Marseille, a historic and bustling town in the heart of the Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur region in southern France, is a captivating blend of tradition and modernity. With a history dating back over 2,600 years, it stands as France's oldest city, which has contributed to its remarkable cultural diversity. The town's iconic “Vieux-Port”, an ancient harbor where fishermen still sell their catch of the day, offers a glimpse into Marseille's maritime roots. Wandering through the meandering streets of the Old Town, you'll encounter vibrant markets, charming cafes, and historic churches. Marseille's lively spirit is reflected in its cultural scene, with numerous museums, galleries, and theaters, and it is a melting pot of cultures that adds a unique flavor to its cuisine, from the iconic bouillabaisse to tantalizing North African influences. Beyond the city's historic core, the modern districts and bustling nightlife provide a stark contrast, making Marseille an intriguing and diverse destination that promises to captivate travelers seeking a taste of authentic French culture.
Official website of the Tourist Office of Marseille
The district of “Le Panier”
Lose yourself in the Panier district, Marseille's oldest neighborhood, where the city's history began. Take the time to stroll through the narrow streets and admire the colors of Provence, but don't miss out on Marseille's emblematic Old Port, the city's liveliest landmark. Stroll along the harbor's large cobblestone quays and relax with a coffee on the terrace. You can also admire the ombrière, Norman Foster's mirror, a unique creation.
Cosmopolitan and authentic, Marseille is well worth a visit.
The Abbey of Saint Victor
A visit to the Abbaye Saint-Victor and its crypts will immerse you in the city's religious heritage, and will offer you a breathtaking view of the Vieux-Port. As a matter of fact, its tower has been a landmark in the landscape for many Marseillais.
Not only can you enjoy the magnificent panorama, but you can also visit this monument that has shaped the history of Marseille, which is a veritable showcase of Paleo-Christian art. With its crypts, chapels and sarcophagi, you're sure to enjoy your visit.
« Notre Dame de la Garde » basilica
An emblematic figure of the city of Marseille, she watches over sailors, fishermen and all Marseillais. During your stay in Marseille, pay a visit to the "Good Mother", as she is known in the city, and admire the panoramic view from the top of the hill. It can be seen from all four corners of the city, and faces the Mediterranean Sea in all its grandeur.
Thanks to its architectural beauty both inside and out, as well as its magnificent 360-degree view over the entire city, it is the most visited monument in Marseille. Accessible on foot or by tourist train, don't miss this must-see Marseille landmark!
*Proper attire is essential inside the Sanctuary.
For more information, please click here : « Notre-Dame de la Garde » Basilica.
The « Vieux Port » (Old Port)
Enjoy an early-morning stroll to take in the first rays of sunshine reflected on the boats, the market with its many fishmongers, and the panoramic view of the port.
You can also enjoy the festive atmosphere of the Vieux-Port in the evening, famous for its fish market, boats, period houses in the background, and countless restaurants and cafés lining the quays.
« Palais Longchamp »
The park has long been the ideal place for a quiet, relaxing stroll. It's not just a park, it was once a zoo, and this place is full of history.
You may not know it, but this historic monument houses a museum, an imposing waterfall with gargoyles and a field of flowers, as well as a go-karting area for children, puppet shows and pony rides.
The islands of Frioul and “Chateau d’If” (If Castle)
Take a boat trip to the islands of Frioul or If Castle, and discover the local flora and fauna, as well as a piece of the city's history, all perched on a rock. Take to the open seas for a real moment of escape, where you can see the crystal-clear waters, appreciate the seabed and explore the many relics of this archipelago.
Located in the Calanques National Park, they are now considered a Natura 2000 area by the European Union.
For more information, please click here : Frioul Islands & If castle
The Calanques of Marseille
A unique natural area
A Calanque is a very special geological formation of limestone rock. They are large rocky coves that form a narrow indentation entering the land. The Massif des Calanques is a highly protected national park, stretching some 20 km from Marseille to Cassis, and numbering no fewer than 26.
Exceptional underwater flora
Fauna and flora are omnipresent in the Parc National des Calanques massif. It's so diverse that it can be compared to an underwater garden. You'll come across octopus, anemones, sea urchins, sars and mussels, as well as sublets, oblades and even groupers.
For more information, please click here : Calanques
With almost 45,000 m² spread over three sites, the Mucem is a must-see in Marseille. It is located at the entrance to the port, on the J4 mole and in Fort Saint-Jean : two sites highly symbolic of the city's current development and its long history. The Musée des civilisations de l'Europe et de la Méditerranée, the first major national museum dedicated to Mediterranean civilizations for the 21st century and directed by Bruno Suzzarelli, opened its doors in Marseille on June 7, 2013. It has quickly become one of Marseille's most visited museums.
One museum, three places to visit:
- The J4 esplanade
- Fort Saint-Jean
- The Conservation and Resource Center (CCR)
For more information, please click here : Mucem
The Cosquer Cave
Your visit begins on the ground floor, in a diving club where Henri Cosquer used to prepare for his underwater excursions. You'll then descend to 37 meters under the sea, aboard a diving chamber (this is only a simulation, in reality you'll only go to level -2).
Once out of the chamber, you'll board small vehicles to travel back in time to the Paleolithic era. After 35 minutes of immersion, you'll be back on terra firma, where an exceptional documentary on the discovery of the cave will be shown.
For more information, please click here : Cosquer Cave