Marseille Cathedral

Marseille, France

Marseille Cathedral has been a basilica minor since 1896. It is the seat of the Archdiocese of Marseille.

Part of the earlier, much smaller cathedral still remains, alongside the new cathedral. It was built in the 12th century in a simple Romanesque style. The eclectic style is characteristic of the 19th century. Two bays of the nave were demolished in the 1850s, when the new cathedral was built. What remains is the choir and one bay of the nave. It is commonly referred to as the Vieille Major. The composer Charles Desmazures was organist at the old cathedral.

The present cathedral, the Nouvelle Major, was built on an enormous scale in the Byzantine and Roman Revival styles. The foundation stone was laid by Emperor Napoleon III in 1852 and the first service was held in 1893. It was completed in 1896, given the title of minor basilica, and consecrated in 1897. It was built on the site used for the cathedrals of Marseille since the fifth century, principally by the architects Léon Vaudoyer and Henri-Jacques Espérandieu. It is 142 meters long, and the main cupola is 70 meters high. With a capacity of 3,000 seats, it is one of the largest cathedrals in France. It is a listed monument since 1906.



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Founded: 1852-1896
Category: Religious sites in France

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4.6/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Lidule (2 years ago)
Impressive building - Roman Catholic cathedrale, completed in 1896. Beautiful, calm interior that you can enter and enjoy for free. Just pity, that besides one sign you cannot find any information in English for foreign tourists there.
Qihua M (2 years ago)
This is the main Catholic Cathedral for Marseille, and it is very unique Romano-Byzentine style in Europe! The floor was full of mosaic, and columns were made of different stones in multi-color formation. It was originally built to protect the sea faring people and to welcome visiting ships and seamen. The facade in the evening was most beautiful and warmest as it was facing the setting sun ? You have the best spot to watch the sunset over Mediterranean Sea! Cheers!
Caroline Findlay (2 years ago)
A Byzantine style cathedral built between 1852 and 1893. Visually stunning both inside & out, Cathédrale La Major is situated on an esplanade by the New Port. The mosaic floor is especially stunning; it was all laid by hand and took nine months of painstaking work.
Ralph N (2 years ago)
Especially now that it’s renovated, the Cathedrale La Major is a gorgeous Byzantine church that is dazzling. We enjoyed the sunset here, as you can see in the photos. It’s gorgeous on the outside and has opulent interiors as well. It’s a big treat to see and you shouldn’t miss it.
Daniël (2 years ago)
Gorgeous cathedral, especially on the outside, now that most renovations are done. Also worth a stroll inside, with a few interesting scenes, and some focus and memorabilia around Johnny Halliday. Some of the glass stained windows and the mosaics are really quite spectacular!
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