Notre-Dame de la Garde Basilica

An impressive, softly-hued structure, very reflective of the city and the sea.

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Notre-Dame de la Garde Basilica

The seamen's basilica.

Reachable via a nice little ride in an antique funicular, the basilica dubbed the Bonne Mére ("Good Mother") is known as the protector of sailors. It was built on a hill below the Vieux Port (Old Port) in neo-Romanesque/Byzantine style in 1864 atop the ruins of a 17th-century fortress that had served to protect against attacks from the sea. Its façade is distinguished by the striking contrast between white marble and green limestone, and crowning the tower in front is a 36-foot statue of the Virgin Mary as guardian of the seas, covered in gold leaf and with her fishermen devotees at her feet.

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