Parc Borély and its gardens
One of Marseille's wonders for some, the best ally for the weekend for others, everyone appropriates one of Marseille's most popular parks according to their desires. On the sporting side with its huge green expanses, where many kids kicked their first ball. On the nature side with its canals where ducks and swans splash around, hardly disturbed by visitors. On the family side an ideal park for children. On the heart side a meeting place for lovers looking for some privacy. This garden is tremendously rooted in Marseille.
Every Phocaean can draw memories from it, starting with one of the most famous! Marcel Pagnol already told his childhood memories at the Parc Borély in his book "My Father's Glory".
Initially, Louis Borély was a wealthy Marseille shipowner and merchant of the 17th century. He wanted to build a domain in the Bonneveine district. At the time, the bastide was both a place to live and work, reflecting the wealth and power of its owners. Louis Borély not only wanted a bastide, but he wanted it to surpass all the others by far, both in terms of size and in terms of splendour. Originally, the bastide was made up of "land, vines, meadows, gardens, trees and buildings" and then expanded throughout the 18th century. Upon his return from Egypt in 1767, from now on rich and ennobled, Louis de Borély was able to carry out such a project and entrusted its realization to the Provençal architect Esprit Brun. His son Louis Joseph Denis de Borély, who inherited the property in 1770, hired the Embry gardener to create a classic garden.
In the 19th century, the city of Marseille became the property owner and asked the famous landscape architect Alphand to create a public park. This one, who worked for example to remodel the Vincennes and Boulogne woods, designed his project with three separate parts.
The first is a typical French-style garden, the second part is an English-style park, while on the waterfront there is a racecourse. The work took place between 1860 and 1880. At the same time, the Carthusian Botanical Garden was moved to the Parc Borély. Today, it covers 12,000 m² and more than 3,500 plant species can be found there. Since 2004, a traditional Chinese garden has been added to the Park.
Today, the Parc Borély also has a promenade along the beach, where the park's greenery meets the sea on the Escale Borély side. There are also many rollerblading enthusiasts there. If you want to join them, you can always rent a bike or why not a Vélib Marseille? And if you want to do something different, segway rental is for you! But be careful to keep your balance ;-)
For the more adventurous, if you are planning to run in Marseille during your stay, it is at the Parc Borély that you should go! This "small" piece of nature in the city offers the perfect setting making it one of Marseille's most popular gardens for joggers. Its opening hours are such that you will have no excuse: from 6am to 9pm every day!
Parc Borély is a trip to Marseille that is mandatory for those who stop over in our beautiful Phocaean city.