Saint Victor abbey is a gorgeous edifice, an emblem of Marseille religious buildings. You cannot miss its high towers visible from the Vieux-Port. If you visit it, you will learn more about Marseille history and enjoy a beautiful panorama of the port.
Jean Cassien funded the abbaye Saint Victor de Marseille in the 5th Century. Its name comes from Victor le Martyr, an officer who was beheaded along with his Theban legion. In the Middles Ages, the abbey was devastated by barbarian, but earned power and prestige during the 11th Century.
With the troubles of the 18th Century, the abbey became laic and lost all its treasures: relics were burnt, its gold and silver used to make coins. Worse, it became a prison. But it is said this function actually preserved and saved the edifice!
At the beginning of the 60’s, excavations and a full renovation of the abbey are organised. It is now a museum of Christian art from the first Millenary since 1968 (the most important of Provence after Arles museum). We should be thankful to Gaston Deferre (Marseille mayor at this time) who put its sarcophagus collection from the 4th and 5th Centuries back in its crypts.
Tips and anecdotes
One of Saint-Victor abbots, Guillaume Grimoard, became pope in 1362 and was named Urbain V. He belongs to the very short list of the 16 French churchmen who reached this prestigious function (266 popes in total in history).
Take a break in the nice Café de l’abbaye for a coffee or a cold beer.
Did you know at the abbey’s bottom there was one of the two small vineyards of Marseille city centre?
Place Saint-Victor, 13007 Marseille
- Crypts: 2€
- Groups (minimum of 10 people): 1€
HOW TO GET TO THE ABBAYE SAINT VICTOR ?
- Station Corse Saint Maurice
- Station Endoume Corderie
- Saint-Victor stop (lines 54 and 81)