Photo Copyright: The Mayor
Travel back in time while visiting these sites in the South of France
Be prepared to travel back in time as you visit these historic sites in the South of France from the comfort of your own yacht. With such a rich history, dating back to the ancient Greeks and Romans, the South of France is a good example of the adaptation of an ancient world to medieval European civilization.
The majestic French Riviera
While docked or anchored in one of the beautiful ports on the coastline, you can either stroll to these sites, or you will be picked up by a private driver your chief stewardess has carefully selected for you, to bring you to the destination of the day. These cities and towns not only host interesting archaeological sites, but boast great bistros and restaurants also. Who knew that a history lesson could be so enjoyable!
An established seaport, Marseille boasts a unique maritime history, which it remembers and preserves through the following sites and museums. A genuine jewel on the Vieux Port of Marseille, the Mucem is the first ever museum dedicated to Mediterranean cultures. Its ultra-modern design is already a sight to behold, but climb up to the rooftop to enjoy the picture-postcard views over the Ancient Greek city and its port.
On the exhibition front, the Mucem offers a contemporary and interactive program, shining the spotlight on Mediterranean civilizations of today and yesteryear. If you are up to visit another museum after this one, make your way over to Le Musée des Docks Romains, located on the site of a former ancient Roman dock warehouse.
The Notre-Dame de la Garde Basilica
Constructed in 1853 in a Neo-Byzantine style, the Notre-Dame de la Garde Basilica is one of the most famous sites in Marseille. It is positioned overlooking the entire city and the harbor, which makes it a fabulous spot to take pictures. Highlights of the basilica include its colorful interior, large crypt and intricate mosaics.
The archaeological site of Jardin des Vestiges was discovered when the Centre Bourse shopping center was being built. A sizeable area was left over to be excavated further. It dates back to the Greek times of ancient Marseille, as the first people who founded and settled the city were Greek migrants. Archaeologists have discovered some ancient walls and other remains, from both the Greek era as well as the later Roman times of the city.
Photo Copyright: Secret World
The Abbaye Saint-Victor
A fortress-like 11 th century abbey located in the heart of Marseille, the Abbaye Saint-Victor is dedicated to Saint Victor, a Roman soldier turned Christian martyr. Abbaye Saint-Victor is fascinating for many reasons, one of which is its crypt, a underground stone chamber, which houses a series of rare medieval Christian tombs and sarcophagi. Before you return to the port and your yacht, sit down at one of the many cafés to watch life go by while enjoying a light lunch in this magnificent city.
Photo Copyright: Colorbus
Talk to your captain about the best location to anchor for your visit to this city in the Camargue. The Roman city of Arelate, today known as Arles, was one of the most important ports of the later Roman Empire. After siding with Julius Caesar during his civil war against Pompey, the town was formally established as a Roman colony for Caesar’s veterans.
Arles has some impressive Roman monuments, of which the earliest, the arena, the Roman theatre and the cryptoporticus date back to the 1st century B.C. During the 4th century Arles experienced a second golden age, as attested by the baths of Constantine and the necropolis of Alyscamps. In the 11th and 12th centuries, Arles once again became one of the most attractive cities in the Mediterranean. Within the city walls, Saint-Trophime, with its cloister, is one of the Provence´s major Romanesque monuments.
Photo Copyright: Westend61
The breathtaking amphitheater
The simply breathtaking amphitheater was able to hold over 20,000 spectators of chariot races and bloody hand-to-hand battles. Lately, it draws smaller crowds for bullfighting during the Feria d´Arles as well as plays and concerts during the summer months.
A project led by the Museum of Ancient Arles is in the middle of a multiyear campaign to excavate the site of an eighteenth-century glassworks factory in the Trinquetaille district along Arles’ right bank. During the initial excavation of the property in the 1980s, archaeologists discovered a second-century A.D. Roman residential neighborhood buried beneath it.
Photo Copyright: Flickr
Old Antibes is one of those fascinating towns where at every turn, the past enhances the present. To visit and really appreciate Old Antibes, you have to take the time to wander through its alleys, carefully observe the hidden details on the facades and doors, smell the flowers or eat some local homemade ice cream. And then, around the corner, you will see the Mediterranean Sea, where you might be able to spot your own yacht!
Photo Copyright: Pinterest
Wander around the streets
From Porte Marine, take Rampe des Saleurs and go into old Antibes through one of the small alleys on your right. Let fate decide your destination, go down side streets, wander and stroll until you reach the cathedral. Go up the steps to Chateau Grimaldi, which houses the Picasso Museum and the beautiful opening to the sea, Montée Dor de la Souchère. Make your way to rue Barques en Cannes until you get to the wash house where you can look for the faces hidden in the walls. Have a break at one of the many sun-soaked sidewalk cafés for an espresso or a glass of rosé and enjoy the surroundings with your loved ones.
Photo Copyright: Pinterest
The Archaeological Museum
Finish your voyage back in time at the Archaeological Museum. This museum is housed in the Saint- André bastion, a military stronghold built by Vauban in the late seventeenth century. Its two vaulted galleries are home to the Antibes’ permanent archaeological collection, made up of objects excavated both on land and in the sea.
Visiting the must see archeological sites in these beautiful spots in the South of France will leave you impressed and filled with memories. Being able to come home to your own yacht afterwards, and tell your chief stewardess about all you have discovered that day, makes it extra special!
Photo Copyright: Wikimedia Commons
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