Abbaye Saint Victor in Marseille may not be at the top of everyone's to-see list, especially when the nearby, picturesque Notre Dame Basilica and its bird's-eye view are such a big draw. But there are two reasons this abbey should be added: First, it's a convenient stop on the way to Notre Dame, and secondly, it is commonly considered the oldest church in France–which is quite a claim, considering that thousand-year-old churches seem to be a dime a dozen here.
In fact, the abbey's history dates back to the fifth century, was in ruins by the ninth century and by the 13th century, when other world-famous churches were first being built, Abbaye Saint Victor was being renovated. Martyrs died here, the library was dismantled simply to please a de Medici family member, and in the late 18th century, the site was stripped of all of its finery. In short, it's had quite a history.
Both Abbaye Saint Victor and its crypts can be visited for the budget-friendly price of 2 euro per person. The site is generally open Monday through Friday from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. The faithful can even attend mass, which is held at 6:30 p.m. Monday through Saturday. Mass is held twice on Sunday at 9 a.m. and 11 a.m., and Saturday also has an extra mass at 9 a.m. The crypt is a must-see, as it is one of the most impressively preserved in France.