Parc Borély

Gardens in Marseille

Marseille-Château Borély
CC BY-SA 3.0 / Charliemoon

Borély Park, located in Marseille, is a celebrated public municipal park recognized as one of the Notable Gardens of France by the French Ministry of Culture. Covering 17 hectares, the park features three distinct gardens, each offering its unique charm and beauty.

The park’s origins date back to the 17th century when Joseph Borély, a French ship owner and merchant, acquired land in the scenic area of Bonneveine to establish a country house. In 1770, the estate was inherited by Louis-Joseph Borély who commissioned the esteemed landscape architect Embry to create a splendid Garden à la française.

The 19th century saw the estate change hands several times, eventually coming into the possession of Paulin Talabot, the director of the groundbreaking PLM railroad which linked Paris to Marseille. It was later acquired by the city of Marseille, which led to a new phase in the park’s development.

The city appointed Adolphe Alphande, a prominent landscape architect, to redesign the park. He conceptualized three sections: a refined French garden, a serene English landscape park, and a horse racing track by the seaside. The park also featured several wooden pavilions, one of which, the former lake pavilion, remains today and once housed the botanical laboratory of the Institut Colonial.

Historically, Borély Park also functioned as a botanical garden, a role it maintained until the late 19th to early 20th centuries when the botanical garden was relocated to a nearby site. In 2002, a beautiful two-hectare promenade was introduced, seamlessly connecting the park with the adjacent seaside, further enhancing its appeal and utility as a recreational and picturesque space.

The Parc Borély appears in our Complete Guide to Visiting Marseille!

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Visiting Parc Borély

Address: Parc Borély, Avenue du Parc Borély, Marseille, France
Duration: 20 minutes

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