Marseille

The grand former black sheep of the Provençal coast.

Discover Marseille, France's oldest city and a port with a rich history, lively markets, cultural museums, and stunning nearby Calanques.

3.6
out of 5
Photo of Château d'If in France

Famous Prison Island

Explore Château d'If, a former prison off Marseille known from "The Count of Monte Cristo", offering tours, history, and sea views.

Marseille stands as a vibrant port city on France's southern coast, rich in history and cultural diversity. This Mediterranean hub is known for its historic Old Port, the seafood-centric gastronomy, and the multicultural neighborhoods that reflect its past as a crossroads of trade and immigration. The city is also home to the stunning Basilique Notre-Dame de la Garde, which offers panoramic views of the sea and urban landscape, and the picturesque calanques that provide a natural escape for both locals and visitors.

Historical Landmarks of Marseille

Marseille's history can be seen in landmarks such as the Old Port (Vieux-Port), where the city was founded by Greeks around 600 BC. The area remains a focal point for city life. Nearby, the imposing Fort Saint-Jean and Fort Saint-Nicolas stand guard at the port's entrance. Further inland, you can explore Le Panier district, known as the oldest quarter of Marseille, which features narrow streets and historic buildings dating back to the 17th century.

Traditional Cuisine of Marseille

For a taste of local cuisine, you cannot miss the opportunity to try Bouillabaisse, a traditional Provençal fish stew that originated from the city. To enjoy this local dish, visit one of the restaurants lining the Old Port like Chez Fonfon or Le Miramar. Also, consider tasting the pastis, an anise-flavored spirit that is a favorite among locals, best enjoyed at a café terrace while watching the city life unfold.

Unique Local Customs and Festivals

Embracing its diversity, Marseille celebrates an array of customs and festivals throughout the year. The Fête de la Musique on June 21st showcases live music performances across the city. Additionally, there are seasonal markets and North African influences present in the Noailles market where spices and products from different cultures are readily available.

Main Attractions and Cultural Sites

Marseille offers several cultural sites worth visiting. The Musee d'histoire de Marseille documents the city's past with artifacts and exhibits. Art lovers will appreciate the Museum of European and Mediterranean Civilisations (MuCEM), which not only has extensive exhibits but also boasts striking architecture. For performing arts, catch a show at The Opera Municipal de Marseille, which has a varied program throughout the year.

Cost of Visiting and Safety Considerations

While visiting Marseille, you'll find a range of accommodation options suiting different budgets. The city is generally safe for tourists but like anywhere else, it's advisable to stay vigilant in crowded areas and watch your belongings.

Natural Landscapes Around Marseille

Just outside the hustle of the city lie the Calanques National Park, a series of rocky inlets with clear blue waters perfect for hiking and swimming. You can access these natural wonders by public transport followed by a hike or by taking a boat tour from the Old Port.

Daily Life and Atmosphere in Marseille

Marseille has a dynamic daily atmosphere that mixes its historic traditions with contemporary urban life. Wander through the streets of Cours Julien district known for its street art, small boutiques, and vibrant nightlife. Residents enjoy a relaxed pace of life with a Mediterranean flair that is evident in their daily routines and social interactions.

Transportation Options Within the City

Getting around Marseille is facilitated by an efficient public transportation system comprising buses, trams, and a metro service. The city center is walkable, but you can also rent bikes or scooters to navigate more freely. Catching a ferry from the Old Port can provide not only transport but also scenic views of the coastline.

Average temperatures during the day in Marseille.
July
29°
Aug
28°
Sep
25°
Oct
21°
Nov
15°
Dec
12°
Jan
11°
Feb
12°
Mar
15°
Apr
18°
May
22°
Jun
25°

What people say about Marseille

3.6
People
4
Food
4
Spaces
4
Value
4
Safety
3

Places nearby Marseille

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