Centre de la Vieille Charite
Made up of four arcaded buildings that surround a baroque church with an unusual egg-shaped dome, the Centre de la Vieille Charité was originally used as workhouses for the poor. The buildings were designed in the late 17th century by the architect Pierre Puget. In the early 20th century the buildings were used as a barracks for the French Foreign Legion before falling into disrepair. A restoration project in the 1980s recreated the buildings’ former impressive stature.
The center is home to the Museum of Mediterranean archaeology; the Museum of African, Oceanic and American Indian Art; and the Marseille International Poetry Centre plus university research institutions and archives. A visit to the centre is a must for architecture fans, and you can learn more about the city’s history and architecture on a guided small-group tour.
Things to Know Before You Go
- The Centre de la Vieille Charite is wheelchair accessible.
- There’s a cafe serving refreshments on site.
- The collection of masks in the Museum of African, Oceanic and American Indian Art is particularly interesting.
How to Get There
The Centre de la Vieille Charité is located in the centre of Marseille in the Panier district. It’s a short walk from the Old Port, and the closest metro station is Joliette, approximately 10 minutes away on foot. Marseille has an international airport with connections worldwide and a major train station with connections to Paris and beyond.
When to Get There
The center is open every day of the week except Mondays and some public holidays. The shaded arcades around the courtyard are a great place to escape the heat on hot afternoons.
Visit the Noailles District
Close to La Canebiere, Marseille’s main shopping street, yet worlds away, the Noailles district with its colorful market and street art offers a taste of the city’s multicultural heritage. You can opt to join a guided tour to learn about the area as you explore.
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- Museum of Mediterranean Archaeology (Musée d’Archéologie Méditerranéenne)
- Museum of African, Oceanic and American-Indian Art (MAAOA)
- Marseille Cathedral (Cathédrale La Major)
- Roman Docks Museum (Musée des Docks Romains)
- Old Port of Marseille (Vieux Port)
- Marseille Cruise Port (Terminal Croisières Marseille)
- Marseille History Museum (Musee d'Histoire)
- Museum of European and Mediterranean Civilizations (Le Mucem)
- Fort Saint-Jean
- Chateau d'If
- Maritime and Commercial Museum of Marseille (Musée de la Marine et de l'Economie de Marseille)
- Place aux Huiles
- La Canebiere
- Palais du Pharo
- Abbey of St. Victor (Abbaye Saint-Victor)