Marseille basilica and the famous garde
This Romanesque-Byzantine basilica is Marseille's symbol! On this high, high hill, there was a former chapel dedicated to a monk from St-Victor abbey, Pierre, in 1214.
Then they raised a tower called in an 1383 charter turris Maria de Gardia (Tour de la Garde, "Guard tower"): this tower kept an eye on the horizon, at the top of the city...
The chapel was extended in 1478. Then king of France François I, when he came to Marseille, fortified the city: he raised the famous castle of If and the fort de la Garde; so, the chapel was enclosed by the fortress.
After several alterations, the current basilica was built in 1853, dedicated in 1864...
Architect Henri Espérandieu put up this extraordinary church with its 45 metres high bell-tower, flanked by a huge golden Virgin Mary.
Inside the basilica, a nave flanked by three chapels built in red, green and white marbles.