Marseille, cultural city break – outside the city

Culture - Cruise

This cultural tour around the streets of Marseille will give you the opportunity to admire the city's rich modern and contemporary art collections and steer you towards the roads less travelled. Begin with the Cantini Museum moments from the city's main shopping streets. Then follow the Corniche roadway to Borély's decorative arts museum. After stopping for lunch, leave the museum grounds in the direction of the MAC to see some 800 contemporary artworks. Next, make your way to the 'Maison du Fada', a local name for the 'Radiant City' imagined by the architect Le Corbusier and visit the MAMO on its roof. Finish at the Palais Longchamp.

Day 2 – Modern masterpieces at the Cantini art Museum

Musée Cantini 19 rue Grignan 13006 Marseille

Kick start day two at the Cantini Museum which boasts extraordinarily rich art collections, including Cubist and Surrealist works, spanning the years 1900 to 1960. Set in a 17th century mansion once owned by the celebrated sculptor Jules Cantini, this museum will bring you face to face with works by Matisse, Picasso, Bacon and Giacometti. The fine artworks celebrating Mediterranean landscapes are a real treat.

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Day 2 – The sumptuous Borély Museum for decorative arts and fashion

Le Château Borély, musée des Arts Décoratifs et de la Mode Château Borély 134 avenue Clot-Bey 13008 Marseille

Hop onto the 83 bus and enjoy the sea views from the Corniche coastal road on your way to Parc Borély. The Borély Museum is housed in a stunning château dedicated to celebrating decorative arts (ceramics, furniture, objets d'art) and fashion. The house is worth a visit alone for its original paintings by Louis Chaix. The building has been fully restored and the museum design has a fresh contemporary feel.

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Day 2 – Lunch by the lawn at Café Borély

Café Borély Château Borély 134 avenue Clot-Bey 13008 Marseille

There's more to see and do outside the museum such as having lunch at Café Borély which enjoys views over the French formal garden. You can eat healthy and local here thanks to the organic market ingredients. The food is good and the service fast, so the menu is limited: just three choices for a main, including one veggie option. It's a great Sunday brunch spot too.

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Day 2 – The MAC for contemporary art

Musée d'Art Contemporain (MAC) 69 avenue D'Haïfa 13008 Marseille

Leave the garden via the rear exit and make your way to the MAC, just a 15 minute walk away. With some 800 artworks, the Musée d’Art Contemporain is a fascinating journey through the history of art during the second half of the 20th century. Sculptures by César, Julien Blaine and Fabrice Gygi bring the art outside of the museum walls. Guided tours for families every Wednesday at 2 pm.

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Day 2 – The Cité Radieuse and the MAMO on the roof

Unité d'Habitation Le Corbusier 280 boulevard Michelet 13008 Marseille

After leaving there, catch the 23 or 45 bus which will drop you behind the 'Maison du Fada' or 'Nutter's House', as the Cité Radieuse designed by Le Corbusier is affectionately known. Measuring 56 metres tall and 165 metres long, it looks like a ship that's been dropped into the middle of the city. This revolutionary architectural development is full of surprises. Inside you'll find an interior street with shops, a nursery school and a gym. On the roof there's a pool and an arts centre, the MAMO, a springboard for contemporary art founded by Ora Ito.

Day 2 – Grandeur and prestige at the Palais Longchamp

Palais Longchamp Bd de Montricher Place Henri Dunant 13233 Marseille

Conclude your whistle-stop tour of Marseille by taking the metro to the Palais Longchamp, an extravagant monument built to commemorate the arrival of water from the Durance to Marseille. This majestic palace, designed by Henry Espérandieu (who also imagined Notre-Dame de la Garde) was inaugurated in 1869 and today houses the fine arts and natural history museums. Outside, take a few moments before leaving to see the fountain in the middle of the colonnade with its huge statues of Camargue bulls.

Can't-miss experiences

  • Cooling off in the calanques between museums

We love

  • Visiting an extraordinary architectural gem, the Cité Radieuse, a housing development and work of art
  • Alternating between contemporary and modern, architecture and art, old stone buildings and concrete during a tour devoted to culture

The best time to visit

  • End of July to get your swing on at the Jazz des 5 Continents Festival at Parc du Palais Longchamp
  • In October for the world music festival Fiesta des Suds
  • Theme

    Culture, Cruise

  • Duration

    1 day

  • Visited cities

    Marseille

  • Ideal for

    All year round

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