Notre-Dame-de-la-Garde basilica was originally a lookout post. The statue of the Virgin Mary at its top, locally nicknamed "La Bonne Mère" (The Good Mother) is said to watch over the city. And whether you believe the legend or not, everyone is brought to their knees by the view!
You simply can't miss this landmark as you approach Marseille: Notre-Dame-de-la-Garde IS Marseille! This basilica, was built by Espérandieu in the same style as Montmartre. People climb the steep streets up to it to admire the view or light a candle. It was originally a wooden fire lookout for ships, subsequently fortified by François I. The basilica is crowned with a gold leaf Virgin Mary ("La Bonne Mère"), said to watch over sailors and pilgrims. Head inside to admire the naive ex votos of travellers saved from the waves and recently-restored mosaics. Now take a tour on the esplanade to lap up the views over one of the world's most beautiful bays and France's oldest city, founded by the Greeks 2,600 years ago... Total respect.