Old buildings and modern architecture
THE BEAUTY OF THE ANCIENTS
The Ancient Greeks and, more particularly, the Ancient Romans left behind many high-quality reminders of their presence here. Make sure you visit Glanum in Saint-Rémy and the superb town of Arles, one of UNESCO's World Heritage sites (Roman arena, theatre, cryptoporticoes etc.). Marseille also has Roman remains in its Jardin des Vestiges.
THE MIDDLE AGES ON THE DEFENSIVE
Throughout the Middle Ages, there was extensive building of town walls and keeps. Les Baux provides a superb example of this; it eventually became a citadel. A number of churches were fortified e.g. in Saint-Victor and Les Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer. In the 14th and 15th centuries, the trend reached its apotheosis in the outstanding castles in La Barben, Tarascon, Boulbon and Salon de Provence.
A CONCENTRATE OF THE 19th CENTURY
It is in Marseille that you can see the main urban redevelopment of the period. Haussmann revolutionised the city centre and whole new urban districts were built. See the luxurious eclectic design of the Palais Longchamp, the Roman-Byzantine inspiration of La Major (church) and the unmissable Notre-Dame-de-la-Garde.
VAUBAN IN MARSEILLE
In the 17th century, military architect Vauban recommended fortifications for towns and strategic locations throughout France. It was then that the Saint-Jean and Saint-Nicolas forts were built in the roadstead off Marseille, along with the Château d’If, famous for the Count of Monte Cristo and the Man in the Iron Mask.
IT'S A GREAT STORY...
After the year 1,000 A.D. Romanesque architecture produced some magnificent buildings in the region, the most prestigious of all being Silvacane (La Roque d’Anthéron), Montmajour and Saint-Trophime (Arles).
The landmark buildings of the 20th century (Pouillon's apartments, Le Corbusier's Cité radieuse, county buildings by William Alshop, the Vasarely Foundation in Aix) are well-known. A large number of buildings with the most modern designs were commissioned from famous architects, transforming towns e.g. the Euroméditerranée project, the Archives, the towers designed by Zaha Hadid and Jean Nouvel, the future Mucemà etc. In Marseille, there were also the Pavillon Noir and the Grand Theatre; in Aix-en-Provence, the Cité de l'image. Then comes Arles etc.