Called “the Good Mother”, the Notre-Dame-de-la-Garde basilica is emblematic of Marseille and the most visited place. Located on the hill of La Garde with a breathtaking view of the city and its surroundings, it owes its origin to an oblate who asked the Benedictines of Saint-Victor in 1214 to build a chapel there. Very quickly, it became a place of Marian pilgrimage. Then surrounded by a fort under François I, it served as a lookout to protect the city while maintaining its religious dimension.
In 1853, the influx of pilgrims necessitated the construction of a large basilica. Its Roman-Byzantine architectural style recalls the link between East and West in the roots of the Phocaean city.
The popular expression “the Good Mother” evokes the maternal and protective figure of Mary. Without there being any certainty, it may have been spread by the Oblate missionaries of Mary Immaculate in the 19th century.
Today, the Virgin of the Guard attracts visitors of all beliefs and cultures. Thousands of ex-votos bear witness to the graces received in this place.