Dear old stones
Do you love old stone buildings and Provence? For this heritage tour, start your day at Marseille's Roman docks before heading to the modern and interactive Marseille history museum. Today's lunch recommendation is Une Table au Sud in the Old Port. It's very close to the city's archaeological museum, a fantastic way to get to grips with Marseille from today and back to the past. The following day, a morning at the Arles Antique museum will fly by until your lunch at Mas de la Fenière in the shade of mulberry trees. In Saint-Rémy, the ancient town of Glanum will bring your two-day tour to a wonderful conclusion.
Day 1 – Discover Marseille's Roman docks
Musée des Docks Romains Place Vivaux 13002 Marseille
Begin your tour of ancient Marseille by journeying back in time to the Roman Docks Museum on Place Vivaux. It shows ruins of a Roman warehouse, a rare find and testament to the city's vocation as a transit port in antiquity that was sustained for over 1,000 years. The fruits of the archaeological digs from the area include thirty earthenware jars from the time and other ancient relics.
Day 1 – Marseille History Museum
Musée d'Histoire de Marseille / Voie historique Centre Bourse 2 rue Henri Barbusse 13001 Marseille
Kick off your morning with a chronological tour of the city at the cutting-edge Marseille History Museum. Not far from the Old Port, it occupies 15,500 square metres making it one of France's biggest history museums. Exhibits include maps of the city through the ages and moving around the objects presented in their context, from paintings to ships. The guided tour is recommended, especially to explore the Historic Way, the oldest road in France connecting the museum to Fort Saint-Jean, thanks to augmented reality technology.
A real taste of Marseille at Une Table au Sud
Une Table au Sud 2 quai Du Port 13002 Marseille
For lunch, put yourself in the safe hands of Michelin-starred chef Ludovic Turac and his wife Karine, a trained sommelier. Une Table au Sud (1 Michelin star and 'Tables 13' endorsed) serves refined Provençal and Marseillais dishes revisited with a modern touch. A fantastic view of the Old Port from the upstairs dining room.
Day 1 – Explore the city's roots at the archaeology museum
Musée d'Archéologie Méditerranéenne Centre de la Vieille Charité 2 rue De la Charité 13002 Marseille
This tour of Marseille will immerse you in the city's history, starting with a visit to the archaeology museum to see where it all began. Set in the former Charité hospital for the poor, the museum features an excellent Egypt collection and exhibits on Mediterranean and Middle Eastern civilisations. There is plenty to keep pottery enthusiasts occupied too, including an exquisite Cretan oenoochoe (ancient wine jug) with Mediterranean decoration.
Day 2 – Ancient Arles, Arles Antique departmental Museum
Musée départemental Arles antique Presqu'Ile du Cirque Romain Avenue 13200 Arles
This second day takes you to the city of Arles and its departmental museum, Arles Antique, housed in a sleek, modern building designed by Henri Cirian. The museum is a must-see for anyone wanting to learn how the city has changed through the centuries, from antiquity (plenty of everyday objects on show) to the present day. In 2013 the museum added a marvellous 31-metre-long Roman barge, once used as a commercial vessel, to its collection. If you have time, try and fit in a stroll around the Hortus garden inspired by a Roman amphitheatre.
Day 2 – Glanum in Saint-Rémy, an ancient town accessible to all
Glanum Avenue Vincent Van Gogh 13210 Saint Rémy de Provence
Why not spend the afternoon looking around Glanum? This ancient town built out of limestone was abandoned around 270 A.D. In the heart of the Alpilles mountains, this is a fascinating visit to a Gaulish city settled around a spring on an ancient Greek site. To see: mosaics, baths, a house with an atrium and stunning views over the surrounding countryside, simply magical!
- Seeing an authentic Roman boat from ancient times in such excellent condition
- Journeying back in time hundreds of centuries thanks to the powers of augmented reality
- Discovering exceptional archaeological collections
- Resitting your history classes and liking it!
The best time to visit
- In April for the bodega atmosphere of the Feria de Pâques or
- Around 1 May to attend the votive celebrations during the Fête des Gardians in Arles
- In October to experience the Fiesta des Suds, Marseille's world music festival
By public transport, Personal vehicle
Marseille, Arles, Saint Rémy de Provence
All year round
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Culture in the heart of Aix-en-Provence
Your day of Aixois culture kicks off with a flourish at Cézanne's studio before you head off to see some of Aix's most iconic sites such as the Pavillon Vendôme and the tapestry museum. When you need a breather, enjoy a stroll around Place d'Albertas and its fountain and the area around Aix Cathedral. When you're feeling hungry, we have an excellent and inexpensive recommendation for you.
Aix's museums and art centres
No cultural tour of Aix-en-Provence would be complete without a visit to the Granet Museum in the Mazarin district. A little further along, step through the doors of the Hôtel de Gallifet to spot fresh talents on the contemporary art scene. In between art museums, enjoy a feast for the eyes and the palate at Mickaël Féval, a real treat for the senses! Your lunch break over, mix the old and the new by visiting the Caumont Arts Centre followed by the Fondation Vasarely.
Between sea and lakes, a leisurely tour of the Côte Bleue
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