She who governs the roads of the sea,
Who shines above the waves and the sun,
The giantess standing behind the blue hours,
high gold inhabitant of a long white country,
Christian Pallas of the Gauls. –Valery Larbaud
I hastened to go up to Notre-Dame de la Garde, to admire the sea bordered with the ruins the laughing coasts of all the famous countries of Antiquity. –Chateaubriand
Stand any where in Marseille and you will probably see the Basilique Notre-Dame de la Garde. There is no escaping its presence high on the hill. In this respect, it is much like the Eiffel Tower in Paris.
As a popular tourist destination, it offers a spectacular 360 degrees panoramic view of Marseille and the Mediterranean Sea.
One can choose many ways to go up the hill: public transportation, ie the city bus; the small tourist train; the tourist bus; and walk. I take the #60 city bus from the Vieux Port. To descend I enjoy walking down, choosing a different direction in order to see an unexplored part of the city.
It takes a little planning, but one can climb to the basilica via some neighborhood streets and via a path that approaches from the side that faces the Vieux Port. A decent digital map, such as Google maps or ViaMichelin, can help navigate some of the alleys and side streets. (Click on any photo to see it larger and in more detail. Cliquez sur une vignette pour l’agrandir.) But wait, there’s more!