France Travel Planner by Tom Brosnahan & Jane Fisher   Historic Forts of Marseille, France
A port must be protected, so the Fort Saint-Nicolas and the Fort St-Jean were built.




The entrance to the Vieux Port boasts not one but two historic forts.

Built in the 17th century, the Fort Saint-Nicolas served not only to guard the port, but also to ensure that there were no uprisings against the king. Many of the guns pointed toward the town, rather than out to sea.

Restored in the 19th century, the Fort Saint-Nicolas is a fun place to walk, with lovely views of the Vieux Port and the Mediterranean beyond the harbor.

Across from it, at the other side of the Vieux Port, is the Fort St-Jean, is now part of a museum complex called MuCEM, Musée des Civilisations de l'Europe et de la Méditerranée. Under renovation for many years, MuCEM reopened in 2013 as part of Marseille's year as the European Capital of Culture.

The complex has a long history, with structures dating from the 12th century crusades and a 15th century tower. More recently, the Germans used the fort during World War II, and an exhibit serves as a memorial to victims of the Nazis.

Fort St Jean, Marseille
View of Fort St-Jean, Marseille.

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Fort St Nicolas, Marseille

Above, Looking back to the Vieux Port
from the Fort St-Nicolas.

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