The Palais Longchamps is best known as a quiet public garden in the center of Marseille. The Palais de Longchamp is not a true palace. It is an example of grand 'Empire' architecture designed by Esperandieu.
The Palais de Longchamp was built on Longchamp Plateau to commemorate the building of the Durance Canal. It houses two museums in very pleasant gardens, the Musee Grobet Labadie, the Musee des Beaux Arts and the Museum d'Histoire Naturelle - the natural history museum.
The museum in the Palais de Longchamp in Marseille was created in 1819, under the direction of the Marquis de Montgrand who was mayor of the city of Marseille. It was effort to group a number of different collections of curious items together under one roof.
The Palais de Longchamp is open every day from 10am - 5pm except Mondays and bank Holidays. It is free on Sunday morning. The nearest Metro station is Cinq-Avenues Longchamp or you can take the Tramway to Longchamp. You will find it on the Palais de Longchamp Boulevard du Jardin Zoologique
It houses collections of botanical, palenteology, mineralogy, Zoology and human sciences . All with interesting sites to see such as the Gecko(unique reptile), Tasmanian wolf, the hydrocephale man, the Girafon, William or the elephant of India, fossils of P. Matheron (author of the first geological map of Provence), the plant incubator of L. Legre, good friend of F. Mistral, rich in millions of plants from Provence dating from the end of the 19C,and the Salle de Provence (room of Provence) design by H. Esperandieu, decorated with frescoes by R. Ponson from 1869, a historical monument of France. The Marseille Palais de Longchamp also houses the musee de Beaux-arts or the Fine Arts museum.
When Marseille built a canal from the Durance river to downtown Marseille to bring water. It was such a magnificent engineering feat, that the city council decided to erect a fountain in celebration. The fountain is beautiful and figures the Durance river surrounded by two statues symbolizing the wheat and the vine, symbols of prosperity. It's a good place to have a picnic in this lovely public garden that is part of the Palais de Longchamp.