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  Villages / Marseille / Marseille Parks

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Borély Park - Parc Borély

Location: [South]

village photo The Parc Borély is a big, lovely park, like a cross between Paris' Parc de Vincennes and New York's Central Park. Borély has winding waterways with ducks, swans and rowboats. The many pathways have, on a typical sunny weekend, strolling pedestrians and a variety of rental pedal things, like land pedalos, from six-passenger adult models to little pink pigs.

There are large expanses of lawn, some filled with the relaxing Marsaillaise families, and wide walkways sometimes teaming with strollers. There are also quiet little corners where narrow paths meander through trees and foliage. On the south side of the park, at the "back" entrance, is Château Borély, an imposing mansion built around 1770. The gravel area near the château is used as the petanque courts.

You can drive out to the park from the city center, or take the number 83 bus from the Cours Ballard, at the corner of the Quai des Belges of the Old Port. The bus follows the "Corniche John F. Kennedy" coast road, with a good view of the islands. If you drive on a sunny weekend, even in winter, the main entrance is mobbed, and parking is difficult. Drive around to the other side, or park by the Ballet School at the northen corner of Borély, and walk in through the Parc Henri Fabre and across the river into Borély.

Botanical Gardens

Location: at the east end of the Parc Borély, below the English garden.

Lovely gardens, with a large variety of flora, including a section of aeromatic plants and orchids.
Tel: (33) 491 55 25 51
Open Apr-June, Sept-Oct weekdays: 10h-12h, 13h-17h30
Open Apr-June, Sept-Oct holidays, weekends: 13h30-17h30
Open Nov-Mar weekdays: 9h30-12h, 13h-17h45
Open Nov-Mar holidays, weekends: 13h30-17h45
Closed: July-Aug; Wednesdays; 1 May
Entry: 10 F

Longchamp - Cinq Avenues de Longchamp

Location: [Longchamp]

This lovely old park is in walking distance of the center, spreading out over different levels on a low hill that's well forested. The main entrance to the park is at the Palais Longchamp.

village photo The top part of the park, near the main entrance, has pony rides for wee kiddies, and even a pony-drawn "covered wagon". Concrete areas are used for roller-blading and skateboarding, and many benches and nice lawns make it a social gathering place. This top part of the park also has two separate playgrounds, one with a fine pair of children-eating snake slides. There are other, larger playgrounds at the opposite end of the park, along with rides and activities for older kids.

The park, being on different levels and in different sections, seems even larger than it is. Much of the park has paved walks winding through trees and dense foliage, and past the old cages of the zoo, gone now for 15-20 years.

The ancient stone Aqueduct de Provence run perfectly straight through a long section of the park, its hundreds of arches still supporting a water supply into the city.

Pharo Park - Parc du Pharo

Location: [South]

village photo This is a large, grassy park on a low hill at the far end of the old port. The park has a fine old château, lovely gardens and a great view back towards the old port. The "château" is the Pharo Palace, one the residence of Empress Eugénie, the wife of Napoleon III. The name 'pharo' comes from lighthouse, but there's none here now.

This is a relaxing park, with lawns and some wide walkways, and not much activity. There is a small playground in one corner, with a few slides and merry-go-round for small children. In the wooded area near the entrance to the park, a large number of cats lounge about on the park benches and the grass, perhaps in character for this city of seafood.

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