Fort St-Nicolas


Guarding the southern side of Marseille’s harbour (and threatening its sometimes rebellious citizens, who attempted to destroy it during the Revolution) is the star-shaped, 17th-century Fort St-Nicolas, built by Louis XIV. Used as both garrison and prison, it can only be visited by prior arrangement with the tourist office.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Marseille attractions

1. Abbaye St-Victor

0.18 MILES

To the west of the Vieux Port lies Abbaye St-Victor, the birthplace of Christianity in Marseille, built on a 3rd century BC necropolis. It's €2 to visit…

2. Musée du Santon

0.23 MILES

One of Provence’s most enduring Christmas traditions is its santons (plaster-moulded, kiln-fired nativity figures), first created by Marseillais artisan…

3. Jardin du Pharo

0.25 MILES

Perched high above the southern side of the Vieux Port are the six immaculately grassed hectares of the Jardin du Pharo, the grounds of the Palais du…

4. Fort St-Jean

0.29 MILES

Intended as much to control the citizens of Marseille as guard them from external threat, Fort St-Jean was built by Louis XIV in 1660 on the site of a…

5. Plage des Catalans

0.37 MILES

The small, bustling, beach-volleyball-busy Plage des Catalans is the closest stretch of sand to the Vieux Port.

7. Villa Méditerranée


This eye-catching white structure next to MuCEM is no ordinary ‘villa’. Designed by architect Stefano Boeri in 2013, the sleek white edifice sports a…

8. Vieux Port


Ships have docked for millennia at Marseille’s birthplace, the vibrant Vieux Port. The main commercial docks were transferred to the Joliette area in the…