The Basilica Notre-Dame de la Garde, Marseille
From the Archives
The basilica was consecrated on June 5, 1864 and replaced a church of the same name built in 1214 and restored in the 15th century. It was built on the foundations of a 16th-century fort built by Francis I of France to resist the 1536 siege of Marseilles by the Emperor Charles V. The basilica consists of a lower church, or crypt, in the Romanesque style carved from the rock, as well as an upper church of Neo-Byzantine style decorated with mosaics. A square bell tower of 41 m (135 ft) topped by a belfry of 12.5 m (42 ft) supports a monumental 11.2 m (27 ft) statue of the Madonna and Child, made of copper gilded with gold leaf.
People from Marseilles traditionally see Notre-Dame de la Garde as the guardian and the protector of the city. Local inhabitants commonly refer to it as la bonne mère ("the good mother").
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