MARSEILLE – new horizons

Harbour area transformed: museums, cultural buildings and waterfront shopping mall with a panoramic boulevard

ARCHITECTURE – MuCEM, St Jean Fortress

MuCEM

On the J4 quayside, MuCEM (Museum for Mediterranean Cultures) is more than a museum. It’s a rendezvous point and a viewing platform to witness Marseille’s major transformations. The museum itself offers a varied program of exhibitions, events and conferences, as well as a top floor restaurant and terrace. 

Designed by Provence-based architect Rudy Ricciotti , the museum also provides a link between the quayside and the historic Saint Jean fortress. A ramp circulates behind the open ornamental façade, leading to the roof terrace where a narrow footbridge extends to the landscaped fortress – now open to the public for the first time as a beautifully redesigned ethnographic museum.  The building is then linked back to the Panier district by another long footbridge crossing the coastal boulevard. This spectacular location provides varied views over Marseille. 

1, esplanade du J4

Marseille 13002

www.mucem.org

MuCEM CCR Department

MuCEM CCR, by Corinne Vezzoni, Marseille
Designed by Marseille-based Corinne Vezzoni, this building is close to La Friche and is noteworthy for its beautiful use of concrete.

An exhibition space is open for the public.

1 Clovis Hugues

13003 Marseille

http://www.mucem.org/en/collections/location-ccr

MuCEM, Marseille

Views from MuCEM top floor terrace towards Notre Dame de la Garde
St Jean Fortress, Marseille
From the walkway above, inner courtyard at St Jean Fortress, restored with great attention to details and materials

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Brutalist concrete by Le Corbusier

carved out in Mediterranean sun – iconic views of

l’Unité d’Habitation by Lucien Hervé 

ARCHITECTURE – cultural buildings 16th -19th cen.

Palais Longchamp

Inaugurated in 1869, this grand building by Henry Espérandieu (also architect of the two cathedrals: neo-Byzantine Marseille Cathedral and Notre Dame de la Garde) houses the Fine Art Museum and Marseille’s Natural History Museum. The elaborate scheme of waterfalls and statues celebrated a new water canal for the citizens of the Second Empire. The city’s oldest museum holds an excellent fine art collection. 

Palais Longchamp

13004 Marseille

Musée des Beaux Arts

La Vieille Charité

Designed by the great Baroque period artist Pierre Puget (born in Marseille, 1620) as a home for the homeless, the building is now a cultural centre with two museums, temporary exhibitions, cinema, library and educational departments. It is made of locally quarried stone with a large closed courtyard. Le Corbusier rediscovered its formal beauty and harmonious proportions in the 1940s.

2, rue de la Charité

13002 Marseille

www.vieille-charite-marseille.org

Chateau Borély

Built as a prestigious home for the Borély family, this 18th century mansion now houses the Museum of Decorative Arts, Earthenware and Fashion. It has been recently restored with great attention to original features, such as the trompe l’oeuil murals. Surrounded by a large formal garden, the museum is a calm place to visit outside the city centre. The collection is carefully curated, mixing well different eras and styles.

132 Avenue Clot Bey

13008 Marseille

Chateau Borély – Decorative Arts Museum

ARCHITECTURE – cultural buildings, 20th cen – contemporary

MAMO

A bastion of modernist architecture, the rooftop of Le Corbusier’s Unité d’Habitation housing block is a perfect location for contemporary art space MAMO (short for ‘Marseille Modular’). French designer Ora-Ïto, who transformed the old gymnasium into a gallery, has raised Marseille’s cultural profile: Le Corbusier’s great legacy will be a subject for artists to explore here. Art, architecture and views from the MAMO roof terrace encompass both the Mediterranean on one side and the mountains on the other – not to be missed.

280 Boulevard Michelet

13008 Marseille

www.mamo.fr

FRAC

Covered in glass panels, this contemporary arts centre  designed by Kengo Kuma opened in 2013. It’s dedicated to art from 1960s to the present. In the Joliette district a short walk from the Vieux Port and the quayside cultural buildings, this building is the latest addition to the city’s vibrant cultural scene with also a restaurant and two large terraces.

20, Blvd de Dunkerque

13002 Marseille

FRAC Provence Alpes Cote d’Azur

La Friche

In the Belle de Mai district empty industrial spaces have been converted into a large and thriving complex of artists studios, exhibition spaces and a popular brasserie. Called La Friche (the wasteland), this development has totally changed the urban dynamic behind the St Charles main railway station. Now a leading artistic centre, it’s a walking distance from Palais Longchamp and the program can be found online. There is also a spectacular rooftop terrace for events and good views over the city.

41 rue Jobin

13003 Marseille

www.lafriche.org

HOTELS – special sites

Hotel Marseille Richelieu

This charming independent 2-star hotel is nestled above the cliffs by the Catalan Beach, at the start  of the Corniche promenade. Most of the 15 rooms have been redecorated in cool contemporary surfer style – there is a slightly bohemian vibe about the place. Don’t be put off by the plain style of the lobby.

52 Corniche Kennedy

13007 Marseille

www.hotel-marseille-richelieu.com

Casa Honoré

Exquisite details in this small maison d’hôte, which reflects the unique vision of its owner designer Annick Lestrohan, who also runs a family interiors business next door. Above a private courtyard four guest rooms are peaceful and quiet, although the Vieux Port shopping and the Corniche beaches are nearby.

123 Rue Sainte

13007 Marseille

www.casahonore.com

Mama Shelter

In a residential area, just 10 minutes stroll from the Vieux Port, Mama Shelter is the grooviest of Marseille hotels. Designed by Philippe Starck it’s contemporary, fun and comfortable.The restaurant and the patio bar are very popular amongst both hotel guests and locals. In the surrounding area there are good restaurants outside the tourist trail to discover.

64, rue de la Loubière

13006 Marseille

www.mamashelter.com/marseille

Hotel Le Corbusier

Experience sleeping in the great brutalist monument designed by Le Corbusier. Located in the l’Unité d’Habitation building, the hotel occupies the middle floor of this modernist icon of architecture. It’s a 15 minute taxi ride from the centre, but is definitely worth the journey. The building itself is like a giant piece of sculpture. With the hotel restaurant and MAMO gallery on the roof terrace, a must-see Marseille destination.

280, boulevard Michelet

13008 Marseille

www.hotellecorbusier.com

CAFÉS, RESTAURANTS – waterfront

La Caravelle

With a small balcony overlooking the port and the yachts, La Caravelle is a classic for breakfast, light lunches, aperitifs and tapas. It’s a charming meeting place for both tourists and locals, with authentic brasserie decor and ambience.

34 quai du Port

13002 Marseille

www.lacaravelle-marseille.com

 

Chez Jeannot

This family run pizzeria is a favourite in the Vallon des Auffes enclave, an urban fishing village with tower block rising behind. Chez Jeannot serves both pizza and a good selection of seafood, with a large outdoor terrace, always busy.

129 Rue du Vallon des Auffes

13007 Marseille

www.pizzeriachezjeannot.net

Le Rowing Club, Marseille

Le Rowing Club

Le Rowing club is right above the water in a modernist style concrete building, with a panoramic view from the terrace and a rooftop bar. Style is contemporary casual, with good value brunch, lunch and dinner menus. From the main road take route descending towards the boat club.

34, blvd Charles Livon

13007 Marseille

www.rowing-clubrestaurant.com 

 

Le Mole Passedat MuCEM

Overlooking the sea on the new quayside, Le Mole Passedat on the top floor of MuCEM is the latest culinary concept by Marseille’s celebrated chef Gerard Passedat. Dishes are made of local ingredients in contemporary Mediterranean style. The buffet lunch at La Cuisine, also by Passedat, is fantastic value.

1, esplanade du J4

13002 Marseille

www.passedat.fr/#!le-mole/

ARCHITECTURE – l’Unité d’Habitation, photographed by Lucien Hervé

– ©Lucien Herve/Le Corbusier /Artedia

Le Corbusier – Marseille – 1952 – ©Lucien Herve/Le Corbusier /Artedia
Rooftop terrace, l’Unité d’Habitation ©LucienHervé