Fountain in front of a palace, Longchamp Palace, Marseille, France

Getty Images/Panoramic Images

Musée des Beaux Arts


Set in the lavish, colonnaded Palais de Longchamp, Marseille’s oldest museum owes its existence to an 1801 decree of pre-Napoleonic France's short-lived Consulate, which established 15 museums across the country. A treasure trove of 16th- to 19th- century Italian and Provençal painting and sculpture, it's set in parkland popular with local families seeking shade in Marseille's treeless centre. The spectacular fountains, constructed in the 1860s, in part disguise the water tower at which the Roquefavour Aqueduct terminates.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Marseille attractions

1. Fotokino

0.68 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,…

2. Cours Julien

0.94 MILES

Marseille's most vibrant bohemian quarter centres on Cours Julien, an elongated concrete square shaded by palm trees. It’s lined with great bars, cafes…

3. Musée d’Histoire de Marseille

1.06 MILES

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,…

4. Musée Cantini

1.18 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…

5. Le Panier


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

6. Galerie Trajectoire

1.36 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…

8. Fonds Régional d’Art Contemporain

1.37 MILES

The FRAC for Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur moved to this modern centre in La Joliette, with its striking plate-mail façade, in 2013. It hosts temporary…