Museum of African, Oceanic and American-Indian Art (MAAOA)
With its ancient roots as the oldest city in France, Marseille is the perfect city to host the Museum of African, Oceanic and American-Indian Art. Housed the Baroque-style Vieille Charité, originally a poorhouse dating back to the late 17th century, the museum features striking ethnographic pieces and ancient artifacts. Also inside the building is the excellent Museum of Mediterranean Archaeology.
First get oriented in this beautiful place, the Vielle Charité. Walk through the building to the courtyard flanked by graceful rows of arches and pink-hued stones from nearby quarries. At the center of the courtyard is a jewel box-sized chapel. Then, move on to the museum for an encounter with Mexican folklore and a colorful exhibit on the Day of the Dead. Continue on to displays of shrunken heads from Africa and magnificent statues, big masks, and a series of colourful skulls from Oceania.
Things to Know Before You Go
- The Museum of African, Oceanic and American-Indian Art are ideal for art and history buffs, including those with small children.
- A small fee is required for entry; students are free.
- The museum is wheelchair accessible.
- Note that the site is widely known as the greater Vieille Charité, rather than the specific museum names.
How to Get There
The Museum of African, Oceanic and American-Indian Art (Musée d'Arts Africains, Océaniens et Amérindiens) is located at the Vieille Charité in the 2nd arrondissement of Marseille. Take the Metro line 2 to Station Joliette or tram line 2 to Arrêt République Dames. Several bus and tram routes run nearby as well. If you are coming from Paris, take the high-speed TGV train; expect about a 3.5-hour ride.
When to Get There
The museum is open Tuesday through Sunday, from morning until evening. Marseille’s peak season lasts from May through August, when the weather is very sunny with little rains. To avoid the crowds in both the city and the beaches, come on the shoulder seasons of spring and the autumn.
Museum of Mediterranean Archaeology
Combine a visit here with an exploration of its sister museum within the same Vieille Charité complex. Focusing on the history of Marseille and its immediate surroundings as well as Mediterranean civilizations such as Cyclades, Cyprus, Greece, Greater Greece, Etruria, and Rome. The collection dedicated to Egypt is the largest in France after the Louvre.
- Museum of Mediterranean Archaeology (Musée d’Archéologie Méditerranéenne)
- Centre de la Vieille Charite
- Marseille Cathedral (Cathédrale La Major)
- Roman Docks Museum (Musée des Docks Romains)
- Old Port of Marseille (Vieux Port)
- Marseille Cruise Port (Terminal Croisières Marseille)
- Museum of European and Mediterranean Civilizations (Le Mucem)
- Marseille History Museum (Musee d'Histoire)
- Fort Saint-Jean
- Chateau d'If
- Maritime and Commercial Museum of Marseille (Musée de la Marine et de l'Economie de Marseille)
- Place aux Huiles
- Palais du Pharo
- La Canebiere
- Abbey of St. Victor (Abbaye Saint-Victor)