After a lengthy renovation, the Museum of the Civilizations of Europe and the Mediterranean (MuCEM) opened its doors to great fanfare in the summer of 2013. Made up of three sites designed by Rudy Ricciotti, MuCEM is all about new perspectives on Mediterranean cultures. Themes like "the invention of gods," "the treasures of the spice route," or "at the bazaar of gender" are explored in Ricciotti's virtuosic J4 (named for the esplanade). The museum's popular café, bistro,
and restaurant (reservations required), overseen by star-chef Gérald Passédat, are great for refreshment and taking in the views. You can access the 12th-century Fort St-Jean, built by Louis XIV with the guns pointing toward the city, in order to keep the feisty, rebellious Marseillais under his thumb. If you're not the queasy type, take a suspended footbridge over the sea; it provides spectacular photo-ops and never-been-seen panoramas. On the other side, you can visit a new Mediterranean garden and a folk-art collection. A third building—the Center for Conservation and Resources, near the St-Charles train station—holds the museum's permanent collection of paintings, prints, drawings, photographs, and objects.
Quai du Port, Marseille, 13007, France