Marseille Travel Guide

Marseille or Marseilles in English is the second largest French city on the Mediterranean and capital of Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur region. Our Marseille Travel Guide aims to share some of the must do things in the city outside visiting the Port. In 2013 the city won the European City of Culture and back in 1998 it hosted the FIFA world cup. Though the city didn’t have the best tourist imagine due to high crime rates and immigration, it’s a must see. In this Marseille Travel Guide, we share the places we visited and those we recommend on your next visit.

Founded on circa 600 BC, Marseille is the sunniest city in France due to the Mediterranean climate. The city is a melting point of various cultures from the Romans, the Greeks and others. Later the former French colonies have been added to the mix and a large population stemming from North Africa.

Marseille Travel Guide

Marseille Travel Guide – Popular Tourist Attractions

I can’t recall the moment when I felt the strong desire to visit this French city or even why. But I suspect it has something to do with the Ryanair deals that pop into my inbox every so often. Being a wanderlust I knew I had to visit this French city plus I needed a dose of Vitamin D. The UK has been solely lacking in that area but today does look promising for the country. Marseille Travel Guide includes all the places we visited during our 4-day visit and suggestions.

VIEUX-PORT {OLD PORT}

One of the most popular tourist attractions in the city, it is a vibrant yacht area surrounded by cafes and restaurants. Our hotel was a few minutes walk to the harbour, such an idyllic location to explore during our visit. We spent most of the time exploring the harbour, checking out the various fish markets and enjoying the sun. It is also where we grabbed a boat ride to visit the famous Chateau d’If.

Marseille Travel Guide

NOTRE-DAME DE LA GARDE

Sitting on the highest point in the city, the Lady of our Guard or Notre-Dame de la Garde is a must visit. The Basilica is catholic and most popular not only because of its impressive architecture but the 360 panoramic views. Constructed in 1852 the basilica has two levels, the crypt and the upper church both of which are incredible. You have to see it for yourself to believe just how beautiful it is, but be warned there are lots of stairs.

CHATEAU D’IF AND FRIOUL

Even if you don’t know the place, Chateau d’If I bet you’ve heard of The Count of Monte Cristo. Alexander Dumas wrote this incredible novel which became a world phenomenon even to this day. He based his novel on the former fortress which protected the city later turned prison. You could spend a good 2 hours exploring the island of If, so much to be explored and learned. We loved it, the views from the top were impressive and gave a 360 view of the Mediterranean. Frioul on the other hand is a preserved natural site in the heart of Calangues national park. Back in the 17th century the Frioul was used as a stopover for boats coming from the East and from Africa. It has also been used to defend the city, its isolation and natural shelters made it the fort to protect the city.

 

LA MAJOR {MARSEILLE CATHEDRAL}

A Roman catholic cathedral of Marseille considered as national monument and a minor Basilica since 1896. The cathedral consists of what’s left of the old cathedral and the new cathedral and is the largest in France. We decided to spend the time at the cathedral due to its proximity to the sea. The weather was perfect, many games were being played by the local kids outside. It is fascinating, not much traffic around but can get busy at time, you can get exquisite views of the cathedral from various angles.

THE CORNICHE

Whenever I think of the Corniche, my mind springs forward to the best one I have seen ever in Doha. It is a nice stretch of the beach coastline with such incredible views of the many skyscrapers. The Corniche in Marseille is a little different in that its incredible views are that of the Mediterranean sea. Needing a dose of Vitamin D, we spent a good time just walking along the longest stretch of coastline to soak it in.

Marseill Travel Guide

Marseille Travel Guide – Must Do

Whenever I travel anywhere new, I like to get a feel of the city by being a local for a day or two. It is nice checking out all the popular tourist attractions but everyday things should also be added into your visits. Simple things like;

Going Shopping

You don’t have to spend a fortunate in the city but simple things or even window shopping. Most days I like to visit flea markets or other local markets to pick up presents. I know my mum and sister love small cute items like purses so I often check those out. On this occasion we used a shopping trip to get a birthday present for OH and a couple of items for myself.

Dinner at the Port

When I travel alone, I rarely eat outside the home as I often opt for room service. But traveling with others I have the luxury of checking our restaurants further afield. We dined out every night and checked out different restaurants by the port. We managed to enjoy Marseille’s local Cuisine – La Bouillabaisse a very flavorful fish stew consisting of different fish.

Explore the city on foot

When traveling abroad with ageing parents, I minimise how much walking we do as it’s not always conducive. But where possible I enjoy exploring cities on foot as I feel I get to see more of the city. In Marseille we walked on the Corniche and also La Panier district which is a trendy part of the city. There is so much to be seen on foot, Marseille has beautiful alleyways across the city.

Grab a sightseeing bus

Whenever I am limited on time I often grab a sightseeing bus to maximise my visit. I am able to decide first off which places I want to allocate time to and how much. Then I focus on seeing those and if I have time to spare I explore other parts on foot. It is convenient to book sightseeing buses especially when you want to explore more places. In Marseille we took the Color:Bus because we didn’t wish to walk up high for the Basilica and was limited on time. We had four days but days 3 and 4 were spent in another town.

We definitely enjoyed our trip to Marseille and I can not wait to return with my parents. It is a place I fell in love with and I know my parents will definitely love it too.

Have you ever been to Marseille in the South of France? What other places would you include in our Marseille Travel Guide?

Marseille Travel Guide

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35 Comments

  1. April 29, 2018 / 5:13 am

    What an informative, thank you for sharing the history. Just in time when we’ve just booked our trip to France next year this is surely included!

    • April 29, 2018 / 11:58 am

      Glad to hear it, have a lovely time in France, its a lovely country to visit

  2. April 28, 2018 / 8:33 pm

    I would love to visit the yacht area and spend time sitting in the cafes. It really looks like such a wonderful place to visit.

    • April 29, 2018 / 12:00 pm

      It is an incredible place to visit, we have such an incredible time exploring all the places

  3. April 25, 2018 / 9:19 pm

    Thanks for sharing your tips on how to explore Marseille. I’ve never been there before but I do plan to go around Europe with my family in a couple of years! We could totally use this guide.

    • April 26, 2018 / 4:36 pm

      I wish you all the best, Marseille wasnt initially on the list but once i started researching i wanted to go

  4. Lynnette Marte
    April 24, 2018 / 6:04 am

    this is a great travel guide, so many things to see and do

  5. kim@hungryhealthygirl
    April 23, 2018 / 10:04 pm

    What neat things to see! I would love to travel here!

  6. Kara
    April 23, 2018 / 8:37 am

    Marsielle looks beautiful, I am still kicking myself for not exploring such a beautiful City

  7. Leonardo FlyingKids
    April 23, 2018 / 2:13 am

    Great place! Wonderful guide. Thanks for sharing. This is so helpful.

  8. Beth @ BethinaBox.com
    April 22, 2018 / 10:01 am

    I’ve never been to Marseilles but I would love to visit and your guide has just cemented that feeling. What a beautiful place to visit!

  9. April 21, 2018 / 7:24 pm

    I have been to Marseilles a few time! mainly to take the ferry to head over corsica and walking around the port! such a gorgeous city!

  10. mail4rosey
    April 21, 2018 / 3:07 pm

    I love the Count of Monte Cristo. I didn’t know there was an actual place. How awesome.

  11. Linda Hobbis
    April 21, 2018 / 3:02 pm

    I’ve never been to Marseille but I love France and would happily visit. I love the idea of the tour bus though – so much easier than trying to find everywhere yourself.

  12. Battle Mum (BattleMum)
    April 21, 2018 / 11:11 am

    This is a great guide. I’ve never been to Marseille and was always put off by the bad reports but you’ve convinced me it’s probably worth a visit x

  13. Katie Saville
    April 20, 2018 / 4:24 pm

    I visited Marseille as a child and I honestly think I remember walking around some of these places! I’d love to go back as an adult and take my kids to visit. Bouillabaisse is one of my favorite dishes too!

  14. Baby Isabella
    April 20, 2018 / 1:21 pm

    We would have never thought about visiting Marseille, but after reading this it sounds like a fascinating place. Love the idea of having dinner around the port area x

  15. LucyDorrington
    April 20, 2018 / 1:04 pm

    I’m a big fan of interesting architecture, so I think this place would suit me fine!

  16. Jyoti Babel
    April 20, 2018 / 12:35 pm

    Dreaming of visiting this place someday! Have been just to Paris and I loved it.

  17. Joanna
    April 21, 2018 / 11:32 am

    Great guide! I definitely want to visit there and its lovely to see what its link from someone who has been there and what there is to get up to.

  18. April 20, 2018 / 12:13 pm

    I like the sound of this city. Visited Paris a few times. Would be nice to visit other parts of France one day.

  19. Kaye Figuracion
    April 20, 2018 / 9:25 am

    I would love to visit this place. And, I’m glad I chanced upon your post. This will be very helpful on our trip planning.

  20. April 20, 2018 / 7:09 am

    This is a very detailed and informative travel guide for Marseille. Would recommend this post for my friends who study in France.

  21. Laura Dove
    April 20, 2018 / 10:50 pm

    I have been to Marseille years ago and absolutely loved it! It’s such a gorgeous place and so much to see!

  22. April 19, 2018 / 6:47 pm

    I love eating out when we are abroad and I think the old port would be where I would enjoy spending my time

  23. Cortny
    April 19, 2018 / 6:28 pm

    Wow, stunning photographs. It looks beautiful there, I’ve never been to Europe but hopping to get there one day soon!

  24. Natasha
    April 19, 2018 / 6:00 pm

    This looks fabulous and the photography is stunning. I have never thought about visiting Marseilles but it is on my list now! Thank you

  25. April 19, 2018 / 3:42 pm

    I’ve been to France, but I’ve never been to Marseille. It looks like such a beautiful city to visit, steeped in history! What a fabulous short break away!

  26. April 19, 2018 / 3:13 pm

    I’ve been to France several times but I never visited Marseille, looks wonderful x

  27. Missi
    April 20, 2018 / 2:05 pm

    Beautiful pictures! New destination for my bucket list 🙂

  28. Talya Stone
    April 19, 2018 / 2:30 pm

    I love the look of The Old Port it looks like it has some wonderful sights to take in as well as some lovely dining options too.

  29. Finitha Jose
    April 19, 2018 / 1:50 pm

    Marseilles is a beautiful city. Heard a lot about it from my friends from France.
    Your photos are amazing

  30. April 19, 2018 / 1:31 pm

    This is such a pretty city. I would jump on a sightseeing bus and explore it all. Plus I’d eat a lot of French food.

  31. April 20, 2018 / 10:20 am

    I always wanted to visit Marseille. Thank you for the guide and pics, everything looks so beautiful! I hope I will visit it some day!

  32. thomaja
    April 19, 2018 / 10:20 am

    This city is on a list of my cities for my bucket list! Nice Article. Is there a way to get there on a shoe string and not have to sleep in a bus terminal or a hostel (one and the same, if you ask me…)?

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