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The Longchamp Palace is a site that is emblematic of Marseille and of the Second Empire, located in the 4th district, very close to the Zoo. Designed in the 19th century by the architect, Henri Espérandieu, and inaugurated in 1869, the Longchamp Palace was originally a water tower intended to glorify water from the Durance River that finally reached Marseille after many years of drought and a disastrous cholera epidemic. Supplying water to the city required digging an 85-kilometer canal and building 18 aqueducts. The work took 10 years.
The Longchamp Palace is probably one of the most impressive water towers ever built. The arrival in Marseille of water from the Durance River is symbolized by a majestic fountain in the middle of which a chariot rises, drawn by four Camargue bulls. The triumphal arch and colonnades are the seat of striking sculptures symbolizing fertility.
Located in the heart of Marseille , the Longchamp Palace is accessible in minutes from the Hôtel Concorde Villa Massalia , which is set on the edge of the Parc Borély . Since its opening in 1869, the Palace has been home to the Fine Arts Museum, in its left wing, and to the Museum of Natural History, in its right wing. In the beautiful Palace gardens, one can find the Marseille Observatory , where a visit will round out a scientific and historic tour of one of the most peaceful districts of Marseille .