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700 km. from Paris, 270 from Lyon via A7 and N7. Marseille International Airport. St Charles railway station (3h from Paris)

Discover the beautiful city of Marseille, capital of Provence

Marseille is a special entity in Provence. Founded in 600 B.C. by Greek sailors from Phocaea, it is France's oldest major city and certainly its most complex. France's 2nd largest city and 1st port, it was France's gateway to the Mediterranean in colonial times.

Today, Marseille remains a generous and cosmopolitan capital of southern Europe, with its accent, picturesque old port, bouillabaisse and popular folklore.

Marseille is a little-known city that doesn't just fall into the visitor's lap. It's well worth a visit with a guide, and there's even a free guided tour available:

Marseille's neighborhoods

A city of contrasts, with its old quarters (Le Panier near the old port), its luminous corniche facing the sea, its wild calanques plunging into deep-blue waters along 20 km of coastline as far as Cassis, Marseille's economic role in Provence is one of its most important. To discover its baroque beauty and soak up its personality, don't hesitate to leave the heart of the city center: each district (there are over 100) is a little Provencal village, with its church, its plane trees, its boulodrome...

Here are our favorite neighborhoods:

The Panier district

The Panier district, located in the 2nd arrondissement, is one of Marseille's oldest and most typical neighborhoods. Once the heart of the city of Massalia, today it's a veritable open-air museum. Rich in history and culture, its narrow streets are brimming with surprises.

Among the must-see sites in Panier is the Vieille Charité, a former 17th-century hospice that now houses museums and exhibitions. The district is also popular for its artisanal boutiques and tasty restaurants, offering an authentic immersion in the soul of the Phocéenne city.

If you'd like to explore this fascinating district, we recommend you book a tour with this excellent Marseille guide.

Marseille's Endoume district

The Endoume district is a veritable village in the heart of the city. Located in the 7th arrondissement, it is appreciated for its seaside location and authentic atmosphere. The district is renowned for its picturesque alleyways, small fishing ports and magnificent coves.

Endoume is also rich in history, with notable sites such as Saint-Eugène church and the tide gauge. It's a place where tradition meets modernity, with a vibrant local life. The district is served by the N° 83 bus, making it easy for visitors to get around.

Points of interest include the Vallon des Auffes, a small fishing port perched on the Corniche Kennedy, offering a serene setting and numerous gastronomic possibilities.

Endoume is a blend of hills and sea, offering visitors breathtaking coastal panoramas.

Marseille's Noailles district

Nestled in the 1st arrondissement, the Noailles district is a veritable condensation of Marseille's cultural diversity and effervescence. Nicknamed the “Belly of Marseille”, this district is famous for its daily market and narrow streets, where you'll find a multitude of products from all over the world. Its many oriental-flavored stalls and old-fashioned stores give Noailles a unique vibrancy.

The district is also rich in history. You'll find emblematic landmarks such as the Maison Empereur, Marseille's oldest hardware store still in business, and the Mémorial de la Marseillaise, which traces the history of the French national anthem. Noailles is a district that lives and breathes to the rhythm of its residents and visitors alike, with a mix of neighborhood life that makes it one of the most vibrant parts of the city.

The Old Port district

The Vieux-Port district, the emblematic heart of Marseille, is a place full of history and life. A vibrant historic site, it offers a constant spectacle, with boats coming and going, and lively terraces lining the harbor.

Le vieux port de Marseille.

o fully appreciate the Vieux-Port, you need to discover it from different vantage points. Among the best are the esplanade de la Tourette, Fort Saint-Jean, the Jardin du Pharo, in front of the Abbaye Saint-Victor and from Notre-Dame de la Garde.

Finally, don't forget to stroll along the quayside, where you can sample tasty local cuisine in the many restaurants and cafés.

The Vieux-Port is much more than just a tourist attraction; it's the beating heart of Marseille, a place steeped in history and life that's well worth exploring.

Notre Dame de la Garde: the “good mother”

After climbing up to Notre Dame de la Garde, patron saint of sailors and towering 162m above the sea, you can head to l'Estaque in the footsteps of Cézanne, or to la Treille at the foot of Marcel Pagnol's hills. Marseille can also be discovered from the open sea.

What to do and see in Marseille?

Here are a few ideas for activities and outings in and around Marseille. We can also recommend some very pleasant excursions with professional local guides.

Free guided tour of Marseille

If you're looking for a good guide to discover Marseille like never before, we recommend this free tour organized by our Marseille guide friends.

The MUCEM Museum: a must-see!

Inaugurated in 2013, the Musée des Civilisations de l'Europe et de la Méditerranée (MUCEM) is a symbol of the cultural openness of Marseille, a city with a long history of Mediterranean culture. The museum covers more than 45,000 m², spread over three sites: the J4, Fort Saint-Jean and the Galerie du 19M Marseille. It's a magnificent museum not to be missed on your visit to Marseille . We advise you to buy a ticket online in advance to avoid queuing!

Château d'If

The Iles du Frioul with the Chateau d'If (and its legend of the Count of Monte Cristo) offer a beautiful perspective of the city of Marseille. We advise you to book your tickets in advance, so you can get in at the time you want.

The beautiful calanques of Marseille

Marseille's calanques are a natural treasure trove for nature lovers and lovers of breathtaking scenery. Here are a few of the most remarkable:

  • Calanque de Sormiou: This is the largest of Marseille's calanques. Accessed via a winding road, it offers a pebble beach ideal for swimming.

  • Calanque d'En-Vau: Considered by some to be the most beautiful, it is nestled between two high cliffs and boasts a small pebble beach.

  • Calanque de Morgiou: Renowned for its rugged beauty and small fishing port, this is a peaceful spot far from the hustle and bustle of the city.

  • Calanque de Sugiton: This is one of the most impressive of the calanques, with its two coves and breathtaking view of the island of Torpilleur.

Each of these calanques has its own unique atmosphere and scenery, and all are accessible either by sea or via the hiking trails of the Parc National des Calanques. Here's an excellent local guide to help you discover the beauty of Marseille's calanques.

OM and the Vélodrome make Marseille's hearts beat faster

It's impossible to devote a page to Marseille without mentioning the Olympique de Marseille and its legendary Vélodrome stadium. If you spend a little time in Marseille, you'll quickly realize that the city (and the whole Bouches du Rhône department) lives to the rhythm of its soccer team, and that the general mood is highly dependent on OM's sporting results. OM is an integral part of Marseille's culture and soul. A visit to the Stade Vélodrome is also a great idea for a day out.

What to see

Cathedral of the Major.
La Vieille Charite (old quarter of Panier).
Notre Dame de la Garde (a 19th century basilica).
The Jardin des Vestiges (ruins).
the Palaces of Longchamps and Pharo...

Leisure activities

Water sports (23 beaches), sailing (5 ports), fishing.
Boat rentals.
Golf, tennis, squash.
Salt water therapy (Thalassotherapy), night clubs, theaters.
Karaoke pubs in Marseille.
Soccer stadium Stade Velodrome (Football): Olympique de Marseille.
21 museums : MuCEM, Marseille history museum, Borely Museum...
Maison de l'Artisanat.

Bed and breakfast

2 charming guest rooms incl 1 suite 57m²
Air conditioning - Swimming pool
Terrace - Garden - 300 m from beaches

110€ - 160€

Nice room with terraces very sunny,
quiet in the chic 8th, between the beach and the Old Port

100€ - 100€

Holiday rentals

PREMIUM Villas Provence
Aix en Provence (Pays d'Aix) | Marseille : 30 km - Avignon : 80 km

A holiday rentals selection
Specialized real estate agency

1500€ - 9950€

Take off with the Marseille boat rental and treat yourself to a great escape.
The creeks, the Frioul islands, the French Riviera, Corsica: easily book the ideal boat, with or without a skipper for your project.

170€ - 1100€

RESIDHOTEL Tourism residence resort
Apartments for 2 to 6 persons.
A few steps from Prado avenue

367€ - 796€


Holiday rentals.
Boat rentals.
Bed and breakfast.
Campsites in the area: Aubagne, Cassis and La Ciotat.


You've sent us many questions about the beautiful city of Marseille. Here are our answers to your most frequently asked questions, for the benefit of all our readers.

Where to spend the day in Marseille?

As we detailed earlier on this page, there's plenty to do in Marseille. Visit the Château d'If, hike in the Parc National des Calanques, swim in the Etang de Berre or in the Mediterranean. Marseille is an ideally located commune in the Bouches du Rhône region, with plenty to see and do.

What's the most beautiful place in Marseille?

It's hard to choose! We love the Old Port and the Panier and Endoume districts. A trip to Marseille's calanques is also a must when visiting the city. Climbing up to Notre-Dame-de-la-Garde in fine weather is also very pleasant, and the view is magnificent.

Is it dangerous to visit Marseille?

No, it's not dangerous to visit Marseille - in fact, you'll feel “strangely” safe. Although Marseille has one of the highest crime rates in the Provence-Alpes Côte d'Azur region, you'll be safe in the tourist areas. The only dangerous neighborhoods are those on the outskirts, where drug trafficking is rife. Just don't walk around with a luxury watch or handbag, to avoid attracting any potential muggers.

Le vieux port de Marseille.
Calanques de Marseille.
Le vieux port de Marseille.
Marseille quartier.
Tourisme Marseille.
Notre Dame de la Garde.


Aubagne (20 km), Cassis (32 km) et Aix en Provence (33 km).

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Main villages of the area: