Musée d’Histoire de Marseille


This intriguing 15,000-sq-metre museum traces the story of 'France's Oldest City' from prehistory (the paintings of the Cosquer Cave) to the present day, across 12 chronological exhibitions. The complex was built beside the remains of a Greek harbour uncovered during construction of the Bourse shopping centre. Highlights include the remains of a 3rd-century merchant vessel discovered in the Vieux Port in 1974: to preserve the soaked and decaying wood, it was freeze-dried where it now sits, behind glass.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Marseille attractions

1. Le Panier

0.27 MILES

'The Basket' is Marseille's oldest quarter – site of the original Greek settlement and nicknamed for its steep streets and buildings. Its close, village…

2. Galerie Trajectoire

0.35 MILES

This teeny tiny art gallery, located along a narrow sloping road in the historic neighbourhood of Le Panier, offers a platform to emerging artists and a…

3. Fotokino

0.39 MILES

Its subdued façade makes the Fotokino visual art gallery easy to miss, but inside it offers a dazzling world of graphic eye-candy. Expect illustrations,…

4. 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…

6. La Vieille Charité

0.41 MILES

In the heart of Marseille's Le Panier quarter is this grand and gorgeous almshouse, built by Pierre Puget (1620–94), an architect and sculptor born just a…

8. Musée Cantini

0.42 MILES

Donated to the city by the sculptor Jules Cantini on his death in 1916, this 17th-century mansion-turned-museum conceals some superb art behind its…