Basilique Notre-Dame de la Garde Overview

Perched atop Marseille's highest point is the Basilica of Notre Dame de la Garde. Affectionately known as "La Bonne Mère," it is a symbol of the region's faith and history. This stunning Neo-Byzantine masterpiece was completed in 1864. The basilica is decorated with lavish mosaics and dominates the cityscape. It offers unparalleled panoramic views over the Mediterranean. The basilica is a symbol of protection and a must-visit for its spiritual ambience and architectural grandeur.

The Basilica of Notre Dame de la Garde is a symbol of hope and protection for the city of Marseille. Known affectionately as "La Bonne Mère" or "the Good Mother," it is a stunning example of Neo-Byzantine architecture. The basilica is both a place of worship and a symbol of Marseille's history and cultural identity. It is located on the highest point of the city. From here, you can enjoy breathtaking 360-degree views of the city with France tour packages.

The basilica dates back to 1853 when the first stone was laid on an ancient fort's foundation. It also showcases a blend of religious significance and military history. The site itself has been a strategic lookout and place of worship since the 12th century. Over time, it has evolved to accommodate the growing number of pilgrims. Today, the basilica is famous for its elaborate mosaics and lavish interiors. It is also known for the towering golden statue of the Madonna and Child. This statue is believed to watch over Marseille's residents and visitors. Notre-Dame de la Garde is a site of spiritual and cultural magnificence in the heart of Marseille. It attracts visitors whether they are drawn by faith, history, or panoramic views.


• Marvel at the towering golden statue of the Virgin Mary, watching over Marseille.
• Explore the Neo-Byzantine marvel, blending Roman and Oriental architectural styles with ease.
• Discover a treasure trove of ex-votos left by grateful visitors over centuries.
• Enjoy panoramic views of Marseille and the Mediterranean Sea from the highest point.
• Head into the basilica's crypt, where history and spirituality merge beneath the surface.

How To Reach

By Car: Basilique Notre Dame de la Garde is located 1.9 kilometres from the Marseille city centre. From here, you can reach the basilica in less than 10 minutes. You can drive via the Rue Fort du Sanctuaire to get to the basilica easily.

By Bus: Take the RTM bus number 60, and get off at the foot of the basilica. The Notre Dame de la Garde bus stop is the nearest bus stop, located less than 50 metres away. From here, it will take under a minute to get to the basilica. 

By The Little Train: If you want to reach the basilica via a picturesque route, the Little Train is a great option. It departs from the Old Port and takes you straight to the basilica. This 3-kilometre journey usually takes around 20 to 30 minutes.

Best Time To Visit

Basilique Notre-Dame de la Garde is a great place to visit all year round. Each season in the city offers a unique perspective of the basilica.

Best Season: Opt for a visit in spring (April to June) or autumn (September to November). This is when the weather is comfortable and there are fewer tourists. These periods also offer the best exploration experience, along with great views of Marseille.

Best Day: To find a quiet moment, aim for weekdays. Weekends tend to attract larger crowds, including worshippers. This makes weekdays the perfect time for a more serene visit.

Best Time of Day: Early morning, right after the basilica opens at 07:00 a.m., is the ideal time to visit. This ensures you beat the crowds and experience the basilica in a peaceful setting. You can also enjoy spectacular sunrise views over the sea during these hours.

Other Essential Information

  • Since the basilica is also a place of worship, consider dressing modestly.
  • To respect the sacred nature of the basilica, men must keep their heads uncovered during their visit. 
  • Plan your visit properly since the basilica closes for visitors during Mass.
  • Book ahead if you wish to dine at the cafeteria, especially on weekends.
  • Remember to move your car from the parking area before closing hours (06:15 p.m.).
  • Expect large crowds on August 15 due to Assumption Day pilgrimages.
  • Don't miss out on the stunning panoramic views of Marseille from the top.
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Day Wise Timings
Open Today
Normal Timings:
07:00 AM to 06:00 PM
Normal Timings:
07:00 AM to 06:00 PM
Normal Timings:
07:00 AM to 06:00 PM
Normal Timings:
07:00 AM to 06:00 PM
Normal Timings:
07:00 AM to 06:00 PM
Normal Timings:
07:00 AM to 06:00 PM
Normal Timings:
07:00 AM to 06:00 PM

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