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9 Best Things To Do in Marseille

Greetings from Marseille, the oldest and first city in France. It serves as the French Riviera’s (Cote d’Azur) capital. Its distinctive setting on the border between southern France and Northern Africa makes it a melting pot of cultures, with mouthwatering cuisine and warm mint tea sandwiched between French buildings. Because there is so much to do in Marseille, from climbing and beach lounging to seeing the city’s history and arts, this is a great European city trip. Its accessibility by train is another benefit; for instance, the trip from Rotterdam, Netherlands, takes just six hours!

Things to do in Marseille, France

We suggest visiting Marseille for two or three days. Learn about the top activities available in Marseille, France.

 MUCEM & Fort Saint-Jean

For visitors of all ages, the Museum of European and Mediterranean Civilization is a must-see in Marseille. At the edge of the river are two remarkable modern buildings that house galleries and exhibition spaces. A 115-meter-long bridge connects the museum to the free-to-visit historic Fort Saint-Jean.

Cathedral de la Major

Situated in MUCEM, between the Old Port and Le Panier, is the Cathedral de la Major, one of France’s largest cathedrals. Its amazing proportions and the materials employed, which include stones from Florence and mosaics from Venice, are reminiscent of St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome.

Creative Cours Julien

Although Cours Julien is mostly recognized as Marseille’s street art district, it offers much more! Great pubs, restaurants, and musicians take over the vibrant square and streets. It’s a vibrant, imaginative, stylish spot to spend a lazy afternoon on the terrace.

To get to the bridge or the metro entrance, take ” Les Escaliers du Cours Julien,” an artistic staircase.

Old Harbor (Vieux Port)

The historic harbor, or Vieux Port, serves as Marseille’s emblem. This is the location of chic hotels, seafood eateries, and seaside cafes. Take a trip across the boulevard and by the sea at sunset to truly experience the vibe of this city, which includes street food vendors and musicians performing.

Also visit: 12 Best Things To Do in Paris: The Ultimate 3-day Trip

Le Panier

Next is the oldest quarter of the city, Le Panier. The steep staircases and tiny, pastel-colored lanes are commonly referred to as Marseille’s historical and cultural center. Le Panier was once a working-class neighborhood, and Algerian eateries and boutiques still represent this today. Get ready for a delightful tour around this area of Marseille.

Gare Saint Charles

Though we don’t usually advise going to train stations, Gare Saint Charles in Marseille is a must-see because it boasts a beautiful stairway that leads into the city. The train station was built in 1848 and is recognized as a historical landmark!

The primary station where travelers arriving from Bordeaux or the French Riviera arrive is called Gare Saint Charles.

 Notre-Dame Basilica

One hundred fifty meters above sea level, the massive Basilica Notre-Dame de la Garde is located on Marseille’s highest point. It’s the city’s icon, visible from almost everywhere in Marseille. The view of the neighboring mountains from the summit is even more breathtaking.

Take the little train that departs from the ancient harbor every day or walk up the hill to the basilica.

Palais Longchamp

One of the things to do in Marseille is visit the Palais Longchamp! To provide drinking water to everyone, an 85-kilometer canal had to be built in the 19th century. After thirty years, the magnificent palace was constructed to commemorate the project’s completion. The botanical gardens, the Natural History Museum, and the Fine Art Museum can all be visited in a half day.

A day trip to Cassis

Between Marseille and Cassis, a quaint fishing village, it takes roughly thirty minutes. Renowned for its amazing beaches and charming small-town atmosphere, it boasts a sizable market filled with regionally made goods.

With its pastel-painted homes and eateries lining the little harbor, Cassis is like exploring a picture. For many Marseille residents, Cassis’s easily accessible white sand beaches are a favorite place to get away.

Calanques National Park

Calanques National Park, an area of varied landscapes, distinctive hiking trails along the sea cliffs, and unparalleled beaches along the way, is the reason Cassis is most visited. It’s simple to go to the first two beaches, Port Pin and Port-Miou.

Calanque d’En Vau is the most remote beach of them all; you can choose to spend 90 minutes hiking there or stopping at one of those two and unwinding. Wear appropriate footwear so you can follow the trail.

Alternatively, explore the national park to the fullest by signing up for an electric bike trip.

How to get to Marseille

Despite being in the far south of France, Marseille has excellent land links to other towns throughout the continent. Be advised that you are visiting a very crowded city with little space if you are traveling by car. In the city center, parking a car in a garage might cost up to thirty euros per day.

By Car

It is much simpler to explore Marseille’s suburbs if you rent a car. Since Sunny Cars collaborates with regional French automobile rental businesses, we suggest hiring a car there.

By Train

Take a high-speed train from Paris to Marseille in around 3.5 hours.
Take the Eurostar from London to Marseille in seven hours.
Train travels from Rotterdam or Amsterdam to Marseille in 6.5 hours on Saturdays!

By Plane

Numerous international flight destinations land at Marseille’s airport. The airport is located 27 kilometers northwest of the city. Take an airport shuttle bus from Saint Charles rail station to get there.

Getting Around Marseille

Marseille is best explored on foot because most attractions are in close proximity to one another, and the city is quite pedestrian-friendly. You can use the metro and tram lines, which travel to most areas of the city, to cover longer distances.

Similar to Bordeaux, there’s an excellent online system for city bike rentals. Pay simply 1 euro for a week’s ticket. The first thirty minutes are always free when you rent a bike. You may locate and return the bikes to nearly any location in Marseille.

Where to stay in Marseille

Our accommodations, the Best Western Hotel Marseille Bourse, were in a prime location close to the ancient harbor.

Your Budget for Marseille

With lodging included, a weekend in Marseille will run you about 160 euros each day. The city’s average prices are:

Costs of Traveling in Marseille

Take a low-cost weekly trip to Marseille for $440 − $830, a mid-range trip for $1020 − $1790, or a high-end trip for $1700 − $2370. On the other hand, expenses vary depending on activities, lodging, and transportation. Flights were not included.

It is much simpler to explore Marseille’s suburbs if you rent a car. Since Sunny Cars collaborates with regional French automobile rental businesses, we suggest hiring a car there.

Best Time to Visit Marseille

The best months to visit Marseille are April through June or September through October. You can explore the city without sweating because it’s a lovely temperature and the beaches are less crowded during this time.

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