If the Palais du Pharo was built to be an imperial house, it was never used as such. With its beautiful architecture and park son parc, the Napoleonic edifice rises above the Old Port and Marseille North coast, offering an extraordinary panorama.
The palace cannot be visited, as it is now a congress centre divided into two sections combining tradition and modernity:
- The historical palace with its “salons d’honneur” and meeting rooms
- An extension dating from our century with its 900 seats auditorium, its exhibition halls and its food area.
When visiting Marseille in 1852, Napoléon III decided to build a residential house, « les pieds dans l’eau » (“feet in water”): the Palais du Pharo. The project only started when the city offered the “plateau du Pharo” to thank him for his help during a land transaction with the state.
In 1858, construction works started. The Emperor wanted the palace to be as impressive as the Biarritz Castel of Empress Eugénie. But the cost got huge, because of the interior decoration for example.
At the end of the second Empire, in 1870, the palace wasn’t ready. Napoléon III never visited his house, and Napoleonic emblems on the gates and façades were destroyed like everything related to the Empire.
The palace went to the Empress after Napoléon III death; she gave it to Marseille city after legal proceedings. A medicine’s school at the beginning of the 20th Century, the palace finally became home to Marseille city services in 1997, the Institut de la Méditerranée, « Marseille la Découverte » club, and a congress centre.
Tips & Anecdotes
The Palais du Pharo is surrounded by the Jardin du Pharo (garden), named Jardin Émile Duclaux, which offers an incredible panorama of the Vieux-Port and Marseille North coast. This is a very charming spot where you can stop to watch the sunset. A monument honours heroes and victims of the sea, sailors who died during WW1.
58 boulevard Charles Livon, 13007 Marseille
Jardin du Pharo:
- From the 22nd of September to the 20th of June : 7am-9pm
- From the 21st of June to the 21st of September : 7am-10pm
HOW TO GET TO THE PALAIS DU PHARO?
- Station Livon Vieux-Port
- Le Pharo Stop (lines 82, 82s and 83)