The oldest city in France, is situated in the southeast region of the country. Founded by Greek sailors around 600 BC, it is a lovely, sunny city in the Mediterranean region. As France’s second-largest and most populous city, it is also one of the regions with the fastest growth rates. It attracts tourists who grow to love the city with every visit thanks to its moderate climate, abundant sunshine, and vibrant colors.

As the 2013 European Capital of Culture, present Marseille is teeming with great nightlife, alluring restaurants, theaters, beaches, museums, outdoor activities, and even an international football stadium. Its natural harbor is protected by limestone hills on the Gulf of Lion and the Rhone River’s canal.

Marseille has a distinct atmosphere despite lacking the iconic beauty of Paris thanks to its lovely waterfront and old buildings. The Old Port is a favorite destination for tourists because of its charming colors, breathtaking scenery, and unique food. This travel guide can assist you in organizing your trip, cutting costs, and making the most of your stay in Marseille if you’re thinking about taking a vacation there.

Top attractions

There are many outstanding cultural and historical landmarks. As a result, you can anticipate finding many noteworthy sights in the city, particularly in terms of culture. The Notre-Dame-de-la-Garde, Le Vieux Port, and the Chateau Borely Museum of Decorative Arts and Fashion, are some of the best-known places to visit.

Notre-Dame de la Garde, exploring the charming old town

Notre Dame de la Garde, Marseille, Located in French second largest city, Marseille.

In the 19th century, Notre Dame de la Garde was constructed on a holy site that was located on the breathtaking hilltop that is Marseille’s highest point. This structure stands out against the Old Port’s southern skyline and is difficult to miss due to its stunning interior and exterior architecture, as well as its magnificent 360-degree view of the city.

The Notre-Dame de la Garde should be a stop on any tour of Marseille because it is a significant part of the city’s identity. Both the building itself and the views of Marseille and the sea make this a lovely location to visit.

Visiting the MuCEM (Museum of European and Mediterranean Civilizations)

Inside Marseille’s most cutting-edge modern museum, the city’s ancient Mediterranean heritage comes to life. The modern museum MuCEM, which opened in 2013, revitalized a section of Marseille’s waterfront next to the 17th-century Fort de Saint-Jean.

This enormous museum, which is spread across three separate locations and is a stunning complex, offers a wealth of discoveries. This, along with lectures and movie screenings to help visitors better understand the Mediterranean culture. The exotic museum’s diverse subjects include gods, spices, routes of travel, and gardens.

The cube-shaped structure, which oozes ultra-modern architecture, is home to several exhibits highlighting Mediterranean culture. If you want to experience Marseille with a modern flavor, you should include it in your sightseeing itinerary.

Count of Monte Cristo Calanques National Park

The stunning Calanques, a section of the coast between Marseille and Cassis, are a must-visit for anyone who enjoys yachting and boating excursions, particularly in the summer.

This majestic location will satisfy all of your needs, whether you want to go on a hike or just relax and take in the scenery. The rich biodiversity looks like something out of fantasy, with pebbles and fine sand beaches, and tiny fjords with clear blue waters. The area is ideal for water activities like kayaking, sunbathing, and studying the ocean floor.

Port City the Old Port Saint Charles Station

The Vieux Port of Marseille has a flawless, even fantastic, quality. For more than 2,600 years, the rectangular waterfront port has been a major hub for French trade and cultural interchange.

The majority of the boats in the old port are for leisure even though trading activities have been relocated to the contemporary docks. It is a fantastic destination and tourist hotspot where travelers on holiday can go to take pictures and eat delicious seafood. It’s also a great location to observe the boats, ride the Ferris wheel, and participate in other outdoor activities.

Stay around the area until the early evening for some stunning views of the sunsets, which are especially breathtaking during the summer.

Our Lady of the Guard Fort

A visit to Fort Saint-Jean, an impressive fortress built in the 12th century and the former residence of the Knights of Saint John, will be a necessary part of your city tour in Marseille. The Chateau d’If, one of Marseille’s most striking landmarks, is located on the smallest island of the nearby Frioul Archipelago, not far from the old city’s coast.

It offers spectacular views of the sea and Old Port and is a must-visit tourist location. Protected coves, clear waters, immaculate beaches, sandy creeks, and astounding limestone cliffs make for breathtaking landscapes. The illumination has a great effect on the water due to the Mediterranean sun, and a climate encourages the growth of rare floral species.

Visitors can discover all about the castle’s past as a prison for actual state enemies by visiting this location. Both the breathtaking views from the island of the Vieux Port and the eerie tales of the prisoners kept in cells will be thrilling.

Fine Arts Museum

It can be challenging to comprehend the 26 centuries of history of Marseille, but this excellent museum close to the Old Port will be expository. Discover artwork from the 16th to the 19th century at the Musée des Beaux-Arts, Marseille, a must-see attraction in Marseille. A staggering collection of historical artefacts from 2,600 years of history is available at the museum.

The colorful, spacious rooms of this elegant museum bring the collections of archaeology and history to life. The 3rd-century BC port of Massalia was excavated in the museum’s garden, the Jardin des Vestiges.

Maps and models depicting Marseille in all stages of its history are also on display in addition to this collection of treasures dating from the Ancient Greeks to the 20th century. The building also connects to an archeological site with barricades, port structures, and a Colosseum.

Events in Marseille

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Where to Stay in Marseille for Sightseeing

If you have planned on a vacation to Marseille, you’ll find accommodation in these recommended hotels:

Luxury Hotels

The Basilique Notre-Dame de la Garde is visible across the harbour from the Hotel La Residence Du Vieux Port, which offers spectacular views of the waterfront. This four-star hotel offers friendly service and a welcoming setting.

On top of a hill in Le Panier, the Intercontinental Marseille – Hotel-Dieu is situated within a Historical Monument. A fantastic restaurant and a luxurious spa with an interior pool and gymnasium are both featured in this five-star hotel.

Mid-Range Hotels

In the heart of the city, close to a variety of eateries and shops, is the three-star Hotel Escale Oceania Marseille. Elegant, contemporary guest rooms come with big windows, individual verandas.

The Radisson Blu Hotel Marseille Vieux Port offers excellent views of the Old Port and four-star facilities right on the water. The world-class eatery, outdoor pool, and sundeck are all favourites among visitors.

Budget Hotels

Le Panier neighborhood is only a short stroll from the 2-star Hotel Hermes Vieux Port, which also has a rooftop terrace with views of the Old Port. For a cheap hotel, their facilities surpass expectations.

The inexpensive Ibis Marseille Centre Gare Saint-Charles offers basic lodging close to the city center. This three-star hotel offers a shuttle to the airport as well as an eatery with inviting outdoor space.

About the Author

I am Mehdi Ramzi, the founder of the blog "Hello French Riviera", dedicated to the French Riviera. I am passionate about this region and I share my knowledge about the activities, places and events not to be missed. I am also an avid surfer and chess player. I am a big fan of Arsenal and I am passionate about technology. I combine my passion for the French Riviera and technology by running this blog.

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