Marseille is a cosmopolitan melting pot unlike any other city in France, the fact of which residents are extremely proud. Every neighbourhood has a different feel about it, from the city centre’s historic French buildings to Noailles’ colourful African market. The city exudes authenticity; it’s full of real people with real stories. All of this makes Marseille an incredibly rich cultural and historical experience, and it doesn’t end there. It’s location on the Mediterranean means there is also lots to do outside the city with miles and miles of rugged coastline to explore.
Places to go in and around Marseille
Marseille has been an important port for thousands of years, and the wealth and prosperity that this standing brought has left its mark in the form of daunting military fortifications, ornate churches and opulent buildings that can still be seen today. Head to the Old Port and visit St. Victor's Abbey, one of the oldest sites of Christian worship in France, and the massive forts of St. Nicolas and St. Jean. In the hills south of the Old Port stands the enormous 19th century church Notre-Dame-de-la-Garde, offering panoramic views of the city. From there you may be able to make out another historic landmark on an island the Bay of Marseille. Take a boat tour out to it and explore the once infamous jail Château d'If. The city centre also boasts museums that bring to life the city’s history like the Musée du Vieux Marseille. There is just as much to see and do in the area surrounding Marseille as in the city itself, with islands, beaches, coves, rocky cliffs and the sea on its doorstep.
Our Top Picks in Marseille
We want you to enjoy the best that Marseille has to offer and so here's a selection of our favourite things to see and do;
Immortalised in Alexandre Dumas's famous novel ‘The Count of Monte Cristo’, Château d'If is an imposing fortress situated on a tiny island in the Frioul Archipelago in the Bay of Marseille. Once one of France’s most feared and notorious jails, the fortress is now a popular tourist attraction. Walk around the islands high ramparts, climb its narrow towers and explore its cramped cells that once housed political and religious dissidents.
Marseille en 2CV
Tour the sights of Marseille in a unique fashion that compliments the distinctive culture of the city; get chauffeured around in a classic Citroën 2CV. You’ll be taken to all the most beautiful and historic parts of the city: down the wide boulevards of the Canebière and along the narrow hill roads near the Notre-Dame de la Garde. All the while your driver will narrate stories about the places and probably a few tales of his own experiences as well.
Stretching from Marseille to Cassis along the Mediterranean is some of the most spectacular coastline anywhere in Europe. Plunging into the deep blue waters below, the sheer cliffs are a patchwork of jagged white rock and lush green foliage that stretch as far as the eye can see in both directions. Cliff top vantage points like Corniche des Crêtes and Cap Canaille offer breathtaking views, as do the boat tours that operate out of Marseille.
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