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"Urbane" renewal. This traditional port city received a huge injection of commercial cash this past decade, which refurbished docklands, tidied up public areas and pruned parks to perfection. Loaded with museums, theatres and cinemas, see this multi-cultural gem in all her reinvigorated glory.
The Old Port has been the beating heart of Marseille for centuries. It’s also hosted the same daily ritual for generations. As dawn breaks, cloaking the port in vermillion hues, fishermen prepare their market stalls. Come 08:00, it's in full swing. Set your alarm early and watch the market scene unfold, or just gaze out into the Mediterranean's seemingly endless horizon.Accommodations near Old Port of Marseille
Part-Byzantine, part-Gothic, candy-striped on the outside - this church is a curious collision of elements. Step inside and it's a marriage of hard and soft; red velvet against marble, solid gold against porphyry, stained glass wedged between concrete windows. Visit during a service to hear the ethereal sounds of the choir reverberate through the entire cathedral.Accommodations near La Major Cathedral
Marseille's "black box". This Rudi Ricciotti-designed museum is a razor-edged cuboid plonked in the docklands. Inside is a showcase of swathes of household objects from cultures that straddle both sides of the Mediterranean. See golden amulets salvaged from Greek temples, bejewelled snuffboxes and Jewish "ketubahs" on yellowing parchment.Accommodations near Museum of European and Mediterranean Civilisations
This brand-spanking-new mega-mall is more than a flash in the pan - it's filled with smile-inducing kids’ stores, international brand names, tip-top designers and a food hall that will send you to gastronomic heaven. The shopping centre faces out towards the sea, and has regular entertainment to keep the children happy, like singing clowns and piano-playing maestros.Accommodations near Les Terrasses du Port Shopping Centre
Mary on high. A statue of the Virgin Mary surveys the city and the sea from this hilltop basilica. From the outside, it's the highest building in Marseille. On the inside, it's notable for its lavish ornamentation. Gold, murals and mosaics blanket its massive dome, and stunning statues and shrines stand beneath the nave. An on-site museum tells the story of the basilica.Accommodations near Notre-Dame de la Garde Basilica
The houses touch the road. The road touches the footpaths. The footpaths frame a cobbled wall that leads down to the beachfront. Everything on this seafront promenade is sepia-coloured with hints of terracotta. On sunny days, the entire area has the faded luminescence of an old polaroid snap. Walk this 5-km stretch from Anse des Catalans to Prado Seaside Park.Accommodations near La Corniche
Stadiums or Arenas
For French footy fans, the words “L’Olympique de Marseille” send shivers up the spine. France’s most popular team inspires passion all over the country. It’s in this shirt-collar-shaped stadium that “L’OM” do their thing, to thunderous roars of support. As well as football matches, the Vélodrome also hosts big-name gigs, from old legends to thumping dance festivals.Accommodations near Velodrome Stadium
City stay plus beachside vay-kay – an equation for happiness? Marseille is riddled with beaches, some man-made, others sculpted by the sea. Test the waters at a few of them; young locals like happening Bonneveine Beach, and families prefer Prado North Beach. All and sundry head over to Huveaune Beach, which has gnarly sky-scraping surf waves.Accommodations near Plages du Prado
Park yourself here for a few hours. These botanical gardens contain a rich tapestry of dainty French country plots, children's play areas, curious sculptures and even a Japanese Zen garden. Jean-Michel Folon's "L'Homme aux oiseaux" in the 19th-century rock garden is a must-see. For refreshments and an afternoon's tête-à-tête, stop by the delightful Café Borély.Accommodations near Parc Borely
“All human wisdom is contained in these two words – "Wait and Hope". So ends Alexandre Dumas' novel "The Count of Monte Cristo", the tale of a monk incarcerated at this castle-turned-prison. That's exactly what he and countless others did at this 16th-century fortress. It's a maze of pitch-black cells inside, from which prisoners once peered out to the sea, waiting and hoping.Accommodations near Chateau d'If
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La Canebière is Marseille’s most famous street. Though no longer the luxury haven it was in the 19th century, it's still the residents’ go-to strip for chain shops, trinkets and everyday bits and pieces. Bargains can be found near Belsunce Cours, and there's no shortage of pâtisseries, boulangeries, bars and restaurants.Accommodations in Vieux Port - La Canebière
A little bit old, a little bit new. This student-filled area is jam-packed with nifty boutiques, after-Uni hangouts and its fair share of art shops. Walk around Edmond Rostand Street to find the best antique dealers, galleries and musty old bookshops, or Paradis, Grignan and Breteuil Streets to shop for luxury brands.Accommodations in Castellane et Préfecture
Residential bliss. Families love this area for its preponderance of parks and schools. It's also famed for its fabulous Friday market, which takes place from Rond-Point Castellane to Prado Avenue. This weekly event is great stock up on clothes, food and vintage objects. With so many locals milling about, it’s also perfect for people watching.Accommodations in Prado-Perier
Some sources say this is Europe's oldest district. Either way, Le Panier is all charm – paved streets, quaint alleys and colourful façades. It's also riddled with artist studios and boutiques. Take your time to explore them all! Check out the resilient Hôtel de Cabre. Marseille’s oldest building that managed to withstand a 1943 bombing raid..Accommodations in Le Panier
Up-and-coming and über-trendy. The former docklands once teemed with busy navvies and sturdy sailors, but today they’ve been transformed into a hive of commercialism. They're home to Les Terrasses du Port Shopping Centre and the Zaha Hadid-designed Tower Building, which is fast becoming an icon of Marseille's cityscape.Accommodations in Euromed - La Joliette
Guillaume has lots of close friends living in Marseille, and spends time with them whenever he can.
Marseille is famous for its traditional Provençal soaps, made with 72% oil, and you shouldn’t leave without taking some home. My local friends swear by 72% Pétanque, a shop which sells a wide range of genuine Savon de Marseille soaps, as well as other regional produce.Accommodations nearby
Born near Marseille, Delphine explored the city’s streets, La Corniche and Parc Borély as a child.
My best friends still live in the Sun City, and I love spending time with them there. One of our favourite spots to hang out is the terrace of La Caravelle bar, where you can sip a drink at sunset and admire the stunning views over the Old Port and Notre-Dame de la Garde Church.Accommodations nearby
Caroline frequently spends time in Marseille when visiting one of her best friends.
Between April and September every year, you can discover the city from the sea using the Marseille Transport Authority’s sea shuttles. For just EUR 5 each way, the 40-minute journey from the Old Port to L’Estaque or Pointe Rouge lets you see the city from a whole new angle!Accommodations nearby
Sophie enjoys soaking up the Marseille sun while visiting her little sister who’s studying there.
Tucked between Marseille and the Calanques National Park, Les Goudes is a narrow inlet where locals flock to swim. This tiny fishing village is the perfect place to enjoy a peaceful meal or drink in a uniquely Mediterranean setting.Accommodations nearby
Part of Frédérique’s family is from south-eastern France, meaning he often visits Marseille.
La Corniche is a 5 km seafront path connecting Marseille Old Port and Prado Beach, where you can run while enjoying fantastic views of the bay. For a longer run, you can head on to Parc Borély or stop off at Notre-Dame de la Garde – early morning runners may get the place to themselves.Accommodations nearby
Julien fell in love with Marseille after a fantastic holiday spent exploring the city and region.
Grand Hôtel Beauvau is one of Marseille's oldest hotels. In its 19th-century glory days, it accommodated artists and writers including Frédéric Chopin and Georges Sand. Today its first-floor lounge bar is a great place to have a sunset drink and watch the changing colours of the Old Port.Accommodations nearby
Pierre has lived near Marseille for 5 years and enjoys exploring the city’s hidden corners.
Just 10 km north of Marseille Old Port, this former fishing village is now the city’s 16th district. It was made popular by artists such as Cézanne and Renoir, whose works you can see in the L’Estaque Gallery. Locals also come to buy panisses (chickpea fritters) from seafront bungalows.Accommodations nearby
Originally from the south-west, Lauriane loves the Mediterranean scenery of Provence and Marseille.
Jardin du Pharo is the garden surrounding Pharo Palace, which is perched on the top of the peninsula above the Old Port. From up there, I like to gaze down on the ferries below and daydream about setting sail on a long boat journey to a far-off land.Accommodations nearby
Cécilia loves the Provençal spirit and multicultural vibe of the Sun City, where her family lives.
For fresh air and great views over Marseille and the Mediterranean Sea, don’t miss the city’s 40-metre-high ferris wheel. The wheel is right next to the beach and its carriages are open, giving you unrestricted views. I love watching the sunset and seeing the city light up at night.Accommodations nearby
Booking.com asked travelers...The beach means different things to different people. What did the beach in Marseille mean to you?
Marseille was the first stop in our tour of South-France and I wanted to go to the beach. It's not the classic French Riviera style, mostly just a few small beaches at the south of the city (not in the center). The coast is really rocky but there are a few hidden little gem beaches to try.See all 5 answers
Booking.com asked travelers...What makes Marseille one of those classic city-trip experiences?
Nightlife, sightseeing, city walks, restaurants, harbour, boats, markets - and all these in a great warm weather.See all 7 answers
Booking.com asked travelers...What is it in Marseille that makes history come to life?
Buildings and quarters, food and people of North African origins, and of course, the wonderful Marseille port.See all 4 answers
Booking.com asked travelers...What were the best places for wandering in Marseille's old town?
Fort St Jean, Cathedral on the port, Ambience of narrow streets and small shopsSee all 3 answers
Booking.com asked travelers...What seafood experience in Marseille is still on your mind?
Le Marseillais, really nice restaurant with delicious traditional fish soupSee all 9 answers
Booking.com asked travelers...How can you enjoy the sights in Marseille while avoiding the crowds?
you can go out early to avoid the crowds.See all 4 answers
Booking.com asked travelers...Where should people go if they don't want to eat in a tourist trap?
United States of America
Le Rhul for amazing bouillabaisseSee all 4 answers
Booking.com asked travelers...Describe the best ancient landmarks to visit in Marseille.
Fort St Jean Chateau D'IfSee all 5 answers
Booking.com asked travelers...What did you discover about the museums in Marseille that wasn't in the guidebooks?
Very new and shinySee all 4 answers
A taxi from Marseille Provence Airport to the centre costs EUR 50–60, with extra fees for luggage, pets and motorway tolls. The shuttle bus to St Charles Station is just as fast (25 minutes, traffic permitting) and far cheaper, at EUR 8.30. Buses leave from outside Halls 3 and 4 every 15 minutes from 04:50–18:10, less frequently at night. You can also take a free 5-minute shuttle to a nearby station, followed by a 25-minute train ride to St Charles for EUR 5.10.
St Charles is Marseille’s main railway station, situated around 1 km from the Old Port. It serves nearby cities via TER trains, as well as major French and European cities via SNCF and the high-speed TGV network. Tickets are available from machines and counters, and there are plenty of shops, cafés and vending machines. Signs and announcements are generally in French. A tourist office can be found just inside the station, open Monday-Friday from 10:00–17:00.
Buses crisscross Marseille daily from 05:00–21:00, with Fluobus night services taking over from 21:00–01:00. Almost all the city’s sights can be reached by bus, but your journey may take some time, depending on traffic. Tickets are valid across the RTM transport network and can be bought on the bus, from bus or metro stations and from the RTM office. A 1-hour ticket costs EUR 1.50 (EUR 1.90 if bought on the bus), and 3-day or 10-journey passes are also available.
Taxis in Marseille aren’t one specific kind of car, but always have a ‘taxi’ sign on the roof. The minimum price for a taxi ride is EUR 7, with a daytime trip from St Charles Station to the city centre charged at about EUR 15. Higher fares apply at night, at weekends and on bank holidays, and there are extra fees for luggage and pets. Some taxis accept credit cards: ask the driver before getting in. It’s also wise to ask the driver for an estimated price in advance.
Drivers and scooter riders in Marseille often seem to have their own interpretation of the Highway Code – expect high speeds and little patience with other road users. Traffic is heaviest from 08:00–10:00 and 17:00–19:00 and whenever it rains. Public car parks start at EUR 2.60 an hour, while on-street parking is limited to 4 hours maximum and costs EUR 0.50 per 30 minutes. Pay at the yellow parking meters, either in cash (exact change) or by credit card (with PIN).
Cycling is one of the best ways to see Marseille, although the city’s hills make for quite a workout. The Le Vélo network has various bicycle rental points, with one found every 300 metres or so. A 7-day subscription costs just EUR 1, plus a EUR 150 deposit which will be blocked on your credit card. The first 30 minutes of each trip is free, and usage costs EUR 1 per hour after that. The blue-and-grey bikes can be picked up and dropped off at any rental station.
Marseille’s metro system operates from 05:00–00:30 daily. The blue M1 line runs east-west and the red M2 line runs north-south, intersecting at St Charles and Castellane stations. A 1-hour ticket for the whole RTM transport network costs EUR 1.50. Three-day passes and 10-journey cards are also available. You can buy tickets from metro stations and tram stops, on buses or at the RTM office. Metro signs and announcements are usually only in French.
Marseille has 3 tram lines: T1, which runs from Noailles – Les Caillols, and T2, running from Blancarde – Arenc Le Silo. Line T3 runs from Arenc Le Silo – Castellane. Trams operate from around 05:00 to 00:30. A 1-hour ticket costs EUR 1.50 and is valid across the whole transport network. You can also buy a 3-day pass or a 10-journey card. Tickets are sold at tram stops, metro stations, on buses and at the RTM transport office. Most signs on trams are only in French.
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