Marseille’s Museum of Fine Arts is one of the city’s main museums, and was opened in 1801 by the Consulate along with five other museums in the other large cities of France. Originally housed in the Couvent des Bernardines, it has been transferred to a wing of the lavish Palais Longchamp in 1869, a now historical monument built by architect Henry Espérandieu in 1862.
The Museum of Fine Arts’ collection includes over 8,000 paintings, sculptures, and drawings dating back from the 16th to the 19th centuries. Works are from diverse European schools, including the French (which are majorly represented), Italian, Spanish and Northern (Flanders and Holland). A large collection of sculptures by Pierre Paul Puget (1620–1694) and Auguste Rodin’s masterpiece “La Méditation”, a gift from the artist himself, are among the best examples of the French school on display.
The museum is located on rue Edouard Stephan nearby Gare Saint-Charles. It can be reached by tram line 2 or metro line 1 at stop Longchamp. It is not recommended to get there by car as there is little parking in the area. Entrance to the museum’s permanent exhibition costs €5 (full fare) or €3 (reduced fare). Temporary exhibits have different fees: €10 (full fare) or €8 (reduced fare) for Category 1 exhibits, €8 (full fare), €5 (reduced fare) for Category 2 exhibits and €5 (full fare) or €3 (reduced fare) for Category 3 exhibits. These also include access to the permanent exhibition. Guided tours are also available for €4 per adult, and €2 per child (5 to 13). Family activities and special rates are also available. Entry to the museum is free on the first Sunday of the month. The museum is open Tuesday to Sunday from 10am until 6pm, but it is closed January 1st, May 1st, November 1st, December 25 and 26.