With 1.6 million people in its urban area (2019), Marseille (Provençal: Marselha) is the second most populated city of France (and third urban area) the biggest Mediterranean port and the economic center of the Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur region. In 2013 the city (with its region) was the European Capital of Culture, a large series of cultural events took place, and several new infrastructures were inaugurated.
Marseille has a complex history. It was founded by the Phoceans (from the Greek city of Phocea) in 600 BC and is one of the oldest cities in Europe. The town is a far cry from the Cézanne paintings and Provençal clichés of sleepy villages, "pétanque" players and Marcel Pagnol novels. With around one million inhabitants, Marseille is the second largest city in France in terms of population and the largest in terms of area. Its population is a real melting pot of different cultures. It is also said that there are more Comorian people in Marseille than in Comoros! Indeed, the people of Marseille have varying ethnic backgrounds, with a lot of Italians and Spaniards having immigrated to the area after the Second World War.
For people not afraid to discover a real place with real people, Marseille is the place. From colourful markets (like Noailles market) that will make you feel like you are in Africa, to the Calanques (a natural area of big cliffs falling into the sea - Calanque means fjord), from the Panier area (the oldest place of the town and historically the place where newcomers installed) to the Vieux-Port (old harbor) and the Corniche (a road along the sea) Marseille has definitely a lot to offer.
Forget the Canebière, forget the "savon de Marseille" (Marseille soap), forget the clichés, and just have a ride from l'Estaque to Les Goudes. You will not forget it.
- 1 Office de Tourisme et des Congrès de Marseille (Main Tourist Office), 11, la Canebière, ☏ +33 826 500 500, [email protected]. M-Sa 09:00 - 07:00, Su and holidays 10:00 - 05:00.
|Climate chart (explanation)|
The city experiences a Mediterranean climate with cool winters and hot summers. Winters are cooler and windier than in other areas of the French Riviera, but also sunnier (sunshine hours are among the highest in Europe). Spring, on the other hand, features a much faster warm-up than in nearby Nice. Autumn experiences variable temperatures and is generally the cloudiest season of the year. Summers are hot and dry, but the sea breeze moderates the heat and makes it more comfortable.
1 Marseille-Provence International Airport (MRS IATA) (about 30 km from Marseille).
Getting to the airport:
- Bus. Bus #91 is the easiest way to get to Marseille's city centre. The shuttle leaves approximately every 15-20 minutes, taking 25 minutes and goes directly to the St. Charles bus/train station where you can take the metro or walk to your hotel. The price is €10 for a one-way or €16 for a round-trip (as of May 2022). Buses go to some other directions too.
- Train. The airport is served by the Vitrolles Marseille Provence Airport train station on the TER network. This train station can be reached in 5 min by bus #13, departing from bus station's platform 5. This TER line serves Marseille and Miramas in one direction, and Arles, Tarascon, Nîmes and Montpellier in the other.
- Taxi. The airport website indicates the price of €50 for a trip to Marseille during the day and €60 at night.
Marseille sees TGV trains from Paris (3 hours) via Lyon (1hr 45min), Nice (2 hours) and from Brussels (5 hours). Slower Intercités trains connects with cities not on the TGV network. All trains within France are run by SNCF or for low-cost TGV by Ouigo. Additionally, Eurostar has previously offered an all year round direct service from London (6½ hours); they were discontinued in 2020, and there is no indication (Oct 2022) that they will resume.
For travel from Spain, there are daily AVE service operated by a joint venture of the French and Spanish railway companies from Barcelona (4½ hours), and Madrid (8 hours). Alternatively, there are frequent connections to Cerbère and onwards to Barcelona by means of a series of regional trains.
Regional TER are frequent and connects with several nearby cities and can be a cheaper alternative then using TGV trains for shorter journeys.
The main station of Marseille is 2 Gare Saint-Charles, at Square Narvik a few hundred metres north of the absolute city centre.It's a short walk from the Canebière and the Old Port, but the station is slightly uphill which might be inconvenient if you have heavy luggage. The station is open between 04:30 to around 01:00, information on departures and arrivals as well as practical information can be found at Gares SNFC webpage.
- Nice – Buses leave from Nice Gare SNCF at 05:22, 06:23, 08:13, 11:23, 14:23, 15:12, 16:23, 17:40, 18:13, and 19:13, often daily. They take about 3 hr and cost €33. There are additional direct connections from Nice Care Routière Vauban and Nice airport via Aix-en-Provence. See https://zou.maregionsud.fr/ .
FlixBus has many connections all over Europe.
- Gare Routière St Charles (bus station) (next to the main train station St. Charles; access through Platform N), ☏ +33 4 91 08 16 40, [email protected]. M Tu Th F 07:30-19:00; W Sa Su holidays: 08:00 - 13:00, 14:00 - 19:00.
Marseille is very well connected to most French cities through numerous highways. As always in France those highways are expensive but practical, comfortable and fast. Marseille is around 8 hours from Paris by car, 2 hours from Nice, 1 hr 30 min from Montpellier, 4 hours from Toulouse and 3 hours from Lyon. However, be aware that driving in the city centre is a nightmare - park your car somewhere safe and stick to public transport whenever you can.
Marseille has a big harbour. There are direct daily services to Marseille from Ajaccio, Bastia, Porto Torres, Porto-Vecchio, and Propriano as well as ferries traversing the Mediterranean from Oran and Algiers in Algeria, usually with one or two crossings per week.
There are several piers at the harbour, so it is advisable to check well in advance from which pier you are departing.
If traveling by bicycle, you should arrive early in the day to avoid getting lost in this vast metropolis. Maps from the tourist office focus on the city center, so you should come with your own map to navigate the suburbs.
By bus, tramway, métro
Marseille is served by a transit system, the Régie des Transports de Marseille (RTM) comprising 2 métro (subway) lines, 2 tram lines and 74 bus lines. If you have any mobility problems, are in a wheel chair or have a child in a push chair, you should be aware that almost every métro station has steps in it somewhere and some will have several flights of stairs - stick to the trams and buses which are a better option.
The tickets for bus/tram/métro can be bought in the cafes, at the métro stations, or on the bus; it is advised to buy a 10 journey ticket at €15 (+ 10 cents for the reusable card), which are not sold in the buses. The number of transfers is unlimited (including the return journeys) within the one-hour limit between the first boarding and last transfer on all the network (you must validate with each entry to the bus). The métro runs between 05:00 and 00:30. The tram system operates until 00:30 7 days a week. Most bus routes do not operate after 21:00 or so, although a limited network of night buses (Fluobus) operates with infrequent service (only about every 45–60 minutes or so) until about 00:30 or so. Using a taxi is recommended if you need to travel after 21:00. There is no service at all on 1 May.
The Pilote website, includes all the bus, tram and métro schedules but is easier to read than the RTM sites. Moreover, this site repeats the schedules of the majority of transport in common runs of the agglomeration (tram, bus interurban, trains regional) and makes it possible to search for journeys in Marseille and the nearby communes.
There is a useful RTM app for both Android and iPhone providing journey planning & timetable info. It is reasonably obvious to use even if you don't speak French.
Airport transfers are available for €8.30 each way to/from Gare St Charles. Tickets may be bought at the cabin between Hall 1 and Hall 3/4 of the main terminal and at a separate kiosk in the new Gare Routière, after Voie N in the Gare St Charles. The bus runs every 20 minutes on 10, 30, and 50 minutes past the hour. The ride is about 30 minutes. The bus says Navette Aeroport Gare St Charles on it. From Gare St Charles, the metro can get you to most hotels.
Single tickets allow unlimited transfers onto bus or tram within 1 hour of initial use for the €1.70 fare and one entry (1 hour limit) to the metro. A daily ticket (carte journée) costs €5.20 or 72 hours for €10.80. If you a are staying longer there is 7 day pass €15.50 but this requires a "La Carte" personalised transport card which is free but you will require a passport sized photo & photo ID. It can be obtained from a RTM customer reception like the one in St Charles.
Like most large cities, there is a city pass that include entrance to various attractions. Check whether they meet your needs before purchase; as starting at €27 (Adult) for 24 hours, they are an expensive option for transport alone.
A Ferry Boat crosses the Old Harbour (Vieux Port). It is a tourist attraction in itself known as the shortest commercial boat ride in Europe. Several other ferries propose connections with L'Estaque, Les Goudes, La Pointe-Rouge and Le Frioul. They cost €10 return trip but a 1-week RTM transportation pass (€14.50; passport and color photo needed) comprises them (except Frioul island) which is very interesting. Also there are several companies proposing boat tours of the Calanque, like mini-cruises.
Avoid taking your car if you possibly can. Marseille, at least the centre, has narrow streets, one-way streets, random lane changes and so on which can drive both locals and non-locals crazy. The local drivers have a well deserved reputation for fearlessness - particularly if they are on two wheels. In addition, Marseille has some of the lowest parking fines in France - parking fines are rarely enforced and consequently you will find cars parked (and sometimes double parked) everywhere.
Due to the new tunnel that is being built to try to alleviate some of Marseille's traffic problems, satellite navigational systems such as the Tom Tom are likely to be out of date and dangerous if followed. For instance, following a Tom Tom in the centre of Marseille could take you across newly installed pedestrian areas or Tram lines. The one-way system has also completely changed.
Be careful of rogue taxi drivers. While there aren't many, there are a few and a €20 ride can quickly become a €40 ride. If you think you've been cheated get the taxi driver's number (in the rear of the car, often on the window) and go to the Tourist's Office at 4, La Canebière (near Le Vieux Port) and speak to a representative, they can and will get your money back if you've been ripped off. They will also get the taxi driver in significant trouble.
Marseille has the excellent le vélo cycle hire scheme in place (but a very small number of cycle paths), this makes it possible to get round the city quickly and very reasonably. It costs €1 for a week's subscription. Each time you hire a bike, the first 30 minutes are free, then each hour costs €1. There is a €150 deposit which will be charged if you don't return the bike properly.
- 1 Vieux Port (old harbour). Watching fishermen selling their stock by auction is a must. Arriving into Marseille in the Vieux-Port on a summer evening is something you will never forget. You can watch this show by going to Frioul islands or Chateau d'If and going back late in the afternoon. there is also a nice view on the harbour from the Palais du Pharo (Pharo Palace). The famous Canebière avenue goes straight down the harbour. However the Canebière is not that interesting despite its reputation.
- 2 Basilique Notre Dame de la Garde, Rue Fort du Sanctuaire (Bus 60 goes from the Vieux Port to N-D de La Garde. Free Parking at the entrance of the church.). 07:00 - 18:15 in winter, 07:00 - 19:15 in summer. The big church which overlooks the city. Old fishermen used to have their boats blessed in this church. You can still see many boat models hanging around in the church. From there it is one of the nicest view of the city. You can use the tourist train from the Vieux Port to reach the church - you can get off the train, look around and board a later train back to the port.
- 3 Abbey of Saint Victor, 3 Rue de l'Abbaye.
- 4 L'Hotel de Ville. Marseille City Hall
- 5 Le Panier (Marseille’s old town) (the old town can be easily accessed from the Vieux Port. It is not recommended to drive there). Le Panier (which means basket in French) is the historical centre of the city. This district is characterized by many narrow and steep streets. The tourist office organises a guided tour in English of the Old town every Saturday at 14:00. You can begin your tour from the Vieux-Port and finish at the Mucem or vice versa. A recommended trail of this district is also proposed by the tourist office.
- 6 Marseille Cathedral (Cathédrale Sainte-Marie-Majeure de Marseille or Cathédrale de la Major), Place de la Major (walk from the Mucem or take the less frequent bus 82 or 49 (stop at La Major)). 10:00 -19:00. A Byzantine-Roman cathedral at the western side of Le Panier quarter.
- 7 La Vieille Charité, 2 Rue de la Charité (at the Northern side of Le Panier quarter). is a wonderful old monument, a former charitable housing for poor, now hosting museums and exhibitions.
- 8 Cours Belsunce.
- 9 Place Castellane. With a grand fountain/column/sculpture in the center, with excellent cinemas and cafés surrounding. There is another place called La Castellane: it is a poor suburb of Marseille where famous footballer Zinedine Zidane was born.
- 10 Cours Julien (metro stop Cours Julien/Notre Dame du Mont). A hangout area with bookstores, cafés, fountains, and a playground for the small ones. It is a trendy area of Marseille.
- 11 Place Jean Jaurès. La Plaine is the local name for Place Jean Jaurès close to Cours Julien. Every Thursday and Saturday morning the Plaine market is the place to shop. If you are there early enough you can make very good deals, even if what you'll find there is sometimes "tombé du camion" (fallen off the truck) as one says in Marseille.
- 12 Noailles quarter (metro Noailles). Lined with Arabic and Indo-Chinese shops some of the streets could be part of a bazzaar in Algeria. A fascinating area.
- 13 Palais Longchamp (Cinq Avenues Longchamp M1 ; tram #2, stops "Longchamp" or "Cinq Avenues"). It houses the city's Musée des Beaux-Arts and Natural History Museum. The surrounding park (the Parc Longchamp) is listed by the French Ministry of Culture as one of the Notable Gardens of France. The Boulevard Longchamp connects it with the city centre.
- 14 Fort Saint-Jean, Parvis Saint Laurent (Walk West on the Northern quay of the Old Port until you hit the Fort). Open until 19:00. Fort Saint-Jean is a fortification at the North-Western end of the Old Port, built in 1660 by Louis XIV. The fort also hosts the Museum "Musée des Civilisations de l'Europe et de la Méditerranée", but the fortification itself is accessible to the public free of cost, and worth a visit. You can walk through the old fortifications, stroll through a small park, enjoy the view on the Old Port or on the sea, or walk over the free-hanging bridges to the museum or the Church Saint-Laurent. The Fort also offers a 10-min video show about the history of Marseille and the Fort. free entrance.
- 15 Vallon des Auffes (Bus 83, Stop at Vallon des Auffes and take the stairs.). Small and out of time traditional fishing port, just near the city centre.
- Parc Borély (Borely park). A large and great park containing Château Borély, 300 meters from the sea. After a siesta in the park go have a drink at Escale Borely (a place with numerous restaurants and bars on the beach) to see the sunset.
Museums and places of interest
- 16 Musée des civilisations de l'Europe et de la Méditerranée (MuCEM) (Bus #82, 82s, 60, 49. Vieux-Port M1 or Joliette M2 plus 10 mins walk). The first French national museum outside of Paris. It has large permanent and temporary exhibitions. Its architecture mixes a very contemporary structure (a dark box) with an old castle, with footbridges linking the two parts of the museum.
- 17 Musée des beaux-arts de Marseille, Palais Longchamp, Aile gauche (Cinq Avenues Longchamp M1 ; tram #2, stops "Longchamp" or "Cinq Avenues"), [email protected]. Tu-Su 08:00-18:00, M closed. The painting collection includes works of the French, Italian, Spanish and Northern (Flanders and Holland) schools. Permanent collection free.
- Natural History Museum (Muséum d’histoire naturelle de Marseille), Palais Longchamp (aile droite), Boulevard Jardin Zoologique.
- 18 Musée Cantini, 19 Rue Grignan (Estrangin M1 ), ☏ +33 4 13 94 83 30, [email protected]. Tu-Su 09:00-18:00. Museum focusing on modern art from the late 19th century until the mid-late 20th century.
- 19 Museum of Contemporary Art (MAC) (Musee d'art contemporain), 69 Av. d'Haifa (bus #23 & #45 from Rond-Point du Prado M2 ), ☏ +33 4 13 94 83 50. closed for works check website for reopening. Later works from the Cantini collection. Situated in southern suburbs but easily reached by Metro then bus.
- 20 FRAC Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur, 31 rue Vincent Leblanc, 13002 Marseille (bus #35, #55 & #82 Jolette M2 & T2&T3). W-Sa 12PM-7PM, Su 2PM-6PM. Contemporary art in a building designed by architect Kengo Kuma. Part of a national network . 5 € Full, 2,50 € reduced (-25 +60 Students).
- 21 Musée des Docks Romains, 10 Place Vivaux, ☏ +33 4 91 91 24 62. Built to preserve the archeological finds at the former warehouses of the old harbour from Phoenician and Roman times
- 22 Archaeological Museum (Musée d'Archéologie méditerranéenne), Centre de la Vieille Charité, 2 Rue de la Charité, ☏ +33 4 91 14 58 59, fax: +33 4 91 14 58 76. Tu-SU 09:00-18:00. Displays of Egyptian antiquities and classical antiquities. Full €9, reduced €5.
- 23 Marseille History Museum (MHM) (Musée d'Histoire de Marseille - (MHM)), 2 Rue Henri Barbusse (Vieux-Port M1 Bus #33,34,89,57,48A,35,57,61,21 & 41). 9AM-6PM (closed M). Discover 26 centuries of history in archaeology, fine arts, everyday objects & architecture. There is a mobile app. Permanent collections: free; Exhibitions circa 6€ / reduced 3€.
- 24 Deportation Memorial (Mémorial des déportations), Avenue Vaudoyer (Close to the MuCEM). Tu-Fr11AM-6PM; Sa 7 Su 9AM-6PM. Memorial relating to repression & persecution during WWII. Run by the Marseille History Museum (MHM). free.
- 25 Museum of the Decorative Arts, Fashion and Ceramics (Musée des Arts décoratifs, de la Faïence et de la Mode), Château Borély, 134 Avenue Clot-Bey (in Parc Borély; #44 bus from Rond-Point du Prado M2 ), ☏ +33 4 91 55 33 60, [email protected]. Tu-Su 09:00-18:00. Château Borély and its grounds are pretty impressive before you start with the museum. Often the exhibits are scattered amongst the furniture in the house. free for permanent items.
- 26 Motorcycle Museum (Musée de la Moto), 18 rue Jean Marsac Quartier du Merlan 13013 (Bus #32, 38 or Malpassé M1 then bus #38), ☏ +33 4 91 55 48 43. Tu-Sa 9AM-5PM. Museum situated in former flour mill featuring motorcycles from 1885 to the present day. Four levels of bikes. Permanent collection: free, exhibitions eur6-12 also free for -18 & EU students 18-26.
- Mazargues War Cemetery, On the way to Luminy. A war cemetery dedicated to World War I and World War II martyrs from the Allies, especially the Indian and Chinese gunners and runners. A very serene place, it is the perfect place to spend sometime thinking about the people who laid down their lives to give us the freedom we enjoy today.
- la Corniche: a walkway and a road by the sea that provides lovely views of the sea, the Chateau d'If to the south, and les Calanques to the east.
- 27 Unité d'Habitation. Designed by Le Corbusier, and one of 17 of his buildings to be listed as a World Heritage Site. The building is called "la maison du fada" (the house of the foolish) by locals. The building contains a shopping street, a church, a children's school and housing. You can access the roof and enjoy the breathtaking view of Marseille between hills and sea (10:00-18:00). There is a bar/restaurant/hotel on the 3rd floor too. Take bus 21 from Rond-Point du Prado metro.
Outside of town
- The Calanques. The Calanques are a series of miniature fjords to the south of Marseille near Cassis. From Marseille these are best accessed from the University campus at Luminy which can be reached by bus #21 departing from Rond Point du Prado opposite the Stade Velodrome or from Vieux Port. The 'fjords' are amazing with wonderful blue sea and spectacular lime stone cliffs. The walk along the coast from Cassis to Marseille is spectacular, it can be done in one day at a fast pace. The trail (GR) is clearly marked (red and white strips). From Luminy, you can turn left to Cassis or right to Callelongue (bus #20 connects you to bus #19, which takes you to Rond-Point du Prado M2 for connections to the centre, or you can use also bus #21, 23). From June to September some of the Calanques can be closed due to high risk of fire. Since 2022, in order to preserve the National Park from erosion due to the large number of visitors, it is now mandatory to make a free reservation to visit Pierres Tombées and Sugiton's calanques during the summer.
- Château d'If The Château d'If is built small island off the city, initially as a defensive structure and was later used a prison. It is most famous for its place in the novel The Count of Monte-Cristo by Alexandre Dumas. Tourist boats leave from the Vieux Port.
- Allauch and Plan de Cuques are communes on the outskirts of Marseille, both blessed with beautiful countryside. You can take the metro to La Rose M1 and then a bus #142, #144. Take a picnic and go for a walk in the hills, the views of Marseille and the Mediterranean are stunning.
- L'Estaque and côte bleue L'Estaque is fishing port that is just starting to exploit its tourist potential through its connections to Cézanne. You can get there on the #35 bus from Joliette M2 .
You can visit the fabulous restaurants and cafes. You can go and do many adventurous things such as diving and hiring boats! The calanques (fjords) between Marseille and La Ciotat are a very popular sports climbing area. And of course, if the weather is fine, you can simply go to the beach!
- Watch football at the Vélodrome, home to Olympique de Marseille. They play in Ligue 1, the top tier of French football, and often qualify for European tournaments. The stadium, capacity 67,394, is in St Giniez district 2 km south of the city centre, use Metro station Rond-Point du Prado. Buy match tickets on-line or from the L'OM shop in Vieux Port.
- The festival Avec le Temps that occurs every spring at the Espace Julien (one of the main concerts halls in town) consists in many concerts of French artists, in many genre (Pop, Chanson, Rock, Folk.)
- La Fête Bleue, "the Blue Festival" at the end of June. A lot of shows (concerts, movie projections, exhibits) occur in many places in the city, and the theme is the colour blue.
- La Fête du Panier, at the end of June. During two days, you will be able to see shows, concerts and markets in the oldest area of the town.
- Le FDAmM or Festival de Danse et des Arts Multiples de Marseille, is the main dance festival in Marseille and lasts all summer.
- Le festival du Plateau, at the Cours Julien, in September.
- The music festival Marsatac occurs in the end of September and was created 10 years ago. Artists who performed there were for example Public Enemy, Nouvelle Vague, dEUS, Mogwai, Peaches, Amon Tobin, De La Soul, Laurent Garnier, Aphex Twin....
- La Fiesta Des Suds, at the Dock des Suds, in October is a famous festival dedicated to World music. You can attend concerts of artists such as Asian Dub Foundation, Buena Vista Social Club, Cesaria Evora.
- La Foire aux Santons is a very picturesque Christmas market held from late November near the Canebière and Vieux Port. Provence is the home of santons, terracotta figurines used in nativity scènes known as crèches. Some merchants and many churches display impressive crèches of their own.
- Rugby Union World Cup is held 8 Sep - 28 Oct 2023, with matches in Marseille, Paris, Lyon, Lille, Bordeaux, Saint-Étienne, Nice, Nantes and Toulouse.
- 1 City of Music (Cité de la Musique), 4 rue Bernard du Bois (Jules Guesde M2 ). Music school & concert halls Diverse musical types
- 2 CEPAC Silo, 35 quai du Lazaret, 13002. (bus #35, 82; tram Euroméditerranée Gantes T2&T3; Désirée Clary M2 ), [email protected]. Concert venue/theatre in a former grain silo. The performance space is reconfigurable according to the type of show performed. Total capacity 2,050 seats.
- 3 Cinéma l'Alhambra, 2 Rue du Cinéma (Bus# 36, 36B from Bougainville M2 ), [email protected]. Art House Cinema with original 1930s facade out of the city centre. Shows some films in VO (the original language) Adult €6.
Let's be honest, beaches in Marseille are not always great. Moreover, depending on the weather, they can be rather polluted.
However the small beaches south of the city centre between La Pointe Rouge harbour and La Madrague harbour are cleaner, nicer and usually slightly less crowded.
There are also good sandy beaches at L'Estaque - take bus #35 from Joliette metro/tram stop to the end of the line (20–25 minutes).
Marseille is home to many universities and has a reputation for great education. The universities have a wide array of focuses from art to business.
- École d’Architecture de Marseille (Marseille School of Architecture), 184, avenue de Luminy, ☏ +33 4 91 82 71 00, fax: +33 4-91-82-71-80.
- Main focus on Architecture
- Institut de Mathématiques de Luminy (Luminy Institute of Mathematics), 163, avenue de Luminy, ☏ +33 4 91 26 96 30. Main focus on Mathematics.
- Euromed École de Management (Euromed School of Management), 65, Boulevard Balthazar Blanc, ☏ +33 491 827 800, fax: +33 491 827 821.
- Main focus on Business (Business Management and International Business)
- Université Aix-Marseille III (Aix-Marseille University III), 3, avenue Robert-Schuman, ☏ +33 4 42 17 28 00.
- General studies university
- Faculté de Médecine de Marseille (Marseille Faculty of Medicine), 27 Boulevard Jean Moulin, ☏ +33 4 91 32 43 00.
- Main focus on Medical Field and Pharmaceuticals
Unsurprisingly, Marseille's cuisine is focused on fish and seafood. Its two flag-bearing specialities being the famous fish broth "bouillabaisse" and "aïoli", a garlic sauce served with vegetables and dried cod.
La Bouillabaisse de Marseille
La bouillabaisse is an excellent fish-based soup served with la rouille (a garlic-saffron sauce) and bread similar to crostini. In fact, Bouillabaisse is a 2-course meal: first you get soup from the pot, then you get the rest, i.e. fish.
La bouillabaisse cannot be enjoyed on the cheap. If you are invited to the home of someone making bouillabaisse, then you are in the clear. But never eat cheap bouillabaisse at a restaurant unless it's not called bouillabaisse; only eat it at a place where you have to reserve in advance.
There are lots of Kebab restaurants along the Canebière. Many cheap, authentic couscous eateries are to be found around the Cours Belsunce, where the local Maghrebic immigrants have their lunch.
Around the Basilique Notre-Dame
- 1 Café Cantine, 17 Pl. Joseph Etienne. This little place has the best food made fresh onsite! Very kind and friendly staff. Fast service, fresh and good products. Very warm welcome and very good homemade meal.
- 2 Sampolo, 14 Av. de la Corse. Sampolo is a nice family place. The dishes and desserts are very tasty and homemade. Great place and great atmosphere in the evening.
- 3 Brasserie Le Saint Victor, 126 Bd de la Corderie. A very friendly neighborhood brasserie with good traditional dishes and caring, fast and efficient staff. The catering is excellent with a wide variety of daily specials.
- 4 Moon Burger, 29 Bd de la Corderie. The quality is exceptional, the products are fresh, the bread is homemade, the meat is succulent. The homemade sauces are top of the line. Also the staff is very warm and attentive.
- 5 Santa Pizza, 88 Rue Sainte. Very good pizza and pasta. Hearty toppings, thin crust, tasty ingredients.
- 6 Perle d'Asie, 29 Rue d'Endoume. A cuisine that makes us rediscover Asian flavors. There is a possibility of having vegetarian spring rolls.
In the city center
- 7 five pizza original, 11 Rue de la République. Interesting concept, which is very simple: You create your pizza by choosing all the toppings of your pizza with a lot of choice on an electronic terminal.
- 8 Restaurant Le Palmier, 42 Rue Vacon. A very good Tunisian restaurant with a good welcome and a good meal.
- 9 Chez Tri, 33 Rue Coutellerie. An extraordinary and very pleasant Vietnamese restaurant! Fresh and especially homemade products.
- 10 Le Par Azar - Restaurant Libanais, 31 Grand Rue. Small Lebanese restaurant. The food is very good, homemade and very fresh. The small terrace is pleasant even if it is on the side of the road.
- 11 New School Tacos, 24 Rue Vacon. Super welcoming and the quality of the tacos is exceptionally good.
- 12 L'heure de Marseille, 24 Rue Pavillon. Very good Indian and Pakanian dishes and fast food. Quiet street with terrace. Best Naan Poulet.
- 13 Bodrum City Kebab, 42 Cr Belsunce. Clean and comfortable establishment, air-conditioned room. Very pleasant staff. Wide variety of choice and very tasty for dishes.
- Sur le Pouce, 2 Rue des Convalescents, ☏ +33 4 91 56 13 28. Daily 11:30-15:30, 19:00-22:30. Very tasty, copious and affordable Tunisian restaurant.
- 14 Café l'Écomotive, 4Pl. des Marseillaises (near the foot of the large staircase by Gare Saint Charles.), ☏ +33 6 52 35 83 31, [email protected]. Sa Su 09:30-18:00, M-F 08:30-18:00. Excellent veggie café Mains €12.
- 15 Flower burger, 64 Av. Robert Schuman (near Jolette M2 ). 12-2:30PM, 6:30PM-10PM (MON 9.30PM). Multi coloured buns and no meat.
Many affordable restaurants with sunny terraces are to be found on Cours Julien, a pedestrian-only street near the Canebière and the "Plaine".
- 16 (next to the St Victor Fort), ☏ +33 4 91 33 32 12. This bakery is famous for its "Navette" dry biscuit which recipe has been kept secret for almost a century. This is one of Marseille's culinary specialities. Not to miss.
- 17 La Boite à Sardine, 2 Boulevard de la Libération (m. Canebière Réformés), ☏ +33 4 91 50 95 95, [email protected]. Despite its name, there is no canned fish in the menu there. A member of Gourméditerrannée association.
- 18 Le Cercle Rouge, 41 Rue Adolphe Thiers (just off the Canebiere). This unusual restaurant does excellent Corsican tapas such as figatelli sausage, stuffed artichokes, panchetta in honey and red mullet in tomato sauce. Worth booking to get a spot on the lovely terrace.
- 19 L'Epuisette, 156 rue du Vallon des Auffes. Its amazing location in the very picturesque Vallon des Auffes harbour is an undeniable plus. Seafood specialities and affordable bouillabaisse.
- 20 La Riviera, Place Joseph Vidal (At the end of the parking lot and the most western part of the Pointe Rouge beach.), ☏ +33 4 91 73 27 27. Tu-Su 11:30 - 15:00, 19:30 - 22:30. Good fish restaurant where you can try "Soupe de poisson à la rouille" and other Marseille's sea food. Sea view.
- Le Richelieu, 8 Place de Rome, 13006 Marseille, France.
- 21 Le Glacier du Roi, 4 Place de Lenche, ☏ +33 4 91 91 01 16. Perhaps the best ice cream establishment in the city. Yet another member of Gourméditerrannée association.
- 22 Chez Michel, 6 rue des Catalans (Bus 83, 81 and 54, stop Catalans), ☏ +33 4 91 52 30 63. For bouillabaisse and other sea food.
- 23 Chez Fonfon, 140, Vallon des Auffes (Vallon des Auffes), ☏ +33 4 91 52 14 38, [email protected]. Seafood (again bouillabaisse), nice views.
- 24 La Table du Fort, 8, rue Fort Notre Dame (by the Vieux Port). A gastronomical restaurant consistently ranked among the city's best, specialized in seafood and fish dishes.
- 25 Le Petit Nice Passédat. A 3-star Michelin restaurant on an idyllic location by the sea, facing the islands, held by local celebrity chef Gérald Passédat. It ranks among Southern France's very best restaurants and serves the best bouillabaisse in town at a cost. From €180 pp.
- 26 1860 Le Palais, 9 La Canebière (by the Vieux Port), ☏ +33 4 91 99 54 84. 07:30 - 23:00. Very good classic French cuisine, made from quality products, in the historic building of the Chamber of Commerce. One of the best places near the old port.
Lots of new places have opened in Marseille, at night, three main districts are interesting (besides beaches between April and October where people go and spend the night), the Old Port with lots of bars and pubs (particularly on the southern side and on Cours d'Estienne d'Orves, La Plaine/Cours Julien with numerous alternative and underground bars, and La Joliette/J4 with trendy chic new bars and clubs. However La Friche should not be forgotten, particularly during summer when the very large rooftop hosts dj parties for free every Friday and Saturday. For events and concert agenda, see La Nuit Magazine or printed paper Ventilo, particularly during summer as lots of music festivals, boat parties (mini-cruises at night with djs in the Calanques for €20-40), rooftop parties and concerts take places.
- O'Brady's Irish Pub, 378, Avenue de Mazargues, ☏ +33 4 91 71 53 71. Su 12:00–01:30; M-Sa 11:00–01:30.
- [dead link] Shamrock Irish Pub, 17, Quai de Rive-Neuve, ☏ +33 4 91 33 11 01.
- Red Lion: small English pub at Notre dame du mont.
- Red Lion (same name): famous and renowned English pub at La Pointe Rouge, southern Marseille, next to the beach.
- Le 143 bar à bières, 143 Rue Sainte, ☏ +33 6 49 49 53 29. Tu-Sa 16:30-01:00, closed Su M.
- Beer District Marseille, 4 Rue de la République (close to the Vieux Port). Beer Hall
- Les BerThoM Marseille, 31 Cr Honoré d'Estienne d'Orves. Modern craft beer bar.
- La Cane bière, 32 Bd Philippon (near Cinq Avenues tram stop), ☏ +33 7 69 89 67 19. M-F 8:30AM-10PM, Sa 10AM-10PM. Enormous selection for such a small place. Confusingly not on the Canebière.
- Corner, 7 Rue de la Paix Marcel Paul. Beer Hall on the corner of the street!
- Polikarpov, 24 Cours Honoré d'Estienne d'Orves, ☏ +33 4 91 52 70 30. Lively and good value late bar with outside terrace. Does a wide range of cocktails and one of the cheaper places for beer.
- Le Marengo, 45 Rue Sainte Françoise, ☏ +33 4 91 91 56 49. In "Le Panier", a nice terrace with a nice atmosphere
- E-wine: on Le Cours Julien, small bar with terrace where some local house and techno djs play.
- Bar des 13 Coins, 45 Rue Sainte Françoise, ☏ +33 4 91 91 56 49. Next to the Old Port, small bar with terrace which offers a huge number of cocktails for €5.
- le Petit Nice: on La Plaine next to the Cours Julien, nice little cafe.
- Le Barberousse: between the Vieux-Port and l'Opéra, rhum-specialised bar with pirates and boat decoration.
- Play Bar: small gay bar between the Vieux-Port and Notre Dame de la Garde, rue Breteuil.
- Le Trolleybus, 24 quai de Rive Neuve, ☏ +33 4 91 54 30 45. This three room cave-like club, is a great place to go if you like to listen to different types of music. One room or cave, plays hit music, another room plays underground techno and house music (room led by La Dame Noir records), and the last room plays jazzy and 1950-60s music. The drink prices range from €5 for a mixed drink or well beer to €10 for more quality alcohol.
- Le Cosy Bar, 1 rue du Chantier. Le Cosy Bar is a club aimed at the younger demographic. This is a multi-roomed club, plays top music in techno, dub step, hip hop, and reggae til 06:00. Le Cosy Bar is known for their extravagant theme nights such as Moscow Beach, where everyone's attire is mixed between winter wear and beach clothes, and Soiree Pyjamas, where everyone dressing in pajamas. The drink prices are €5-10, like most of the other night clubs in the area.
- Le Baby, 90 Boulevard Rabatau, ☏ +33 6 58 52 15 15. The best electronic music club in Marseille. €5 in advance or €10 with a drink.
- Le Palais de la Major, Boulevard du Littoral. Restaurant and club under the Major cathedral, the place hosts live bands from Corsica playing French and international hits. The place is luxurious and beautiful people fit in.
- Hello Marseille Hostel, 12 rue de Breteuil, ☏ +33 9 54 80 75 05, [email protected]. It's in a safe area in the very center of Marseille, the “Vieux Port”. They offer shared rooms accommodating 6 people for the single price of €20 only. 24/7 reception & security. multilingual staff, no curfew; Online booking and reservation; Accommodation in 6 persons large rooms with lockers. Breakfast offered (French baguette, butter & marmalade, fruits, coffee at will); Linens included; Single price €20/person/night. Services: laundry, luggage store, printer, free city bikes spot; free Wi-fi everywhere, skype-ready computer at disposal in the lobby. Sunny balcony, cosy lounge, guest kitchen, large TV screen with international channels.
- Hotel Lutetia. From €60. Between the St Charles Train Station and the old port +33 491 508 178. A renovated hostel with free internet, great atmosphere, and friendly staff.
- 1 Auberge de Jeunesse Marseille - Bois Luzy, Allée des Primevères (1 km north ofLa Fourragère M1 , bus #9 Félibres Aiguillette till around 21:00), ☏ +33 4 91 49 06 18, [email protected]. reception 09:00 - 10:00, 17:00 - 21:00. Closed from Late November to the start of March. The hostel is in a château north of the city centre, about 15 minutes walk from the Metro station. Beautiful views across the city. 22-40 per per person per night.
- Adagio Marseille Prado Plage, 46 rue des Mousses, ☏ +33 4 912 297 00. Completely renovated, the residence is in the heart of the Le Prado quarter, 100 metres from the beach, easy to get to via the Avenue du Prado or the Corniche. It lies in a quiet residential area close to a large number of restaurants and the Palais des Congrès. This site can accommodate people with reduced mobility (minor disabilities, elderly people) with an able-bodied escort and families with young children.
- Hotel Kyriad Rabatau, Boulevard Rabatau Daniel Matalon 162 (Distance from Vieux-Port 3 km), ☏ +33 4 91 80 31 00, [email protected]. Clean basic hotel. Room includes air-conditioner, bathroom and water boiler. Nearest metro station Sainte-Marguerite Dromel is situated 1.2 km from hotel to south.
- New Hotel has four different hotels in Marseille tailored to individual needs. For a quiet and greenery stay, the New Hotel Bompard is particularly suitable, while being close to the city center.
- Hotel La résidence du Vieux Port Marseille. Completely renovated in 2010 in a 1950s style with a tribute to Charlotte Perriand and Le Corbusier. The hotel offers beautiful views of Marseille from its balconies and three suites on the top floor have terraces overlooking the Old Harbour and the Church. All the rooms are facing the port.
- Best Western La Joliette, 49 Avenue Robert Schumann, ☏ +33 1 45 74 76 72. Check-in: 14:00, check-out: 10:00. Clean, cosy hotel in a quiet location near Joliette metro/tram station. Good location for the port and Le Panier.
- 2 Novotel Marseille Vieux Port, 36 Boulevard Charles Livon, ☏ +33 4 96 11 42 11. A four-star resort near the Pharo gardens overlooking the Vieux Port with impressive views. The place to stay for most public figures.
- 3 Le Petit Nice Passedat, 17 Rue des Braves, ☏ +33 4 91 59 25 92. One of the city's most upmarket hotels, this villa by the sea boasts the region's only Michelin 3-star restaurant.
Marseille has 5G from all French carriers. Wifi is widely available in public places, transport, cafes and so on.
For much of its history - and to this day - Marseille has been seen by many people in France as a crime-ridden city, and this is sadly not entirely unwarranted. Nevertheless, tourists will have a great time by taking the basic precautions, and the city center is very safe.
However, muggings and pickpockets have dramatically increased, so do avoid carrying valuables and watch your surroundings, like in most cities. Most of the northern neighbourhoods (quartiers nord), with the very notable exceptions of L'Estaque and Château-Gombert, are among the most dangerous in France outside the Paris area, and should be avoided by tourists. Thankfully, there is no reason for going there.
Furthermore, Marseille is one of the few cities in France to still have prevalent Mafias and gangs.
The area around Boulevard Michelet teems with prostitutes and should be avoided on soccer nights, as you can meet potentially angry and drunk Olympique de Marseille hooligans.
Houses of worship
- Notre-Dame de la Garde, Rue Fort du Sanctuaire, ☏ +33 4 91 13 40 80.
- Eglise réformée de Grignan Centre Sud, 15 Rue Grignan, ☏ +33 4 91 33 17 10.
- Eglise Réformée de France, 103 La Canebière, ☏ +33 4 91 17 06 40.
- Eglise Arménienne, 339 Avenue Prado, ☏ +33 4 91 77 84 70.
- Eglise Ev Baptiste Paix Aujourd'hui, 95 Boulevard de Strasbourg, ☏ +33 4 91 64 08 09.
- Eglise Biblique Baptiste de Marseille, 72 Boulevard Plombières, ☏ +33 6 81 84 55 69.
- Eglise Chrétienne de Réveil, 4 Place Sébastopol, ☏ +33 4 91 34 35 63.
- Consistoire Israëlite de Marseille, 117 Rue Breteuil, ☏ +33 4 91 37 49 64.
- [formerly dead link] Centre Communautaire Israélite, 184 Avenue Lazare Carnot, ☏ +33 4 94 92 61 05.
- China, 20 Boulevard Carmagnole, ☏ +33 4-91-32-00-00, fax: +33 4-91-32-00-08.
- Indonesia, 25 Boulevard Carmagnole, ☏ +33 491 230160, fax: +33 491 714032, [email protected].
- Japan, 70, Avenue de Hambourg, ☏ +33 4 91-16-81-81, fax: +33 4 91-72-55-46.
- Romania, 157, bd. Michelet, ☏ +33 4 91221787, [email protected]. M-Th 09:00-14:00.
- United Kingdom, 10.3 Rue des Docks, ☏ +33 4 91 15 72 10. M W F 09:30-12:30.
- United States, Place Varian Fry, ☏ +33 4-91-54-92-00, fax: +33 4-91-55-56-95.
- Aix-en-Provence: Easily reached by Cartreize coach or SNCF train. There is a dedicated express coach from St Charles station which takes 30–40 minutes.
- Cassis: attractive sea resort south-east of Marseille.