et de la Méditerranée's brand new 40,000-sq-m, state-of-the-art museum.

The port’s southern quay is dotted with theatres and bars, and restaurants and cafes buzz until the wee hours a block east on place Thiars and cours Honoré d’Estienne d’Orves .

Abbaye St-Victor is the birthplace of Christianity in Marseille, built on a 3rd-century BC Greek necropolis. Nearby Musée du Santon with its boutique and neighbouring Atelier du Santon are home to handcrafted tiny kiln-fired figures or santons (from santoùn in Provençal, meaning ‘little saint’). The custom of creating a nativity scene with figurines dates from the Avignon papacy of John XII (1319–34).

Perched at the peninsula’s edge, the Jardin du Pharo is a perfect picnic spot and ideal for watching sunsets.