When planning my visit to Marseille, I’d seen quite a few photos of the rather striking, square black building approached by a long footbridge that’s home to the Museum of European and Mediterranean Civilisations (MuCEM). The museum, which is located on the seafront next to Fort Saint-Jean, opened in 2013, the year in which Marseille was a European Capital of Culture.
As entry to the museum was included in my Marseille City Pass, it was on my must visit list.
I have to say that I wasn’t that impressed by the displays in MuCEM. It’s like so much effort, thought and money went into the building, that there was no clear focus on the contents. I really don’t think it’s worth the 8 Euro entry fee to visit MuCEM. I suppose that’s partly because I’m used to free entry to state museums in the UK.
In the foyer, there was an installation that looked like someone had dumped a few boxes carrying monitors.
There were a few interesting pieces, of which there are photos below. I liked what looked like an angel get together.
The merman’s top half was skeletal and he looked as though he belonged on the set of a horror movie.
The’Knowledge is Power’ piece was eye-catching.
By comparison, I loved the architecture. It was one of the most beautiful buildings which I’ve ever visited. I thought that the building’s black cladding was ironwork. In fact it’s an ornamental skin of filigree concrete. It creates an amazing effect with the colour of the sea and the sky.
An external staircase and walkway wind up between the interior glass and steel building and the exterior skin.
You can see the metal supports which attach the concrete skin to the building.
You get some great views of the bay as you walk up the building.
Once of the top floor it became more obvious that the skin was concrete as, unlike the sides of the building, the concrete was grey. It almost looked as though you could gingerly walk along MuCEM’s roof to Marseille Cathedral.
The Mole Cafe is located on the top floor of MuCEM.
It’s free to get onto MuCEM’s roof. You get there along the footbridge from Fort Saint-Jean. There are some loungers and chairs you can sit on to admire the views and there are free toilets. I’d recommend that you spend some time on the roof, and forget about visiting the museum.