Musée des Civilisations de l’Europe et de la Méditerranée

Top choice in Marseille

The icon of modern Marseille, this stunning museum explores the history, culture and civilisation of the Mediterranean region through anthropological exhibits, rotating art exhibitions and film. The collection sits in a bold, contemporary building designed by Algerian-born, Marseille-educated architect Rudy Ricciotti, and Roland Carta. It is linked by a vertigo-inducing footbridge to the 13th-century Fort St-Jean, from which there are stupendous views of the Vieux Port and the surrounding sea. The fort grounds and gardens are free to explore.

The main focus of the museum is a semi-permanent exhibition ranging across the history, genealogy and culture of the Mediterranean, taking in everything from archaeological artefacts to oil paintings. It’s supplemented by temporary exhibitions on subjects as niche as Marseille's love affair with football.

The history of the fort itself is explained in the Salle du Corps de Garde (guardhouse room). For a unique perspective, walk the path that twists its way between the glass wall of the J4 building and its outer lace shell, designed in high-tech black concrete to echo the fishing nets that have been cast around Marseille from its very inception.