Notre-Dame de la Garde, Marseille, France

Notre-Dame de la Garde, or Our Lady of the Guard, is a Catholic basilica built on the highest natural point in Marseille, allowing it to look over the city.

Since it’s at the top of Marseille, I absolutely didn’t want to walk to it. There’s a local bus that runs up to the church, which is the cheapest option. There’s also a Petit Train, which I saw in La Spezia and Nice and wanted to take but didn’t have a good reason, like a giant hill. So we paid the €9 each for the very steep ride up and back from the basilica, and it was absolutely worth the price.

The train was very cute and had a guided audio tour in multiple languages. The train didn’t stop anywhere except the church, but it gave you a good overview of other places to visit.

The view from the church was a beautiful as you would expect from the highest point in the city. I was actually surprised by how spread out Marseille was.

The church is free to visit and is a lovely example of Roman and Neo-Byzantine architecture. It’s very grand and ornate, with stunning mosaics on almost every part of the ceiling.

We’ve seen so many churches over the last three months that we almost didn’t go here. After you’ve seen nails from the cross, St Catherine’s head and body, Michelangelo’s sculpture of Moses, and more in just three months, the bar for churches is pretty high. But it was worth it for the view alone, and I’m glad we decided to go.

Gotten more religion from me than church the last three months? Forget the collection and buy me a glass of wine instead!