Palais du Pharo (Pharo Palace)

Palace in Marseille

Palais Du Pharo Et Vieux-Port
CC BY-SA 1.0 / Benoît Prieur

The promontory on which Pharo Palace stands is aptly named “Pharo,” taking its name from the western bay. Historically, the hill was known as “Tete de More.” Situated at the entrance of Marseille’s Old Port, the Pharo Palace is a grandiose structure originally intended as an imperial residence.

The concept for the palace began in 1852 when Prince Louis-Napoleon commissioned architect Vaucher to select a suitable location and design the building. Eventually, Napoleon III’s architect, Lefuel, took over the project, with the city donating the land for its construction.

Despite its grand intentions, Napoleon III never had the opportunity to stay in the palace before his death. Subsequently, Empress Eugenie returned the Pharo to the city of Marseille. In 1904, it was repurposed as a medical school.

Today, Pharo Palace serves as a venue for meetings, fairs, and conferences, accommodating up to 2,500 people within its original spaces and an extension. Following the events of 1870, imperial ornaments were removed from the building’s exterior, erasing any overt connections to the empire.

The Palais du Pharo (Pharo Palace) appears in our Complete Guide to Visiting Marseille!

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Visiting Palais du Pharo (Pharo Palace)


The Pharo garden is open all year round to the public from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m.



Address: Palais du Pharo, Boulevard Charles Livon, Marseille, France
Duration: 20 minutes

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