Marseille Cathedral is a Roman Catholic cathedral and basilica minor located in the Old-Port of Marseilles and a national monument of France. Far from being just a run-of-the-mill church, it is the seat of the Archdiocese of Marseille and the hobbyhorse of Prince Louis Napoleon Bonaparte, who laid the first stone of the new building in 1852. The foundations, commonly referred to as the Old Major, date back to the 12th century and correspond to a sober Romanesque style. Only the choir and one bay of the nave persist today, as a new, more opulent cathedral was built next to the remains in 1852. The new Marseilles Cathedral was built on a gigantic scale in the Byzantine-Roman style from 1852 to 1896.
Despite its isolated location on the far end of Panier district and along the busy commercial port, this cathedral should not be missed as it is still today the only one of its kind in all of France, and doesn’t fail to impress with its sheer size and extravagant architecture. Its iconic green and black stones form an instantly recognizable stripe pattern, flanked by two bell towers and a dramatic entrance.
Marseille Cathedral (Cathédrale La Major) is located on Place de la Major, between the Old-Port of Marseilles and historic Panier district. It can be reached on foot from Quai du Port and from Quai de la Tourette, and also by car with a public parking on the corner of Quai de la Tourette and Marchetti. The closest tram stations are République Dame and Sadi Carnot and the closest metro station is Colbert; they are located 10 minutes east of the fort. The cathedral is open to visitors from 10am to 7pm in summer and from 10am to 6pm in winter. It is closed on Mondays.