The oldest port of Marseille, the Old Port is the historic heart of Marseille. Founded in antiquity, the port was the economic centre of the city until the mid-19th century, open to the trade and commerce arriving from across the Mediterranean Sea and the French colonies. Symbol of the city, the ancient winding streets of the Old Port district is dotted with art galleries, bars, and cultural centres. The countless renovations and refurbishments of recent years have breathed new life into the city as a whole.
The impressive forts of Saint John and Saint Nicolas, built in the Middle Ages to protect the harbour, the imposing 17th century City Hall, and the Abbey of Saint Victor testify to a rich past, and today share space with glass and steel buildings, and sumptuous squares redesigned in a more contemporary spirit. The Old Port has lost none of its original lustre, however. It remains as authentic as its fish market, and one of the must-visit parts of Marseilles.