At only 3 hours by train from Paris, the Mediterranean city of Marseille will surprise you with its unique range of artistic and cultural spots! This is the result of the decades-long effort the administration has made to revitalize the city, and that led Marseille to be designated by the E.U. as the European Capital of Culture for 2013!
This international event called Marseille-Provence 2013 has brought a brand new cultural infrastructure to the city that complete the historical assets of the place – indeed Marseille has always been a suitable location for creativity and art! Here is our selection of the most exciting spots in this dazzling cosmopolitan city.
The MuCEM – Museum of European and Mediterranean Civilisations (in French: “Musée des Civilisations de l’Europe et de la Méditerranée”) – is a national museum inaugurated on 7th June 2013 as part of Marseille-Provence 2013.
The museum is devoted to European and Mediterranean civilizations. With temporary exhibitions and a permanent collection charting historical and cultural cross-fertilization in the Mediterranean basin, it takes an interdisciplinary approach to society through the ages up to modern times.
The museum is built “of stone, water and wind” by the architect Rudy Ricciotti on reclaimed land at the entrance to the harbor, next to the site of the 17th-century Fort Saint-Jean. A channel separates the new building and the Fort Saint-Jean, which has been restructured as part of the project. The two sites are linked by a high footbridge, 130m long.
A terrace at the top of the building houses a restaurant and offers breathtaking, panoramic views of the city and the Mediterranean… Doubtless a must see!
To visit the MuCEM: opening hours and prices here.
La Cité Radieuse / The MaMo
La Cité Radieuse (litterally the Radiant City) was built by the world renown French architect Le Corbusier between 1947 and 1952, and is one of his most famous works. This is the first building that embodies his concept of Housing Unit (“Unité d’Habitation”).
The building is pending designation as a World Heritage site by UNESCO. It is also designated as a historic monument by the French Ministry of Culture.
Since 2013, the roof of the building houses the MaMo (Marseille Modulor), the museum of modern art created by the famous French designer Ora-ïto. Till 31st October 2014, this museum hosts the exhibition “Défini, Fini, Infini” by Daniel Buren, the French conceptual artist who is well known for his installation called the “Colonnes de Buren” in Paris. Another good reason to go and visit La Cité Radieuse!
And for a fresh perspective on art we suggest to check out Artsy’s Le Corbusier page at www.artsy.net where you can get all the information you need and more!
- To visit La Cité Radieuse: we recommend the guided tour (2 hours) organized by the Tourism Office of Marseille (the tour can be in English). Subscriptions here.
- To visit the MaMo – “Défini, Fini, Infini” exhibition: opening hours and prices here.
Street Art at Cours Julien
Cours Julien is a very popular neighborhood in the center of Marseille, well known for its cosmopolitan atmosphere, its various range of bars and restaurants, its creative shops and art galleries, and its walls plenty of collages and paintings!
Both local street artists and internationally renown ones (Jef Aerosol, Sobre, C215, Kashink…) have enlighten the little streets of Cours Julien with their art, offering the visitors an explosion of styles, colors and techniques!
And the local association Le MUR organizes every month a live painting during which an artist realizes an ephemeral work on one of the walls of the neighborhood.
- To see Street Art at Cours Julien, go to the following streets: rue Bussy l’Indien, rue Pastoret, rue Crudère, rue Vian, rue des Trois Rois, rue André Poggioli.
- To go on a virtual night tour at Cours Julien: Les Promenades Sonores / Night Walk in Marseille.
La Friche Belle de Mai
La Friche Belle de Mai or La Friche (literally “The Wasteland”) is a former tobacco factory in the neighborhood of Belle de Mai in Marseille. It was converted into a cultural complex in 1992 and now hosts dozens of international artists in residence, and contains over sixty artistic and cultural structures of all disciplines (theater, dance, music, contemporary art, radio). It is also a place of spectacle and broadcasting: it contains 2 concert rooms and the studios of a famous French sitcom. La Friche includes a restaurant and a bar as well.
In 2013 was built for Marseille-Provence 2013 the Panorama Tower, a 4.000 sqm exhibition space dedicated to contemporary art. In the same time, a large public terrace (8.000 sqm) has been created on the roof of the building. This rooftop regularly hosts cultural events and DJ sets, and has become one of the most exciting spots in Marseille!
To visit La Friche: agenda and opening hours here.