The Vieille Charité in the heart of Old Town Marseille houses not one, but two museums – the Museum of African, Oceanic and American-Indian Art (Musée d'Arts Africains, Océaniens et Amérindiens) and the Museum of Mediterranean Archaeology (Musée d'Archéologie Méditerranéenne). Formerly a poorhouse and then an orphanage throughout its four-century history, the structure’s restoration in the mid-20th century was championed by architect Le Corbusier. The site has since served as a fun destination for fans of art and history, as well as those who simply want something a bit off the beaten path.
Unlike its sister museum, the Museum of Mediterranean Archaeology focuses on the history of the immediate area and features items found in the region and specifically in and around Marseille. With that, the museum not only tells the history of Marseille, but of Mediterranean Europe in general, and can be an enlightening take for visitors from around the world.
Moving from the Museum of Mediterranean Archaeology to the Museum of African, Oceanic and American-Indian Art is an easy transition, as both complement one another. There are temporary exhibits as well, and the most recent featured works by Picasso. For cruise day trippers, the Vieille Charité is an easy stroll from the cruise port.
The Museum of Mediterranean Archaeology (Musée d'Archéologie Méditerranéenne) is located at the Vieille Charité, 2 rue de la Charité, in the 2nd arrondissement. The museum is closed on Mondays, Christmas Day and on the first of January, May and November. Otherwise, the museum is open Tuesday through Sunday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tickets cost 5 euro for adults and are free for kids under 18. On Sunday mornings, the permanent collections are accessible for free until 1 p.m. Take the Metro line 2 to Station Joliette or the tram line 2 to Arrêt République Dames.