Marseille is no different to any other port around the world and with its steep history, much of which can still be seen today, it is full of charm and character that is intoxicating. From many neighbourhoods to markets and cafes, this is a city that offers it all. From history, culture, restaurants and beaches all of which make Marseille one of the most visited city break destinations. There is plenty to do here from viewing stunning architecture to beautiful natural parks.
Marseille’s historic port
The Old Port or the Vieux Port as it is known is considered to be the main attraction in Marseille, whether that is for tourism, celebrations or protests. This is a stunning port that is now free from traffic and is only now enjoyed by tourists on foot and boats. There are forts that sit proudly alongside the entrance and they were installed as a way of protecting the city while the Abbaye St Victor has been the spiritual protection that the port has needed since the third century.
Basilique Notre-Dame de la Garde
This monument is eye-catching and very difficult to miss as it grips the skyline to the south of the Old Port. It sits 150 metres above water and has a large golden statue of the Virgin and Child at the summit of the tower. For many centuries there had been religious sanctuaries and watchtowers that guarded the city and in the lower levels, there is a renaissance fort that also includes a chapel. It is a considerable climb but the view from the top makes it all worth it.
Calanques National Park
Natural beauty at its very best can be found in the Southern and Eastern suburbs of Marseille. These craggy, rough limestone cliffs are jaw-dropping and sit at a very respectable height before disappearing beneath the ocean. They look amazing from both land and water but if you are going to hike them then you will need to be committed because it takes around 11 hours and can be tricky at times. Of course, once you get there the scenery is every inch spectacular but if you want to see them in all their glory then perhaps a mini-cruise from the Old Port is the ideal choice.
Hugging the coastline for a number of miles, LA Corniche offers amazing views over the Mediterranean while giving access to gorgeous beaches. It is possible to dive the route but the best way to admire it is to do it by foot because that gives you the chance to experience the sea air and views of the Frioul Archipelago as well as the towers of the Chateau d’lf in the bay. The Vallon des Auffes is one of the most mesmerising sights along the route with the old-school fishing harbour perched on a steep inlet contains old huts and plenty of charm.
Positioned just north of the Old Port, this part of Marseille has been inhabited since 600 BC. It is the place where the Greek Colony of Massalia resided and over time it evolved into the place where the many immigrants chose to settle. It has ochre-coloured walls and meandering stone stairways while the narrow streets throw you out on to the squares that are lit by the warmth of the sun. Known to be one of the poorer parts of Marseille until recent years, it is now considered to be trendy as seen by the many boutique shops and cafes along with the captivating street art.
This state of the art museum was inaugurated in 2013 and it completely rejuvenated one section of the waterfront of Marseille alongside the 17th-century Fort de Saint-Jean. Gorgeous architecture meets you on the outside but inside you will find out all there is to know about the Mediterranean culture and civilisation along with art, photography and artefacts. The galleries might not be consistent but they are diverse and it is this that captures the attention and the and imaginations of the those who visit. As part of the trip, you can also enter the Fort which was built by Louis XIV and is connected by two bridges to the museum.
Recently refurbished in preparation for the Euro 2016 Championship, this stunning stadium is home to Olympique de Marseille, one of the biggest football teams in France. In fact, this is the biggest football stadium in France, holding an impressive 67,000 people but the real impressive thing about this stadium is the undulating roof. An hour-long tour of the stadium will give you access to the changing rooms as well as the terraces, the pitch and the history of the club.
Map of Marseille
Pictures of Marseille
Hotels In Marseille
Choose your ideal hotel or apartment in Marseille. Select based upon your location, exclusivity or budget and start planning your perfect city break now.