The Fort Saint Jean is an emblematic monument of Marseille and one of the oldest. It marks the Vieux-Port entrance and boasts an exceptional panorama of the city. Now belonging to the new MuCEM launched in 2013, it is connected to its building by a super modern footbridge overlooking the sea.
The history of the Fort Saint Jean
The ever repeated construction of the Fort Saint Jean set the tempo of its story. It started in the 12th Century and ended only five centuries later ! First the site was occupied by “la commanderie des Hospitaliers de Jérusalem” (a Catholic order), and was used as the starting point of the holy land journey. The chevaliers added a church, a hospital and “le Palais du Commandeur” to the chapel already built.
In the 15th Century the Tour Carré is built, also called “ la Tour du Roi René” referring to the Earl of Provence who decided to improve the fort defenses. Two centuries later, the Tour Ronde is built and used as a lookout post. It is so high that it would be visible by merchant ships 20 km far from Marseille’s harbour.
Louis XIV orders the fortresses construction in the 17th Century after the Marseillais rebellion against royal power. The king also commands the fort construction after chasing the Hospitaliers order. The fort is then limited to a military role until it becomes a state prison during the Revolution.
During World War 2, the German use the place as munitions stockhouse…which explodes in August 1944 destroying most of the fort. It’s only at the end of the 60’s that new construction and renovation works start.
Today the Fort Saint Jean belongs to the MuCEM with the new J4 to which it is connected by a 130 meters long footbridge. It shows permanent and special exhibitions. Access to its garden is completely free and we advise you not to miss it !
Quai du Port, 13002 Marseille
Everyday except on Tuesday (while others museums are closed on Monday), on the 25th of December and the 1st of May
- Summer hours (4th of July the 31st of August): 10am-8pm
- Spring (2nd of May- 3d of July): 11am-7pm
- Autumn (1st of September-31st of October): 11am-7pm
- Winter (1st of November – 30th of April): : 11am-6pm
- Night opening on Friday until 10pm (2nd of May – 31th of October)
MuCEM ticket: full price 8 € / reduced price ticket 5 €
HOW TO GET THERE?
- Station Quai du Port
- Station Boulevard du Littoral Mucem
- Station Vieux-Port (ligne 1)
- Station Joliette (ligne 2)
- Station Joliette
- Station Sadi Carnot