Marseille, a port city in southern France, is a multicultural hub overlooking the Mediterranean. It’s a fantastic mix of old and new, with cobbled streets, wonderful seascapes, ancient districts and a state-of-the-art museum dedicated to the Mediterranean Sea.
Its natural harbour has made it an important trade centre for centuries and at its heart is the Old Port, where fishermen sell their catch along the boat lined quay. Marseille is a city made for wandering around where visitors can enjoy its historic old town to its quays with broad promenades.
Here are the top 10 things to do and see in Marseille :
10- Calanques National Park :
The Calanques National Park is located less than 9 miles south of Marseille and is an area of outstanding natural beauty. A national park since 2012, this area is home to a remarkably rich array of wildlife, hidden fishing villages and wonderful landscapes. The jagged limestone cliffs drop into secret pebble beaches, which are lapped by the aquamarine waters of the Mediterranean Sea, giving visitors great opportunities for swimming, walking, boating or just admiring the magnificent views.
9- Cathedrale de la Major :
This French national monument built in a spectacular Byzantine Romanesque style, dates from the 19th century and is as impressive inside as it is outside. With its high ceilings, fabulous mosaics, stunning statues and side chapels, the Cathedrale de la Major is definitely worth a visit.
8- Stade Vélodrome :
Even before a marvellous refurbishment in the build up to Euro 2016, Olympique de Marseille’s home stadium was one of the world’s football cathedrals. Now the largest football club stadium in the country, with a capacity of 67,000, it is protected from the weather by a spectacular undulating roof. Visitors can enjoy an interesting tour involving visiting the dressing rooms, seeing the highest point of the terraces and going pitch-side.
7- Basilique Notre-Dame de la Garde :
The Basilique Notre-Dame de la Garde, which translates as Our Lady of the Guard, was built in the 1850s on the foundation of Marseille’s ancient fortress. This church is one of Marseille’s most famous landmarks and is situated on the top of a hill overlooking the city and sea. Today, this working Catholic basilica is filled with stunning marble, beautiful murals and mosaics and is a wonderful place to enjoy sweeping panoramic views of the city below.
6- Old Port :
The Old Port of Marseille is at the end of the La Canebière, the major street of Marseille. It is a natural harbour and one of the most westerly of the inlets along the rocky coastline. The old port remains a thriving area for fishing boats, pleasure yachts and tourist boats. Access to the port area is available all day for visitors to enjoy the atmosphere and scenic views. To see the port from the water, visitors can hop aboard a ferryboat, which departs from the town hall several times a day.
5- Palais Longchamp :
Palais Longchamp opened in 1869 to celebrate the arrival of water from the Durance River to Marseille. This spectacular palace features a grand fountain and works by the famous animal sculptor Antoine Louis Barye. The right wing of the palace houses the Natural History Museum, while the Museum of Fine Arts was relocated to the left wing in 2013. The park around the palace also features a beautiful garden and a planetarium.
4- Hop-on Hop-off Colorbus Marseille :
Explore Marseille in a hassle free way with a Hop-on Hop-off pass valid for 1 or 2 days and covering 14 different stops. This gorgeous port city, first founded by Greek sailors in 600 BC, has lots to explore. There are also helpful commentaries in 6 languages to explain the sights as you go. This is one of the best ways to take in the sights France’s 3rd biggest city.
3- Le Panier :
Le Panier, meaning the Basket, gives a glimpse of Old Marseille and real Marseille culture. Located on the hill north of the Old Port, the area retains a village-like feel. From its narrow winding streets that spill into squares to its restaurants, workshops and terraced homes, Le Panier is a delightful place for visitors to wander.
2- Château d’If :
Marseille’s island fortress, the Château d’If on the delightfully named island ‘If’, is a short ferry ride from the old harbour. Visit the island fortress and get amazing views of the Old Port from the boat and the island itself. Visitors are able to learn all about the 16th-century castle’s history as a prison for enemies of the state and see old graffiti by past prisoners, making a great tour for guests of all ages.
1- Museum of European and Mediterranean :
Civilizations, also known as the MuCEM The stunning museum of European and Mediterranean Civilizations, that spans three entire buildings, is home to one of the most extensive collections of Mediterranean art and culture anywhere in the world. It is located next to Fort Saint Jean and opened in 2013 when Marseille was named a European Capital of Culture. Also known as the MuCEM, it explores Mediterranean civilizations and history, and provides an insightful look into the way they developed. Apart from exhibitions there are also mini films or lectures to help visitors better comprehend Mediterranean culture.
So that sums up our top 10 things to do and see in Marseille, we hope you enjoyed