Founded 2,600 years ago by the Greeks from Phocaea, Marseille is the oldest French town and the second in terms of population size after Paris. Nearly 900,000 people live in intramural neighbourhoods that have maintained an authentic village character. The city is located in the Provence region, on the southeast coast of France.
Marseille offers an extraordinary coastline, a harbour which is the envy of all sailors in the world and an insolent sunshine which shines over 300 days a year!
The natural heritage in Marseille is exceptional with numerous parks located in the city centre and calanques (coves) which are a few kilometres away from the Old Port. The calanques, which are classified as National Nature Park, offer year-round practice of outdoor sports. Spread over 20 km, you will find these famous creeks, which are sometimes inhabited and sometimes still wild, where the turquoise water invites you to relax...
During your walks in the streets of Marseille, you will discover the amazing heritage of this Mediterranean city. From the historic Panier district to the buildings of the Second Empire and Romanesque churches, Marseille has more than one secret to reveal to those who know how to look for them.
Going down in the city, mark a stop at the Abbey of St. Victor. Walk a little more to reach the Four des Navettes, a pastry shop, to taste its speciality flavored with orange blossom. Go back to the Old Port to enjoy the sunny terraces facing Notre Dame de la Garde or opposite the Old Marseille which is locally known as the Panier.
After lunch, go to the assault of this district that the Greeks chose to lay the foundations of Marseille, over 2,600 years back. From the City Hall to museums of the Vieille Charité through the Place des Moulins or the Accoules church, discover 26 centuries of history.
In the morning, sitting outside a café on the Old Port, admire the view. In the distance, the pink reflections of the sunrise on the Fort Saint-Jean and Saint Nicolas along with the constant coming and going of fishing boats and sailboats heading to the Iles du Frioul and the Castle, are signs of another beautiful day ahead...
Do not leave the Old Port without a visit to the fish market to discover the species that make up the bouillabaisse which you can enjoy during dinner. Then head towards the Corniche which overlooks the magnificent harbour of Marseille. Admire the famous folies of the Corniche and the popular small beaches nestled at its foot.
In the afternoon, make some time to shop in the many shopping areas located in the city centre. The best brands compete in the Paradis, Grignan, Montgrand and Sainte street, which are semi pedestrian streets. If you are looking for a younger atmosphere, go to Saint-Ferreol where all the trendy shops lie.
A few kilometres from Marseille is Cassis (25 min trip by TER), a lively resort but charming little fishing village known for its white wine which is served with a grilled fish. You can stroll through its streets or through the creeks and plunge into the turquoise waters of the Mediterranean.
If you prefer a more bourgeois atmosphere, you can visit Aix-en-Provence easily from Marseille (10 min trip by TGV).
Our tip: Purchase a Marseille City Pass which is valid for 24 or 48 hours and which will allow you to have access to museums, public transport, boat linking Castle If, tourist train to Notre Dame de la Garde, discounts and much more.
Being the European Capital of Culture in 2013, the city of Marseille will offer a rich and entertaining program throughout the year. Over 400 events will follow one another in three stages: artists’ performance, street art, exhibitions, theatre plays, and Mediterranean cuisine on the show. A dozen of museums with various collections from ancient to contemporary collections as well as expositions by many young artists can be visited in Marseille.