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Tourist map: discover the places to see in marseille.

You are planning to visit Marseille and its region, but you don't know where to go first? All you have to do is follow us!

We were all once lost in an unknown city, questioning with fear and clumsiness the first friendly soul who crossed our way. Don't waste any more time with approximate or totally false explanations found in old Marseille plans! Don't try to decode our beautiful and sometimes overly melodious accent either! Marseille Tourisme is here to help you and has considered everything!

We have selected the best places to walk around  during your holidays or weekend in Marseille! Do you want to go with friends or family for a cheap holiday? We advise you on activities in Marseille without breaking your budget.

If you are wondering what to do in Marseille, you are definitely in the right place. We have designed an online Marseille map, updated regularly with the essentials.

You can explore the city to discover the monuments of Marseille or find a beach where you can put your towel down and enjoy our climate so favorable for swimming. Are you rather athletic? Why not go hiking in the calanques? You will be amazed by the beauty of the landscapes and the richness of the Mediterranean fauna and flora ;-)

As you will have understood, Marseille Tourisme offers a selection of places adapted to all your wishes: visits, gardens, creeks, beaches, Provençal villages around....

So don't wait any longer and find in one click all the maps to discover Marseille and its surroundings!

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Marseille Printable Tourist Map


Marseille Map: The Attractions

tourist map of marseille france

Notre-Dame de la Garde

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Marseille Cathedral

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Old Port of Marseille

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Porte d'Aix

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Abbey of St. Victor

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Longchamp Palace

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Chateau d’If

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Le Panier Quarter

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Museum of Civilizations of Europe and the Mediterranean

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Pharo Palace

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Marseille Tourist Attractions Maps | City Tours Map

The vibrant city of Marseille was declared a European Capital of Culture in 2013. Therefore, you can expect to find plenty of remarkable sights in the city especially in terms of culture. Marseille is also known for its enchanting historical sights. And while you’re here, make sure you indulge in the mouthwatering local delicacies.

Thankfully, exploring Marseille is pretty easy. You have plenty of options to choose from when it comes to the public transportation. There’s an option to take the tram, bus, or the underground train. We have a copy of the Marseille Transport Map to help you on this. The best mode of transportation is the underground railway lines. And to help you with using the train, we have a copy of the Marseille Metro Map that you can check out.

As mentioned, Marseille is home to several remarkable historical and cultural sights. Some of the most famous sights to visit are the Notre-Dame-de-la-Garde, Le Vieux Port, Chateau Borely Museum of Decorative Arts and Fashion, Museum of the Civilizations of Europe and the Mediterranean, and the Le Palais Long champ Museums of Fine Arts and Natural History. If you want to know how to visit these sights, check out our Marseille Tourist Sightseeing Map.

Thankfully, Marseille is a city that you can easily explore on foot. So if you’re someone who is fond of walking, go grab our copy of the Marseille Walking Tour Maps. It will provide you with details on how to get from one place to another. But if walking is not for you, then take advantage of the open bus tours in Marseille. Refer to our Marseille Hop on Hop Off Bus map to find out more information about these bus tours.

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Marseille Hop-On Hop-Off Bus Tour Map

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11 Top-Rated Tourist Attractions in Marseille

Written by Lisa Alexander Updated Dec 26, 2023 We may earn a commission from affiliate links ( )

Author Lisa Alexander spent two years living in France and has traveled the country extensively.

With a busy harbor, vibrant urban energy, and a long list of things to do, Marseille appeals to visitors seeking an authentic tourist experience. This lively cosmopolitan city is France's oldest and the second largest after Paris .

 View of Marseille's Old Port

The city has a distinctly Mediterranean ambience, from its red-tile roofed houses to the fishing boats in its port. Everywhere in Marseille, visitors are close to the serene blue waters, whether walking along a charming old street with a view, or feeling the refreshing sea breeze.

The city's colorful, multiethnic heritage also makes Marseille a fascinating place to visit. Considered the bridge between Europe and North Africa, Marseille is home to a sizable immigrant population from Algeria. It's possible to find traditional Arab souks as easily as a classic French bouillabaisse.

Find out more about the top attractions and how to spend your time here with our list of the best things to do in Marseille.

1. Basilique Notre-Dame de la Garde

2. abbaye saint-victor, 3. explore the vieux port, 4. wander through the colorful streets of le panier, 5. musée des civilisations de l'europe et de la méditerranée, 6. enjoy nature walks and scenic boat tours at calanques national park, 7. château d'if, 8. musée d'histoire de marseille, 9. la vieille charité, 10. cathédrale de la major, 11. musée cantini, where to stay in marseille for sightseeing, tips and tours: how to make the most of your visit to marseille.

Basilique Notre-Dame de la Garde

Perched on a hilltop above the harbor, this spectacular church is the most important landmark in Marseille. The site was used in ancient times as an observation point, and during the Middle Ages, was the location of a pilgrimage chapel.

Today, the Basilique Notre-Dame de la Garde is a beacon for the faithful, with an enormous gilded Madonna crowning the belfry. Built between 1853 and 1897, the church features an opulent Neo-Byzantine interior of light and dark marble arches supporting gilded mosaic cupolas. The lavish design has a mesmerizing effect.

After seeing the interior, visitors can spend time on the outdoor terrace that offers breathtaking views. The panoramas extend from the red-tile rooftops of Marseille's buildings to the Vieux Port (historic harbor), all the way to the Frioul Islands in the Mediterranean Sea.

Address: Rue Fort du Sanctuaire, Marseille

Abbaye Saint-Victor

A short walk from the Vieux Port, the Abbaye Saint-Victor is another must-see tourist sight with splendid harbor views.

The Abbaye Saint-Victor was founded in the 5th century and incorporates the original basilica, which makes it one of the oldest buildings in Marseille that is still intact. The basilica, along with its crypt, is considered a gem of Early Christian architecture and art.

Most of the abbey was rebuilt in the 12th and 13th centuries during the Romanesque era. With its crenellated walls and towers, the foreboding exterior has the feel of a medieval fortress.

Inside, this 5th-century basilica reveals a simple and somber design, which gives it a special aura. The crypt houses a precious collection of sarcophagi from the 4th and 5th centuries, as well as the 11th-century tombstone of Abbot Isarnus. It is believed that the relics of Saint Victor are also buried in the basilica's crypt.

The Abbaye Saint-Victor is open for visits every day year-round.

Annually on Candlemas (February 2nd), pilgrims participate in a religious procession from the Vieux Port to the Abbaye Saint-Victor with a stop along the way at the Four des Navettes , an 18th-century bakery that makes the special boat-shaped biscuits of Marseille ( Navettes de Marseille ).

Address: 3 Rue de l'Abbaye, Marseille

Vieux Port (Old Harbor)

The Vieux Port represents the birthplace of Marseille. This is where the city began as a Greek port around 600 BCE. Surrounded by serene blue waters, the Old Port is located in the west of Marseille near La Canebière boulevard.

A stroll around this bustling harbor immerses visitors in the sights and sounds of a thriving Mediterranean port. The waterfront is a focal point for tourists, and many say it's one of the best places to visit in Marseille for authentic local cuisine. Seafood restaurants specialize in bouillabaisse , the flavorful seafood stew that is the city's signature dish.

On the east side of the harbor, the Quai des Belges hosts a fish market every morning. Once an important commercial port, the Vieux Port is now used primarily by fishing boats and sports craft.

The Old Port is also the launching point for the ferries that sail to two popular tourist destinations: the Château d'If and the Calanques near Cassis.

Le Panier (Old Town)

Splendidly situated on a hillside above the Vieux Port, this colorful neighborhood is the historic center and cultural heart of Marseille. Le Panier is Marseille's oldest quarter, inhabited since antiquity when the ancient Greeks settled here in 600 BCE.

With its steep, narrow winding streets and quaint pastel-painted buildings, this quarter offers a glimpse into the charming personality of Marseille. Once a working-class neighborhood, Le Panier is now a gentrified residential area, but the typical houses with shuttered windows and lines of laundry provide a glimpse of its old-fashioned character.

Visitors may begin a walking tour on the north side of the Vieux Port harbor basin at the Quai du Port and then walk up La Canebière , a vibrant boulevard that buzzes with activity.

Wandering through this atmospheric neighborhood leads to discoveries of local artisan boutiques, gourmet food shops, and art galleries. Le Panier also brims with inviting little restaurants that feature outdoor terrace seating. Many restaurants serve excellent fresh-caught seafood; others specialize in French, Italian, or authentic Algerian cuisine.

The quarter has several important monuments such as the Hôtel de Ville (Town Hall), which was built in the second half of the 17th century based on a Genoese architectural model.

Other landmarks include the Cathédrale de la Major and the Vieille Charité , a dormitory for the poor in the 17th and 18th centuries that now houses a museum of contemporary art.

Museum of European and Mediterranean Civilisations (Mucem)

The Musée des Civilisations de l'Europe et de la Méditerranée, also known by its acronym Mucem , provides an in-depth look at civilizations of the Mediterranean Basin.

A stunning complex of three different sites, this expansive museum presents a wealth of exhibits in various disciplines: ethnography, art, history, and cuisine of Mediterranean cultures.

Covering this wide range of content, the museum's galleries display paintings, photographs, documents, antique furnishings, and everyday objects, as well as lectures and film screenings.

The newest part of the museum is a dazzling ultra-modern waterfront building (on the former J4 Pier) with outlooks onto the harbor and the Mediterranean Sea.

The J4 building displays the museum's most important permanent collections, as well as temporary exhibits, and also hosts cultural events. The J4 building contains the museum's main gift shop, which sells a wide range of books on topics related to European culture and history.

Gourmands will be happy to discover the dining options on the rooftop of the J4 building. With renowned chef Gérald Passedat at its helm, Le Môle Passedat (open for lunch and dinner) offers breathtaking sea views and traditional Mediterranean cuisine (including mezze ) prepared from seasonal ingredients.

Also on the rooftop, the casual restaurant La Cuisine is open for lunch and dinner, and Le Café serves coffee, refreshments, and snacks.

An aerial footbridge connects the J4 Pier building with another section of the museum in the vaulted rooms of the Fort Saint-Jean , a 12th-century monument that played a role during the Crusades. The Fort Saint-Jean includes lush Mediterranean gardens and a ramparts path where visitors can admire sweeping panoramas of the Marseille cityscape, the Vieux Port, and the sea.

The third site, Le Centre de Conservation et de Ressources du Mucem , is located in the Belle de Mai quarter. This center provides a behind-the-scenes look into the work of the museum.

Address: 7 Promenade Robert Laffont (Esplanade du J4), Marseille

Official site:

Sailboats at the Calanques

Between Marseille and the quaint fishing village of Cassis is the Parc National des Calanques , a splendid nature site where the Mediterranean meets the Massif des Calanques mountain range.

The landscape is distinguished by majestic limestone rock walls with fjord-like coves (" calanque " translates to "cove") filled with pools of saltwater in mesmerizing turquoise hues.

Outdoor sports enthusiasts will find many things to do at Calanques National Park, such as swimming, kayaking, rock climbing, and hiking. An excellent system of trails allows visitors to appreciate the pristine landscape and gorgeous coastal views.

For those who enjoy yachting and boat cruises, the fjords provide spectacular scenery on an idyllic journey through the tranquil maritime environment.

The largest calanques, Port-Miou, En-Vau, and Port-Pin, can be reached by car or by ferry from Marseille. It is also possible to take a guided boat tour or arrange a private boat trip.

Château d'If

A short ferry ride away from the Vieux Port of Marseille, the Château d'If is located on the Île d'If in the Frioul Islands archipelago, a nature conservation area that includes the tiny islands of If, Pomègues, Ratonneau, and Tiboulen.

The spectacular scenery features protected coves, turquoise waters, pristine beaches, sandy creeks, and impressive limestone cliffs. Thanks to the Mediterranean sunshine, the light creates a serene shimmering effect on the water, and a microclimate allows rare floral species to thrive here.

In this beautiful natural setting, the Château d'If was built as a fortress by King François I in the 16th century. Soon after, the fortress was converted into a prison. The location is depicted in Alexandre Dumas' novel The Count of Monte Cristo .

Ferry boat service is also available from the Vieux Port in Marseille to the Île de Ratonneau , where tourists may sunbathe on the beach, go for a hike, or visit the 19th-century Fort de Ratonneau .

Marseille History Museum | trabantos /

In Le Panier quarter, just a few steps away from the Vieux Port, the Musée d'Histoire de Marseille tells the story of Marseille from its Gallo-Greek origins through the Middle Ages to the present day. The museum offers an impressive collection of artifacts, covering 2,600 years of history.

The historical evolution of France's oldest city comes to life in this sleek modern museum's bright spacious rooms. The collections contain 4,000 items and hundreds of multimedia exhibits.

The museum also has a garden, the Jardin des Vestiges , which is actually the excavation site of the 3rd-century BCE port of Massalia (also spelled "Massilia").

Address: 2 Rue Henri-Barbusse, Marseille

La Vieille Charité

La Vieille Charité is located on the Place des Moulins that lies at the highest point in Le Panier .

The building was created in 1640 when the Town Council of Marseille decided to give impoverished residents decent accommodations, in compliance with a royal policy of "enclosing the poor."

In 1749, a three-floor public hospital with four wings was added to the building. There is a chapel at the center courtyard of the hospital complex. Built from 1679 to 1707, the chapel is a wonderful example of Italian Baroque architecture.

The facade of La Vieille Charité is more modern, dating from 1863. Upon close observation, visitors will notice the depiction of two pelicans feeding their young, to represent Charity looking after poor children.

Since 1986, La Vieille Charité building has been used to host scientific and cultural events and to house a museum, Le Centre de la Vieille Charité . This museum presents cultural events, ethnographic exhibits, and themed art expositions throughout the year.

Address: 2 Rue de la Charité, Marseille

Cathédrale de la Major

Near the northwest corner of Le Panier, the Cathédrale de la Major (Cathédrale Sainte-Marie-Majeure) stands majestically on an esplanade overlooking the waterfront. This ornate Neo-Byzantine cathedral seems to keep watch over the Old Port, with its soaring twin towers and 70-meter-high dome.

Louis-Napoléon Bonaparte commissioned the construction of this cathedral in 1852. Completed in 1893, the Cathédrale de la Major is the largest church (and the only cathedral) constructed in France during the 19th century.

Its dimensions (142 meters long by 20 meters high) are similar in scale to Saint Peter's Basilica in Rome. Classified as a Monument Historique , this cathedral incorporates an Early Christian baptistery that dates to the 5th century.

The lavish interior is richly decorated with Carrara marble and exquisite Venetian mosaics. An impressive assortment of statues is also found throughout the sanctuary.

At the foot of the cathedral is a plaza called " Les Voûtes ," a popular gathering place filled with shops, restaurants, and cafés. Locals and tourists alike enjoy strolling through this happening area. In addition to the trendy scene, Les Voûtes also offers fabulous sea views.

Address: 10 Place de la Major, Marseille

Musée Cantini

Art lovers will appreciate the superb collection of modern and contemporary art found at the Musée Cantini, displayed within a 17th-century hôtel particulier (mansion). The local art collector Jules Cantini bought this elegant house in 1888, and he bequeathed it to the city of Marseille in 1916.

The Musée Cantini boasts one of the country's most extensive assortments of modern art created between 1900 and 1960. Highlights of the collection include works by André Derain, Raoul Dufy, Wassily Kandinsky, Max Ernst, Joan Miró, and Pablo Picasso.

A short walk from the Musée Cantini is the Cours Belsunce , a wide esplanade designed in the 17th century as a place for residents to enjoy leisurely strolls.

Address: 19 Rue Grignan, Marseille

Most major attractions in Marseille are close to the Vieux Port and in Le Panier, the colorful and historic neighborhood of steep, narrow streets that wind up the hillside above the west side of Vieux Port. In these two quarters of Marseille, you'll find these highly rated hotels :

Luxury Hotels :

  • The Hôtel La Résidence du Vieux Port features exceptional views of the waterfront and the Basilique Notre-Dame de la Garde across the harbor. This four-star hotel has been recently redecorated in a retro 1950s style.
  • The InterContinental Marseille - Hôtel Dieu occupies a Monument Historique perched on a hilltop in Le Panier. This five-star hotel has a chic brasserie with an outdoor terrace, a Michelin-starred gastronomic restaurant, room service, and an upscale spa with a sauna, two hammams, an indoor pool, and a fitness center.
  • Overlooking the Vieux Port, the Sofitel Marseille Vieux Port is nestled in a picturesque location next to a spacious park and near the Abbaye Saint-Victor. The five-star property has a spa, hair salon, and several restaurants.

Mid-Range Hotels:

  • The three-star Hôtel Escale Oceania Marseille is just steps away from the Vieux Port in the city center near many restaurants and shops. Stylish modern guest rooms feature large windows, private balconies, and Italian-style "rain" showers.
  • Located right on the waterfront, the Radisson Blu Hotel Marseille Vieux Port offers great views of the Old Port along with four-star amenities. Guests love the outdoor swimming pool and sun terrace area, as well as the gourmet restaurant with pleasant outdoor patio that overlooks the marina.
  • The bright, spacious guest rooms at the four-star Grand Hôtel Beauvau Marseille Vieux-Port - MGallery are decorated in cheerful Provençal style. The hotel is near the Vieux Port in the city center.

Budget Hotels:

  • The two-star Hôtel Hermès is a short walk to Le Panier quarter and has a rooftop terrace overlooking the Vieux Port. The services (24-hour front desk and concierge) are better than expected for a budget hotel.
  • Near the train station and a 20-minute walk from the city center, the ibis Marseille Centre Gare Saint Charles provides basic accommodations at an affordable price. This three-star hotel offers taxi service, parking, a breakfast buffet, and a restaurant with pleasant outdoor seating.
  • Sightseeing in and around Marseille: For the perfect combination of sightseeing and seaside scenery, consider the Provence, Marseille, and Cassis Sightseeing Tour . This half-day itinerary includes a tour of the historic landmarks in Marseille, a scenic drive along the Corniche des Crêtes, a stop in the Provençal fishing village of Cassis, and a 45-minute cruise through the Calanques National Park.
  • Provence Day Trip: If you want to experience the best of Provence, the Provence Countryside Tour is a great way to do it. This full-day adventure takes you to explore Avignon, the "City of Popes;" the village of Châteauneuf-du-Pape, surrounded by vine-covered hills; and the fortified medieval town of Les Baux-de-Provence.
  • Luberon Day Trip: Lavender fields, hilltop hamlets, and rugged mountain terrain are the highlights on the Perched Villages of the Luberon Day Trip . This full-day excursion begins with a scenic drive through the beautiful Luberon foothills to see several charming medieval villages (Roussillon, Lourmarin, and Gordes), and continues to the 12th-century Sénanque Abbey and the town of L'Isle-sur-la-Sorgue, known for its picturesque canals and wide selection of antique shops.

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Exploring the Provence Region : Marseille is found in the heart of Provence , a favorite tourist destination in France. Many quaint hilltop towns and fishing villages, like Cassis, are easy day trips from Marseille . Also not to be missed are Aix-en-Provence (30 kilometers away) and Avignon (100 kilometers away).


Traveling Off the Beaten Path : Slightly further afield (an hour's drive) is the unspoiled countryside of the Luberon region in Provence's Haut-Vaucluse , dotted with ancient abbeys and hilltop villages. About 120 kilometers away from Marseille, the historic town of Nîmes is well worth the journey to see its ancient Roman monuments and top-notch museums.


Seaside Scenery and Beach Resorts : Around Marseille, the coastline beckons with sunshine and beautiful Mediterranean scenery. The quintessential port town of Toulon is an hour's drive away, and the glamorous resort of Saint-Tropez , with its beautiful beaches, is a two-hour drive. Continuing along the Côte d'Azur are Cannes , Nice , and Monaco , famous for fancy beach clubs, upscale hotels, fine dining, and art museums.

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Map of Marseille — Best attractions, restaurants, and transportation info

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We’ve made the ultimate tourist map of Marseille, France for travelers! Check out Marseille’s top things to do, attractions, restaurants, and major transportation hubs all in one interactive map.

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Use this interactive map to plan your trip before and while in Marseille. Learn about each place by clicking it on the map or read more in the article below. Here’s more ways to perfect your trip using our Marseille map:

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Top 20 attractions in Marseille

Basilica of notre-dame of la garde, marseille history museum.

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Old Charity Center

Cathédrale basilique sainte-marie-majeure, dit « la major », mucem - museum of civilizations of europe and the mediterranean.

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Parc national des Calanques

Abbaye saint-victor, unité d'habitation, palais longchamp, château d'if, old port of marseille, randonnées théâtrales marcel pagnol, calanque de morgiou, vallon des auffes, frioul archipelago.

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Palais du Pharo

Calanque de sormiou, hôtel la residence du vieux port, orange vélodrome, top 10 restaurants in marseille, le petit nice passedat.

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Les Quatre Epices

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Chez etienne, epicerie l'ideal, la bonne mère, restaurant michel, chez fonfon, am par alexandre mazzia, la cantinetta, transportation in marseille, nearby airports, marseille provence airport, highways and major roads.

  • A7 – Autoroute du Soleil
  • A50 – Autoroute Est-Ouest
  • A55 – Autoroute du Littoral
  • A51 – Autoroute de la Vallee du Rhone
  • N113 – Route de l'Estaque
  • N368 – Route des Trois Lucs
  • D5 – Route des Calanques
  • D559 – Route de la Corniche
  • D559a – Route du Rove
  • D2 – Route de Cassis

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Explore nearby places

  • Plan De Cuques
  • Septemes-les-Vallons
  • La Penne-sur-Huveaune
  • Plan de Campagne
  • Les-Pennes-Mirabeau
  • Ensues-la-Redonne
  • Carnoux-en-Provence
  • Saint-Victoret
  • Bouc-Bel-Air
  • Carry-le-Rouet
  • Chateauneuf-les-Martigues
  • La-Bouilladisse
  • Berre l'Etang

All related maps of Marseille

  • Map of Plan De Cuques
  • Map of Allauch
  • Map of Septemes-les-Vallons
  • Map of La Penne-sur-Huveaune
  • Map of Le Rove
  • Map of Plan de Campagne
  • Map of Les-Pennes-Mirabeau
  • Map of Ensues-la-Redonne
  • Map of Aubagne
  • Map of Cabries
  • Map of Carnoux-en-Provence
  • Map of Cassis
  • Map of Mimet
  • Map of Saint-Victoret
  • Map of Bouc-Bel-Air
  • Map of Carry-le-Rouet
  • Map of Marignane
  • Map of Chateauneuf-les-Martigues
  • Map of Gardanne
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  • Map of Berre l'Etang

Marseille throughout the year

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The 14 Best Things to Do in Marseille, France

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One of France's largest urban centers, the Mediterranean city of Marseille is as distant from Paris as you can imagine—both geographically and culturally. It's an ancient port that has long been a center of trade; "les Marseillais" (the locals) are proud of their distinctive culture and centuries-long history. It's known for its beauty, but also for being a bit "rough around the edges"—and that's all part of the appeal.

At once laid-back and vibrant, Marseille has it all: superb beaches and coastlines ; varied, fascinating neighborhoods; awe-inspiring historic monuments; and delicious local dishes and drinks that are certainly worth sampling. Add the opportunity for day trips to nearby national parks and postcard-perfect Provençal towns , and you'll soon see why the city makes an ideal hub in southern France. Here are some of the best things to see and do in Marseille, especially on a first trip.

Explore the Old Port

TripSavvy / Paula Galindo Valle

There's something timeless—even mythical—about Marseille's Vieux Port (Old Port), the waterfront that has seen some 26 centuries of trade and cultural exchange. The Phoenicians founded a colony called Massalia here in around 600 BC, and it became a major center of commerce in the Mediterranean, incorporated into the Roman Empire before being christianized during the 5th century. During the medieval period and religious wars known as the Crusades, the Port was guarded by the forts of Saint-Nicolas and Saint-Jean ; both continue to dramatically flank the port, and can be visited.

The Vieux Port may have tons of history, but it's still a vibrant center of present-day life in Marseille. Come take a stroll on the waterfront and admire the countless boats and ships moored in the harbor. Sit out at a terrace overlooking the port and enjoy a glass of wine or pastis, a typical Marseille liqueur flavored with anise and botanicals. Take a tour of the two forts, and/or a boat cruise out to the Friouil archipelago and islands beyond.

Visit the Chateau d'If, an Old Fortress and Prison

One of Marseille's most dramatic landmarks, the Chateau d'If looms near the coast of the old city, on the smallest island of the nearby Frioul archipelago. Built by King François I and completed in 1571, the formidable compound has served as a defensive fortress designed to protect Marseille from military invasions, as well as a state prison. Protestants and anti-monarchy figures were the most frequent prisoners between 1580 and 1871.

In 1844, French author Alexandre Dumas brought the Chateau d'If worldwide fame by placing it at the center of his novel "The Count of Monte Cristo." Today, it's an essential tourist destination and affords fantastic views over the sea and Old Port.

Getting there: From the Old Port, you can take a boat shuttle operated by Frouil If Express ; boats depart several times daily.

Head to the Beaches

During long summer days, planting a big beach umbrella in the sand and spending the whole day swimming, sunbathing, or boating can be an idyllic prospect. And even if you're visiting in the winter when chilly winds and cool temperatures often reign, you'll still probably want to hit the beaches around Marseille for activities such as coastal walks and sea views.

Where to find the best beaches in Marseille and its surrounding area depends on your style and preferences. If you're after a quick swim close to the city center, Catalanes Beach is only a 15-minute walk from Vieux Port. It's not the prettiest beach in the area, but it's ideal for a spontaneous dip.

For lifeguarded swimming during high season, head to the Plage du Prado or the Plage du Prophète , both wide, sandy beaches that are ideal for families, sunbathers, and sports enthusiasts. If you're drawn by wild beaches with stunning natural scenery or opportunities for snorkeling, head to the Calanques National Park and its remarkable coves.

Taste the City's Best Bouillabaisse

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Not everyone will think that Marseille's most-famous dish, bouillabaisse, sounds appealing. But unless you're vegetarian or vegan, we still strongly recommend you try a big, steaming bowl of this centuries-old fish stew originating in ancient Greece, and imported by the Phoenicians who colonized the area. Typically made with the fresh catch of the day or a variety of local seafood specialties, the stew is composed of an herb and saffron-rich broth, olive oil, and seasonal vegetables. Traditionally, you'd enjoy it accompanied by a toasted hunk of baguette and a spicy, garlic-rich paste called rouille.

The stew is so popular that you'll find it all over the city, year-round. But some of the best (and most picturesque) places to taste it are found on the Vieux Port; these include Le Miramar and Restaurant Michel .

See the City's Iconic Basilica—and Enjoy Panoramic Views

Looming over one of the city's highest points, Notre Dame de la Garde is widely seen as the symbol and figurative guardian of Marseille. The basilica is locally referred to as "La Bonne Mère," meaning "The Good Mother," and a bronze and gold-leaf statue of the Virgin Mary emerges from the bell tower.

Consecrated in 1864 on the site of several former chapels, the basilica was built in a Roman-Byzantine style. Come not only to admire its opulent façade and interior—rich with gold leaf, mosaics, elaborate dome structures, and stones in multiple hues—but also to enjoy sweeping panoramic views over the city, Old Port, and the waters beyond.

Getting there: We recommend taking the Petit Train de Marseille sightseeing train from the Old Port to the Basilica; this is also a great way to get an overview of some of the city's other key sites.

Take in the Splendor of Calanques National Park

Detractors sometimes describe Marseille as a city lacking in "traditional" beauty, yet they've clearly overlooked that the city is surrounded by some of the region's most stunning and well-protected marine environments. The Calanques National Park , sprawling between the outskirts of Marseille and the pretty port town of Cassis, is remarkable for its azure waters, which wend through craggy creeks (calanques) teeming with lush Mediterranean greenery.

Swim in protected coves whose waters are too blue to believe, or go snorkeling, boating, hiking, or rock-climbing in the park's seemingly endless calanques.

Getting there: From Marseille's Old Port, drive or take a taxi south to the national park (around 35 minutes). Alternatively, you can take the train to Cassis; from the town center, the "Port Miou Calanque" is around 30 minutes away on foot. There are numerous other trail departure points there as well.

Wander and Shop the Canebière District

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To get an authentic local sense of daily life, head to La Canabière , the longest and widest avenue in the city. Built in 1666, it was greatly expanded during the end of the 18th century, and its grand neoclassical-style buildings reflect the period. It now extends all the way to the Vieux Port, making it an easy access point from the waterfront to the city center.

This is a popular place to stroll, browse for clothes and other items in the avenue's many boutiques, window-shop, and people watch from café terraces. Department stores, grand hotels, and restaurants also occupy the long avenue, which is adjacent to some of the other best shopping streets in Marseille, including rue Paradis, rue Saint Ferréol, and rue de Rome.

Get a Taste of Local Culture at the Capucins Market

If you share our enthusiasm for local farmers' markets and the opportunities for cultural discovery and exchange they tend to afford, this place is for you. Located in close reach of La Canebière shopping district, the Marché des Capucins is well known for proffering some of the city's best, and least expensive, fruit and vegetables.

You'll also find numerous stalls selling food products, spices, and textiles from North Africa and other parts of the Greater Mediterranean. You might say the market—also referred to as the Marché de Noailles—carries forth Marseille's centuries-old tradition as a bustling, diverse center of trade and cultural exchange.

Bask in Mediterranean History at The MuCEM

If you're interested in learning about the region's history—including Marseille's—spend some time exploring MuCEM (Museum of the Civilizations of Europe and the Mediterranean). It only opened in 2013, but is now one of the world's 50 most-visited museums. Tracing diverse traditions from the Antiquity to the present, its collections and special programs tell the fascinating story of Mediterranean cultural practices, archaeology, art history, cultural traditions, and contemporary art,

The main site near the Old Port, designed by Rudy Ricciotti and Roland Carta, stands beside the 17th-century Fort Saint Jean. Footbridges between the new and old structures dramatically symbolize how the Mediterranean forged powerful connections between European and Middle Eastern cultures.

Wander Old Marseille in the Panier District

Situated just north of the Old Port, Le Panier (literally, "the basket") has had inhabitants since around 600 BC, making it the oldest part of the city. It was once the center of a Greek colony called Massalia, from which Marseille's name is derived. During the 17th century, it was abandoned by more affluent residents for new developments to the east, and became a principally working class district populated by sailors and fishermen. It has also welcomed waves of immigrants from Italy, Corsica, and North Africa over the centuries. As evidenced by the old almshouse (La Vieiille Charité), it was until recently one of the city's poorest districts.

Today, Le Panier's narrow little streets, cheerful squares, and hidden corners are dotted with café terraces, hip restaurants, street art, and boutiques selling everything from Marseille soap (savon de Marseille) to jewelry. Be sure to take in the ochre and bright yellow façades, stone stairways, and hilly passageways; then wander through a few boutiques before settling for lunch on one of the area's sun-soaked squares.

Stroll or Drive La Corniche, Marseille's Coastal Road

Chris Hellier/Getty Images

One fantastic way to see the ancient port, sea, and islands from different vantage points is to take a long (often blustery) stroll along La Corniche , a boardwalk-style pathway built parallel to the coastal road of the same name. You can also drive it if you choose to rent a car.

The promenade stretches for 3 miles from the Catalanes beach to the Prado beach. Along the way, you'll see noteworthy sites including the aforementioned Chateau d'If and Iles du Frioul  (Frioul islands), opulent villas and mansions like the one pictured above, and excellent sea views.

Getting there: Pick a sunny day to enjoy the route or path to the fullest—not a difficult task in a city that gets an average of more than 300 days of sun a year. To walk, follow the signs and easy path from the Old Port to La Corniche.

Take a Train to Cézanne's Favorite City

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Hop on the train from the Marseille Saint-Charles station and spend a few hours roaming Aix-en-Marseille , one of the prettiest towns in the region. The birthplace of French painter Paul Cézanne, Aix and its surrounding mountains are the subject of many of his paintings. The popular market town is also renowned for its historic district, where you can bask in the sun on Provençal squares lined with warm-colored buildings and shaded by large trees. Have a drink or al fresco lunch on one of the terraces in the Cours Mirabeau, and take in the sights, colors, and traditions of the farmers' markets on and around Place Richelme.

Getting there: Trains depart around six times daily from Marseille Saint-Charles to Aix, with the direct TGV (fast train) taking only around 15 minutes. Booking in advance generally means you'll get lower fares.

Play a Game of Boules

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Especially during the warmer months, a common sight in Marseille is locals playing a game of pétanque , or boules. The game, similar to bocce, involves throwing grooved metallic balls on sandy pitches, aiming to get yours as close to the smaller target ball (called a "cochonnet") as possible. While some play it competitively, most locals enjoy it casually, as an excuse to catch up with friends and sip tall, ice-cold glasses of Pastis de Marseille mixed with water.

The game is widely played across the city, including around the Old Port and in local parks. To rent equipment and access pitches, you can head to recreation centers such as the Cercle des Boulomanes (50 Rue Monte Cristo).

Frolic at Borély Gardens & Château

 Courtesy of Chateau Borély 

Situated around 3 miles south of central Marseille, the sprawling grounds and gardens of the Château Borély offer an ideal way to get a break from the urban ground and enjoy some fresh air. The Parc Borély is one of the city's most popular local green spaces, boasting enormous green lawns, botanical gardens harboring thousands of species of plants, poetic canals filled with ducks and swans, and playground areas. There's even a beach-side walk from the grounds.

The 18th-century château now houses the Museum of Decorative Arts and Fashion, whose collections are noteworthy for their fine ceramics and exhibits dedicated to the history of style.

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15 top things to do in Marseille for the best of the Provençal capital

Nicola Williams

Jan 13, 2024 • 10 min read

Marseille, France, June 8, 2017: Night view of a square full of restaurants at port vieux part of Marseille, France

From touring contemporary museums to tasting the city's signature dish, here are the best things to do in Marseille © trabantos / Getty Images

With a pedigree rooted in classical Greece and a fair claim to the mantle of France 's second city, Marseille is an intense, high-octane place that never stops moving. In the last decade, this noisy, once-notoriously unglamorous port has morphed into a quietly cool influencer. With its eclectic choice of museums, churches and coastal parks in a sprawling metropolis famously stitched from 111 wildly diverse “villages,” Provence’s all-consuming capital deserves far more time than a quick weekend.

Rethink traditional sightseeing. The heartbeat of this ancient port on the Mediterranean in southern France is art de vivre à la Marseille . Bursting with on-trend cultural and culinary creativity, backdropped by history and anchored by seafaring tradition, local lifestyle is the real attraction – an exciting potpourri of old and new. Here are the best things to do in Marseille to really get under its salty, weathered, mistral-whipped skin.

Group of people catching the sunset at Vallon des Auffes, a mini fishing port in Marseille once home to many Italian and Spanish immigrants.

1. Find the best spots to watch the setting sun

End sultry summer days with locals on the chase for le plus beau (most beautiful) sunset. It’s a stiff hike up to the city’s highest point, crowned by the opulent Basilique Notre Dame de la Garde , but the bird’s-eye views of the golden city at sunset are hard to beat. Nearby, the fashionable pavement terrace of Café de l’Abbaye ogles at the Vieux Port. Down by the water, snag a pew at portside La Caravelle for the reverse view.

For true sunset connoisseurs, Marseille’s rooftop bars – Rooftop Hôtel Hermes , R2 , or the sizzling new rooftop bar at uber-cool Tuba in Les Goudes, perhaps – are the best place to watch the sun sink into the Med.

Local tip:  A worthy out-of-town alternative: follow the crowd along the southbound corniche (coastal road) to the main beach strip Plages du Prado, or stop at a rocky inlet (reached by steps down) en route.

2. Savor Marseille flavors at an open-air market

There’s far more than fish and seafood in Marseille’s stockpot of culinary flavors. Eyeing up trays of ice and plastic crates displaying the catch of the day at the morning fish market on Quay des Belges is an intrinsic part of the Vieux Port experience. But to appreciate the port city’s full ethnic diversity, mooch the souq-esque labyrinth of open-air stalls at Marché des Capucins in the foodie neighborhood of Noailles.

Be it seasonal fruit and veg from Provence or papaya and pistachios from far-flung lands, Middle Eastern halvah (a syrupy sesame seed treat), or North African spices, this street market mirrors multicultural Marseille. Continue the flavorsome, world-food tour with lunch at one of the many ethnically diverse eateries on insanely hip  Cours Julien .

3. Sail to Château d’If

No exploration of the seething Vieux Port – Marseille’s hectic heart and soul – is complete without a short boat trip to the photogenic island fortress of Château d’If, immortalized in Alexandre Dumas’ 1844 classic novel  The Count of Monte Cristo . The dark grizzly tales of various prisoners incarcerated in cells here are as compelling as the glorious views from the island of the Vieux Port, guarded by its own bewitching twinset of sturdy forts.

People visit the modern Museum of European and Mediterranean Civilizations (MuCEM)

4. Dive into ancient Mediterranean civilization at MuCEM

Marseille’s ancient Mediterranean heritage comes to life inside its sharpest contemporary museum. For a unique perspective of top-drawer Musée des Civilisations d’Europe et de la Méditerranée , follow the footpath that helter-skelters between the glass wall of the cube-shaped building and its outer lace shell, designed in high-tech black concrete to echo the fishing nets cast around Marseille since inception. At night, the building is lit brilliantly blue. The museum’s vast and diverse collection is the key to understanding Marseille’s backstory.

Local tip: End in neighboring Fort St-Jean , in the peaceful Jardin des Migrations, where cultural diversity and migration in the region get a horticultural spin.

5. View prehistoric cave art at Cosquer Méditerranée 

From MuCEM, head next door to hi-tech Cosquer Méditerranée – the exciting new occupant of Villa Méditerranée, a contemporary white structure with a spectacular cantilever overhanging an ornamental pool. Opened in June 2022, the groundbreaking museum takes visitors into a replica of some of the world’s rarest Paleolithic art, engraved and painted by prehistoric people in a cave near Marseille. Firmly on dry land at the time, about 12km (7 miles) from the sea, Grotte Cosquer was later submerged by the rising ocean and remains buried and inaccessible at sea.

Armed with a multilingual headset, board a funfair-style exploratory vehicle to explore the dark replica cave and learn how and why this curious menagerie of prehistoric drawings came to be. End on the top floor with a fascinating exhibition on climate change dotted with a furry, life-size Megaloceros, chamois, penguin, steppe bison and cave lion. Species not extinct are taxidermied.

A waiter serves two people sat at a table outside a cafe with a blue facade

6. Lose yourself in Le Panier’s rabbit warren

The spot first settled by the ancient Greeks, gold-stone Le Panier or “The Basket” is named for its steep streets that smooch slowly uphill, where you'll find dusty sun-blazed squares, linen-strung back alleys and the occasional low-key cafe. Allow ample time to explore the art and archaeology museums inside La Vieille Charité , Le Panier’s original almshouse, designed by local architect Pierre Puget (1620–94), who went on to work for Louis XIV.

7. Experience bouillabaisse in every guise

Tracking down the “best” bouillabaisse in Marseille can inspire obsessive behavior among visiting epicureans. If your budget is bottomless, Michelin-starred  L’Épuisette and Le Rhul are flawless addresses to sample the old-timer fish stew that traditionally includes four different types of fish and is served as two distinct courses (fish soup as entrée or starter, fileted fish as main course).

Further south along the coast in fishing village Les Goudes in the 8e arrondissement, vintage Le Grand Bar des Goudes and quirky La Baie des Singes , out on an irresistibly scenic limb on Cap Croisette, adopt a more rustic, down-to-earth approach. If it’s wacky you want, hit the Intercontinental Marseille Hôtel Dieu for a deconstructed Bouille-A-Baisse milkshake.

Local tip: L’Aromat at the Vieux Port cooks up bouillabaisse burgers with panisses (chickpea fries), and street-food fave Pain à l’Ail serves pains bouillabaisses (fish sandwiches) to scoff on the hop.

The cliffs of the Calanques are a natural wonder nestled near Marseille, France

8. Walk on the wild side in Les Calanques

Marseille’s great green escape is the Parc National des Calanques , an almost miraculous mashup of herbal-scented Mediterranean scrub, pine-strewn promontories, shimmering limestone cliffs and teeny clandestine coves cradling pocket-handkerchief beaches and sun-spangled jewel-blue water.

The best known ( Calanques de Morgiou , Sormiou and d’En Vau ) get hideously overrun with tourists (an online booking system is being trialed at Calanque de Sorgiton this summer to limit visitor numbers to 500 a day). Consider the 50-minute hike instead from the trailhead in Callelongue in the 8e arrondissement to Calanque de Marseilleveyre. Bring a picnic, ample water and your swimsuit.

Detour: An even better way to explore Les Calanques: paddle there with Raskas Kayak .

9. Shop in the Quartier des Créateurs

Explore the city’s bohemian heart with a shopping spree in Noailles’ creative backstreets. Boutiques specializing in vintage fashion – Sepia Swing Club for old-world glamor, Lilou Vintage for cool 1970s pieces, Marcel et Simone for 1940s to 1990s secondhand – are plentiful in the narrow and colorful, mural-tagged lanes around throbbing Cours Julien. Unsurprisingly, the area is nicknamed the “Creators Quartier.”

A couple of blocks west, curiosities fill France’s oldest hardware store,  Maison Empereur (where, should you fall completely head over heels, you can stay overnight). Buy herbal concoctions to treat any ailment under the sun at Marseille’s legendary Herboristerie du Père Blaize and world spices at Saladin Épices du Monde on La Canebière. Its house-made ras el hanout, combining 22 different spices, is unmatched.

Planning tip: End your Noailles shopping spree with a couscous lunch at treasured 1920s icon Le Fémina chez Kachetel ; an invigorating black-soap scrub and clove and clay massage at Hammam Rafik; and drinks, dinner and late-night dancing at Waaw .

10. Dance until dawn on an urban rooftop

Nightlife in France’s second-largest metropolis, with its small but friendly LGBTIQ+ scene and world-class electro and world music, seduces party lovers from all over the globe. In summer, the cutting-edge scene comes into its own when the dance party moves outside onto urban rooftops. April to October, catch top French and African artists and DJs spinning drill, trap, hip-hop, rap and rock in the open air at Le Baou de Marseille , R2 and the roof terrace at La Friche La Belle de Mai .

11. Eat pizza

Scoffing finger-licking, wood-fired pizza topped with anything and everything from seafaring squid ink and cuttlefish to Italianate tomato, rocket and parmesan cheese is as sacred in Marseille as its OM football team. The city purports to have put the world’s first pizza truck on the road in 1962, and there’s always a pizza truck parked up somewhere along the corniche (coastal road) near the Prado beaches. In town, join the hordes lining up to snag a table at veteran fave Chez Étienne  in Le Panier, La Bonne Mère near Basilique Notre Dame de la Garde, or L’eau à la Bouche towards the sea.

Hoardes of people relax on a sandy beach on a sunny day

12. Spend time on the beach

Hitting the beach in Marseille is as much a window on local life as an opportunity to flop in the sun and dip in the sea. From the high-adrenalin sands and unique underwater sculptures of downtown Marseille’s closest beach and volleyball hub, Plage des Catalans, to the completely untouched coves of nature-rich Les Calanques, Marseille sports a beach with your name on it. Decide your mood (family fun, water sports, back to nature, lunch on the sand) and style (powder-soft sand, shingle, rocks with a vintage ladder into the water) and hit the beach accordingly.

13. Delve into the modern and contemporary art scene

Hunting bold and sassy ceramic mosaics of pixelated aliens, Pastis bottles, octopuses, all sorts – hidden up high on building facades or underneath stairs, and always placed in situ in the dead of night by French street artist Invader – is a brilliant means of exploring backstreet Marseille from a less-touristed perspective.

Alternatively, you can focus on the city’s wealth of art museums and galleries dedicated to modern and contemporary art. Get acquainted with Marseille-born sculptor César Baldaccini (1921–98), after whom the French equivalent of the Oscars are named, at the Musée d’Art Contemporain . Seasonal contemporary art exhibitions at MAMO – the experimental rooftop art gallery crowning La Cité Radieuse – are a golden opportunity to catch the latest art trend and explore Le Corbuiser’s visionary modernist architecture.

Local tip:  Kids particularly love hunting street art (and clocking up their finds on the smartphone Flash Invaders app ).

14. Have some downtime   in a city park

Marseille’s handsome choice of parks offer respite and green-fueled peace from the noisy, turbo-charged pace of the city. Several cradle romantic sea or city views and are a riveting window into local life backstage. Elegant Jardin du Pharo is the closest swathe of green to the center and is wildly popular with the after-work crowd, while weekends pack family-friendly Parc Borély to bursting. Jardin du Pierre Puget, on a hill above the Vieux Port, gets top billing for alfresco cocktails and creative, grassroots cuisine at garden bistro Sépia .

15. Meet Marseille’s new-gen chefs

Known for decades as rough-cut kitchen royalty of bouillabaisse and pizza, Marseille is turning heads with an exciting new generation of chefs. Reserve well in advance to score a spot at Alexandre Mazzia’s tiny Michelin triple-starred restaurant where world flavors – the chef was born in Congo – marry beautifully with those of the homegrown Med. For outstanding one-star market-driven cuisine by young female chef Coline Faulquier, bag a table at  Signature .

For a taste of Paris in Marseille dine out with the chefs who’ve left the French capital for life by the sea: masters of raw fish Sylvain Roucayrol and Paul-Henri Bayart, from Caché in Paris, oversee the sizzling shared-plates menu at gourmet beach club Tuba . A trio of women working in finance ditched their Parisian day jobs to open Maison des Nines , a funky table d’hôte (shared-table dining) and pop-up brunch venue in epicurean Noailles. The party never stops at fiesta-fueled Splendido , a Parisian import by the Big Mamma group.

This article was first published May 2022 and updated January 2024

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Visit Marseille in 1 day – Walking tour with route map

If you don't know how to visit Marseille in 1 day, then here is my tourist circuit with Google Maps route map to follow on foot!

Tour to visit Marseille on foot in 1 day

Your circuit in the South of France passes through Marseille… Or, you are in holidays in Provence and you want to visit Marseille… Or you are organizing a tourism and relaxation weekend in Marseille … There are many opportunities to visit this beautiful Mediterranean city!

But often, we have little time to visit the Marseille city. So if you are wondering how to visit Marseille in 1 day, here is my walking tour to discover the most beautiful places in Marseille!

Indeed, my walking route (map below) will allow you to see the essentials of Marseille in 1 day while enjoying my good little gourmet addresses... And yes, I have family in Marseille who knew how to introduce me to something other than bouillabaisse!

How to visit Marseille in 1 day?

To discover the city of Marseille in 1 day, you have plenty of possibilities according to your desires:

  • Tour of Marseille by tourist bus
  • Panoramic tour of Marseille and Cassis
  • Discover Marseille by bike
  • Walking tour of Marseille by following my self-guided tour which allows you to see most of Marseille in 1 day. See itinerary details below.

Visit Marseille in 1 day

Marseille is a large city very rich in heritage and landscapes. So, we are not going to lie to each other: visiting Marseille in 1 day requires making choices. Indeed, it is impossible to visit all the tourist attractions of Marseille in a single day!

For my tourist circuit, I had to choose from all the beautiful places in Marseille , the sites that are the most interesting to visit. Then I had to arrange them to make a pretty walking tour to save time. So, with my walking tour, you can visit Marseille but not on a run. This circuit is done leisurely in 1 day and allows you to enjoy without being rushed!

What to see in Marseille in 1 day?

Here is the list of the emblematic sites of Marseille that it is possible to discover in 1 day by following my self-guided walking tour:

  • Port Terraces

La Major Cathedral

  • MuCEM (Museum of European and Mediterranean Civilizations)

Saint Laurent Church

Fort saint-jean, old port of marseille.

  • Make way for oils

The garden of the Puget hill

Basilica of notre dame de la garde.

  • L'épuisette restaurant

All these tourist sites are the stages of my self-guided walking tour, the route of which you will find on the Google Maps below:

Route map to visit Marseille on foot

Here is the route to follow on Google Maps to visit Marseille on foot in one day:

Click on "More options" in the map to follow the GPS

Tour to visit Marseille in 1 day

This circuit represents 5,2 km of walking over the whole day which is very easily achievable given that you will take breaks for the visits and the restaurant at midday.

The departure for this walking tour is from the Terrasses du Port (The shopping center offers a terrace which opens onto an exceptional view!) or directly from your NH Collection hotel (next door) for a short 12-minute walk .

Marseille in 1 day – Morning visits

From the Terrasses du Port, it will take a 15-minute walk to reach the 1st stage of my tour to visit Marseille on foot: The beautiful Cathedral of the Major.

The Cathedral of La Major is made up of two churches which have been superimposed: the old and the new Major. It is located on an esplanade between the districts of Vieux Port, Panier, Joliette and 2 steps from MuCEM and Fort Saint Jean.

Marseille walking tour, stopover at La Major Cathedral

The Museum of European and Mediterranean Civilizations is a brand new museum in Marseille. It opened its doors on June 7, 2013. It is more than 40 m² dedicated to exhibitions around the Mediterranean world in all its diversity.

Marseille walking tour MuCEM visit

Its location is very well thought out for tourists to visit. Indeed, it is between the Fort Saint-Jean and Cathedral of the Major . A footbridge connects it to Fort Saint Jean, a fortress inseparable from the history of Marseille. While a second 70-meter footbridge connects with the Saint Laurent church .

(Access via the MuCEM footbridge) - A little history? So, know that this fort is the former commandery of the Hospitallers of Saint John of Jerusalem in the XNUMXth century. During the Crusades, the Fort Saint-Jean was the starting point of the troops to the Holy Land. It consists of a chapel, a church, a hospital, as well as the commander's palace.

Fort Saint Jean for my Marseille tour in 1 day

The Saint Laurent church dominates the Vieux Port pass. Dating from 12 nd century, it is one of the oldest churches in Marseille which deserves a little visit.

Le old port of Marseille is certainly with the Good mother , the most famous site in Marseille. You have to feel its atmosphere by strolling on the quays and going to discover its fish market . If you go there for the weekend, don't miss its little one Provencal market traditional. Lavender, santons, Marseille soaps and other regional products are offered to tourists looking for souvenirs ...

Marseille walking tour and its Old Port of Marseille

Which restaurant for this walking tour?

For noon or 13 p.m., my walking tour takes you to Place aux Huiles. This is where I suggest you take a lunch break or if you have already done so, have a little coffee or a good ice cream on the terrace before continuing your day of visiting Marseille.

If you want to avoid "tourist restaurants", I advise you to discover The 29 Place aux Oils . You can taste Provençal specialties made with fresh market produce. The setting is rather trendy but retains character with its stone walls and exposed beams.

Marseille in 1 day – Afternoon visits

My walking tour will take you to Notre Dame de la Garde but taking a very nice route which allows you to pass through the garden of Puget hill.  

This pretty garden is located, as its name suggests, at the top of a hill overlooking the Old Port. After some effort to climb this hill, the reward awaits you: A splendid view of the city of Marseille which is worth the photo…

The garden of the Puget hill

Once at the top, you will have to continue your efforts to reach the Basilica of Notre Dame de La Garde which is no longer very far ... Courage!

From the top of its 160 meters, the Bonne Mère, as the Marseillais affectionately nickname it, offers a panoramic view on all Marseilles, on the  Old Port ,   fort Saint-Jean  and even to the archipelago of  Frioul .

Marseille walking tour - Notre Dame de la Garde Basilica in my Marseille walking itinerary in 1 day

Where to stay to visit Marseille on foot?

Far from dangerous neighborhoods of Marseille , I recommend that you stay at NH Collection Marseille .

In a superb building with character dating from 1864, the NH Collection Marseille hotel is very well located in a safe and peaceful area: La Joliette. It is the new business and leisure district of Marseille which is located in the 2nd arrondissement very close to the Panier and the Old Port.

Right in the city center, a 15-minute walk from Gare Saint Charles and next to La Joliette metro station, its location is also interesting for shopping lovers. Indeed, it is exactly 8 minutes from the large and beautiful shopping center The terraces of the Port . Now this is where my self-guided walking tour starts to visit Marseille.

If you are staying more than 1 day in Marseille, you may prefer to stay in an apartment. So I advise you to choose a hotel residence. In the heart of the Old Port, right next to the Muceum and the Major, I recommend a very good plan for its value for money and its location:

Its little extra: a small terrace ideal for enjoying the Marseille sun in your own studio!

cheap hotel marseille residence

Marseille tour in 1 day – Best restaurant for the evening

If you want to have an exceptional evening, I advise you to book the gourmet restaurant well in advance The Net . Its chef Guillaume SOURRIEU knows how to prepare delicious dishes around fish and the site is simply magical on the Corniche facing the sea.

You hesitate to come to Marseille because of its reputation ... Read my article Is Marseille dangerous? And if you spend 2 days in Marseille here: Marseille in 2 days How to visit the Calanques of Marseille? or my good weekend plan in Marseille

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18 thoughts on “visit marseille in 1 day – walking tour with route map”.

tourist map of marseille france

All we need to do is to follow the full route of 1 day in Marselha and go ahead!! Said from Aix-en Provence this time and it was flying no time before 17:11 p.m. Almoçamos no Le Bouchon Provençal, na Place Aux Huilles: delicious! Obrigada!!

tourist map of marseille france

Obrigado pelo vosso positive feedback. Também publiquei um artigo com um passeio a pé por Aix en Provence. Desfrute da sua estadia em Français!

tourist map of marseille france

Oh. Parabens! seus posts são muito bons! Estou tentando montar um roteiro para 3 dias, saindo de Lyon no dia 3/3 e chegando a Valmorel dia 6/3. .O que você me aconselha?O clima nessa época prejudica uma viagem rápida a Marselha?Vale a pena? Or seria melhor passear pelos castelos e cidades da região ao norte de Lyon, nesta época? Por favor me ajude.Aguardo seu retorno e agradeço.

Mesmo que o tempo esteja bastante bom em Marselha no Inverno, think that é melhor visitar esta cidade na Primavera ou no Verão para desfrutar de nadar our creeks and para que todas as atracções estejam abertas. Perto de Lyon, you can discover a beautiful city of Annecy com o seu belo lago Or fazer a Beaujolais wine rota . In all cases, desejo-vos uma boa estadia em França!

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Marseille -France's oldest city

A short guide to marseille.

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 Marseille - city visitor and tourism information 

Major cathedral

 Access to Old Marseilles

Main central marseilles tourist attractions.

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Le Vieux Port - the old port

Marseilles open tour - hop-on hop-off tour bus, the fort saint jean., the eglise saint laurent, la major cathedral, le quartier du panier - la butte, la canebière, le musée cantini, other sites, notre dame de la garde, the chateau d'if, musée des beaux arts - fine art museum, plages du prado.


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Madragues de montredon, in the area - around marseilles, les calanques.

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Marseille , the oldest city of France, overflows with cultural, architectural and artistic treasures to discover. It is a tourist destination particularly appreciated by the French and foreigners. Between tradition and modernity, the city of Marseille is waiting for you. From the Vieux Port (Old Port) to the Calanques (rocky inlets) by way of the Panier district and the Corniche facing the sea, you will certainly be amazed by the beauty of the cosmopolitan city . Beyond the game of Pétanque and its football club Olympique de Marseille (OM), Marseille reveals itself behind its emblematic monuments such as the Château d’If, Les Docks, the Palais de la Bourse, the Fort Saint Jean fortification, Notre-Dame de la Garde, the Palais Longchamp, the Marseille Cathedral of la Major to name just a few.

European Capital of Culture in 2013 , Marseille aims to be a destination of choice for art and culture enthusiasts. Still in 2013, Marseille inaugurated the MuCEM, a museum dedicated to the Mediterranean civilizations of the 21st century. It is today one of the most visited museums. In the historic center of the city, you can also go to La Vieille Charité. There, you will find many cultural structures : the Mediterranean archaeology museum, the African, Oceanic and Native American art museum (MAAOA), but also a cinema, a bookshop…

While exploring the city, alone or with a guide, immerse yourself in the local culture and discover the traditions of Marseille. Relax on the terrace of a restaurant, under the southern sun, to taste Marseille’s cuisine . Let yourself be tempted by the bouillabaisse, a fish specialty, or by the pieds paquets, the panisses, etc. If you were to bring back only one souvenir of Marseille , no doubt you would choose the famous soap. Particularly effective and renowned, it can be used to clean skin, hair, clothes, floors, walls… Ideally located, the Bouches-du-Rhône prefecture, in the Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur region, is a starting point for various tourist destinations accessible by train, plane and boat.

Notre-Dame de la Garde

Notre-Dame de la Garde , more commonly called « Bonne Mère » by the people of Marseille, watches over the sailors and fishermen. Overlooking the city from the top of its hill, it offers a remarkable view. The basilica is an old observation post, and François I built a fort there to defend the city. It was only after a few years that it would become a true place of pilgrimage when Eugène de Mazenod (Bishop of Marseille) commissioned the great basilica. A true symbol of Marseille, the Basilica Notre-Dame de la Garde is visible throughout the city. The site is the most visited monument of the city and has been listed since 1917.

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The Palais Longchamp

Located in the 4th arrondissement of Marseille, the Palais Longchamp is a water tower made up of a garden and two museums. The building was built by the architect Henry Espérandieu, who also designed the Notre-Dame de la Garde basilica, to store drinking water coming from the Durance River. Several artists participated in the beautification of the park with the creation of sculptures and a fountain. A visit to the Palais Longchamp is an opportunity to discover the Musée des Beaux-Arts (Museum of fine arts), the oldest museum in Marseille, which preserves paintings and drawings dating from the 16th to the 19th century. You can also stop at the Natural History Museum of Marseille, which has cabinets of curiosities dating from the 18 th century.

The Calanques National Park

The Calanques National Park is known throughout the world for its breathtaking scenery. Surrounded by cliffs, sea, fauna and flora, nature lovers will never get tired of it. Hiking, diving, canoeing and kayaking… On land, on the sea or underwater, different activities allow you to discover the Calanques. Once deserved, the rocky inlets reveal themselves to you with idyllic coves such as Port Pin, En-Vau, Sugiton, Morgiou or Sormiou.

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La Canebière

La Canebière, the famous high street of the old quarter, connects the Old Port of Marseille to the Église Saint-Vincent-de-Paul church (Les Réformés). It was a true symbol of elegance with its chic hotels, department stores and posh cafés. Performance venues such as theaters were later set up there as well as the santons fair, part of the Christmas tradition. Nearly 1 km long, La Canebière is a lively district where you can find many shops, cafés, restaurants, the old Hôtel Louvre et Paix, the Monument des Mobiles… La Canebière is a parade route when demonstrations that go down to the Town Hall or the Prefecture are held, or when the French National Day and the carnival are celebrated.

A real open-air museum, the mythical and picturesque Panier district can be discovered through its narrow streets. The district resembles a small village in Provence where it is good to live. Colorful facades, street art, shops of craftsmen and designers… a visit to Le Panier is a must during your holidays in Marseille. For a gourmet break, sit on the terrace in Place de Lenche and admire the view of the Old Port.

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Practical information

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  • Road service: A7-A51 Highways (from Aix or Lyon), A55 Highway (from Aix, Fos, Lyon, Montpellier or Barcelona) and A50 Highway (from Cassis, Toulon, Nice, Genoa)
  • Air access: Marseille Provence Airport
  • Railroad access: Saint-Charles station
  • Sea access: autonomous port
  • Discover also : markets , beaches , private beaches

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Home » Travel Guides » France » 15 Best Things to Do in Marseille (France)

15 Best Things to Do in Marseille (France)

Like many port around the world, Marseille long had a reputation for seediness and crime. And there’s still a scruffiness about the city today, which is no bad thing. It lends Marseille a rakish character and gives it an intoxicating dynamism and colour.

You can see it all in neighbourhoods like Le Panier, Noailles and La Paine and their shops, markets and cafes. The Old Port has been in use since 600BC, and if you’re inspired by the great age of France’s oldest city there’s a wonderful choice of museums that will send you back in time.

Lets explore the best things to do in Marseille :

1. Old Port

Old Port

Marseille’s massive rectangular port has been trading for 2,600 years, and is more of a whole district than a single sight.

On three sides are quays with broad promenades enclosed mostly 18th-century former warehouses.

It seems like almost every one of these has a cafe, fish restaurant or bar on its ground floor, with outdoor seating so you can see life in this enchanting city unfold as you nurse a pastis.

Industry has long moved to the modern docks to the docks to the north, and most of the boats in the old port are for pleasure.

But at the innermost Quai des Belges the latest catch is still brought ashore to be sold at the fish market by the water every morning.

2. Basilique Notre-Dame de la Garde

Basilique Notre-Dame de la Garde

It’s hard to miss this monument rising above the skyline to the south of the Old Port.

It’s a 19th-century neo-Byzantine church 150 metres above the water, with a large golden statue of the Virgin and Child at the top of its tower to watch over Marseille’s maritime communities.

There had been religious sanctuaries and watch towers on La Garde for many centuries, and the basilica incorporates the lower levels of a renaissance fort that also included a chapel.

The climb isn’t to be taken lightly in the summer, but there’s a tourist train departing regularly from the Old Port.

Needless to say the scenery from up here is jaw-dropping.

3. Calanques National Park

Calanques National Park

Marseille’s southern and eastern suburbs brush up against an area of exceptional natural beauty.

The Calanques are craggy white limestone cliffs and creeks reaching gargantuan heights and descending sharply to the sea.

You can experience these rocky wonders by land or sea.

If you’re going to hike it then you’ll need an intrepid spirit, as the GR 98 from Marseille to Cassis takes around 11 hours and leads you into some tough country.

Of course, the scenery makes up for the exertion.

There are also mini-cruises departing from the Old Port, as well as guided kayaking adventures.

If you can, try to reach the indescribably beautiful cove at Calanque d’En Vau.

Available tour : Catamaran Cruise & Lunch in the Calanques National Park

4. Musée d’Histoire de Marseille

Musée d'Histoire de Marseille

It can be difficult to get your head around Marseille’s 26 centuries of history, but this first-rate museum near the Old Port will help.

Because of the huge time-span that the attraction deals with it’s the largest urban history museum in France.

For history geeks it means half a day spent inspecting amphorae, ceramics, architectural fragments, the remains of ancient ships, mosaics, sarcophagi and much more.

As well as this heap of artefacts from the Ancient Greeks up to the 20th century there are maps and models illustrating Marseille in all phases of its history, and the building joins onto a set of archaeological site containing ramparts, port buildings and a necropolis.

5. La Corniche

La Corniche

Weaving down the coast for several kilometres from the Old Port, La Corniche is one long balcony next to the Mediterranean, going past beaches and quirky little neighbourhoods.

You can drive it, but it’s just as rewarding to walk for the sea air and outstanding vistas of the Frioul Archipelago and the towers of the Château d’If in the bay.

One of the most striking sights is the Vallon des Auffes, a traditional fishing harbour on a steep inlet, ringed with ramshackle old huts and accessed from the sea beneath the arches that support the road.

6. Le Panier

Le Panier

This part of Marseille, just north of the Old Port, has been inhabited since 600 BC and was the site of the Greek colony of Massalia.

A the city evolved it became the place where Marseille’s waves of immigrants settled, and even today there’s a large Maghreb and Corsican population.

It’s a district with ochre-coloured walls, stone stairways and long, corridor-like streets emerging on sun-drenched squares.

Until recently it had always been one of the poorest parts of Marseille, as demonstrated by the La Vieille Charité, a 17th-centruy baroque almshouse with three tiers of arcaded galleries around a chapel.

Now it’s an increasingly trendy district with independent boutiques and craft shops, cafes and plenty of imaginative street art.


Inaugurated in 2013, MuCEM is a cutting edge museum that regenerated a portion of Marseille’s waterfront next to the 17th-century Fort de Saint-Jean.

The architecture is breathtaking, but what’s inside is actually quite difficult to sum up: It’s a kind of overview of Mediterranean culture an civilisation, incorporating art, photography exhibitions and historic artefacts.

Most people who visit agree that the exhibitions aren’t the most consistent, capriciously jumping from period to period and theme to theme, but they’re so diverse that there are galleries to capture everyone’s attention.

Entry to the fort, built by Louis XIV,  is included in the ticket, and this structure is connected to the museum by two bridges.

8. La Plaine and Noailles


Directly east of the Old Port are two neighbourhoods that will give you a sense of day-to-day life in Marseille.

Noailles is another area in which generations of Africans settled, particularly after Algeria became a French territory in 1830. The scruffy and chaotic market here runs from Monday to Saturday, with sights and scents that could be from a souk in North Africa or the Middle East, with flatbreads baking and kebabs sizzling.

La Plaine, around Place Jean Jaurès, a few streets further east is one of the trendier parts of the city.

Here there are stylish boutiques and bars, as well as a market on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturday mornings with a jumble of stalls selling everything from fresh produce to perfumes.

9. Stade Vélodrome

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 it’s the largest club football stadium in the country, with a capacity of 67,000, and is finally protected from the merciless Mistral wind by a spectacular undulating roof.

Despite being an icon, the Stade Vélodrome hasn’t always been appreciated by the city or OM’s fans, and you’ll learn all you need to know about this history on an hour-long tour, while visiting the dressing rooms, the highest point of the terraces and going pitch-side.

10. Boulevard Longchamp

Palais Longchamp

One of Marseille’s most edifying walks can be taken along the handsome Boulevard Longchamp with its upmarket 19th-century houses and twin row of plane trees.

The best way to do it is to head from Canebière station up towards Palais Longchamp, and the crescent-shaped colonnade and fountain of this imposing 19th-century complex will slowly come in to view.

Palais Longchamp and the park and attractions around it were built to celebrate the completion of the Canal de Marseille, which linked with the Durance River and ended centuries of water supply problems for the city.

The city’s Natural Museum and Museum of Fine Arts are set here too.

11. Cité Radieuse

Cité Radieuse

Built between 1947 and 1952 this apartment building made from concrete was the Swiss architect Le Corbusier’s first Unité d’Habitation, a design that would be repeated across Europe in the post-war period.

The idea was to transfer the homes, streets and amenities of a city into an 18-floor concrete block.

More than a thousand people still live here, but there’s a tour taking you into one of the restored original apartments, and up to the rooftop terrace where you can gaze out over the city.

Like all of Le Corbusier’s buildings it’s now protected as a UNESCO site.

12. L’Estaque


Now a north-western suburb of Marseille, L’Estaque is a fishing village that inspired Cézanne, Braque and an array of other late-19th-century painters.

Cézanne in particular spent a lot of time in L’Estaque, painting scenes of the village and sea in different seasons.

If you’re familiar with his work you may get thrills when you survey these seascapes with your own eyes.

The Marseille artist Adolphe Monticelli was another painter linked to the village in this period, and there’s a museum in L’Estaque with the largest single collection of his work in the world.

On a wander, go by the old port where stalls sell panisses (chips made with chickpea flour) and chichis fregis (donuts).

13. Musée des Docks Romains

Musée des Docks Romains

Marseille’s ancient history is so rich that one museum isn’t enough to show you all there is to see.

The Musée des Docks Romains is a couple of streets in from the north side of the Old Port and covers the site of one of the world’s few known Roman commercial warehouses.

They were uncovered after the war, during the which a number of streets had been dynamited by the Germans.

What will blow you away here are the dolia, massive ceramic jugs as tall as full-grown adults and able to store 2,000 litres of wine or olive oil.

14. Beaches


Despite being on the Mediterranean and having 42 kilometres of coast, Marseille has never been thought of as a beach destination.

In the mid-70s though the Prado seaside park was created, reclaiming 40 hectares of sea and laying it with shingle and sand.

What really makes it is the view of the gnarled white rocks at the start of the Calanques to the southeast.

Your other option for seaside relaxation are the beaches of Corbière in the north, just past L’Estaque.

These are also man-made, and like Prado are protected from erosion by breakwaters.

15. Cuisine


Bouillabaisse is a Marseille dish that is cooked all over the world.

It’s a fish and seafood stew normally made with lean fish that have little market value and are better when cooked down, like scorpionfish, conger and sea robins.

These are stewed with wine, olive oil and saffron, although the remainder of the recipe varies from restaurant to restaurant.

Part of the ritual is rustic bread smothered with rouille, a kind of piquant mayonnaise, and dropped into the soup.

It all goes best with white wines from the Rhône Valley or Languedoc-Roussillon.

On the sweet side you can pick up navettes, cute boat-shaped biscuits in a variety of flavours, from anis to chocolate.

15 Best Things to Do in Marseille (France):

  • Basilique Notre-Dame de la Garde
  • Calanques National Park
  • Musée d'Histoire de Marseille
  • La Corniche
  • La Plaine and Noailles
  • Stade Vélodrome
  • Boulevard Longchamp
  • Cité Radieuse
  • Musée des Docks Romains

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tourist map of marseille france

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tourist map of marseille france

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Marseille tourist map

Marseille tourist map

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Tourist Map Marseille

France’s firstborn city, almost 2,500 years old. It has been the gateway to Europe. With its port, which is currently the third most important one, it has one of the liveliest environments in the French scene, with the best entertainment offer, beautiful crystal-clear beaches, a wide cultural variety and the modernity that this growing city has allowed to be a favorite destination in European tourism. The tour of this city is a real enjoyment of the exotic, along with the stately architecture, all the colorful mixture on the banks of the Mediterranean that Marseille tourist map brings in this article. Besides, a sunny walk along its docks is worth waiting for the night to soak up the nightlife there. It would also be an excellent opportunity to taste the marine gastronomy having as a standard its famous dish, the bouillabaisse.

  • 1 Tourist Map Marseille
  • 2 Tourist Guide Marseille
  • 3 What to see in Marseille
  • 4 Map of hotels in Marseille

After Paris, this city has the largest population in France, with 1.6 million people. As a good French city its heritage reduces it in an extension of 240 square kilometers. Its port of relevance in the Mediterranean is equal to Rotterdam and Antwerp, and that represents the neuralgic center, where the naval activity and of hydrocarbons has marked a communication knot between Spain Italy and Switzerland. In the same way we can emphasize the cultural and historical legacy that so much calls the attention of the visitors, involving his port with the principal routes of the city that direct the attention towards beautiful squares, cafeterias and commercial places. At the top of the city stands the beautiful Cathedral of Marseille, a tourist site that symbolizes the most attractive of the town.

tourist map of marseille france

The visitor’s curiosity explodes when admiring the content of its buildings, the Museum of Fine Arts and the Museum of European and Mediterranean Civilizations, with an extensive exhibition of artistic and ethnographic signs that have marked the city since the beginning of man. Its monuments embellish the city with the characteristic medieval golden past, such as the Longchamp Palace and the Pharo Palace. If you want to take a walk through the fortified history, the Ir castles, Fort St. Jean and the Castle of Borely, in addition to their imposing structures, house museums that collect evidence of civil history from time immemorial. If you want something different you will always have nature as an ally for escape, do a little trekking in the Calanques National Park; you will have a lot to do with its rocky formations and beautiful coves as well as slopes for trekking.

Tourist Guide Marseille

In addition to the options on the mainland, this city has a beautiful archipelago with picturesque villages where you can live an experience on a smaller scale but which has a very lively tourist activity with its beautiful houses and shops, as well as beautiful natural scenery that brings together nautical events and excursions. All these attractions, as well as those of the city itself, can be seen in the tour we invite you to take with our Marseille tourist guide, where we point out each of these places to visit, as well as the points that connect them so that you have a route devised before you pack your bags and decide to spend as much time as you like in person.

What to see in Marseille

Puerto viejo.

tourist map of marseille france

The port of Marseille is over 2,500 years old, but its expansion and predominance was marked by the centuries to come, giving the Mediterranean Sea a strategic point for trade and adding defensive constructions such as the Fort of Saint Nicholas and the Fort of Saint Jean. Due to its historical relevance and strategic location it continues to have commercial and communication importance. Nowadays it represents the main heritage of the city. The scenery that is lived there is composed by the beautiful marine color and great amount of ships that represent the daily life of this port city. The nightlife in this place is the liveliest in the city. The tour across the entire port due to its extension requires dedication and time so put on some light shoes and get ready to see several resting points, tasting points and street vendors through it.

Marseilles Cathedral

tourist map of marseille france

Between the old and the new port of the city, this cathedral is located as a monumental complex in the heart of the historical centre, near the San Jean Castle. This cathedral is located on the same site as old Paleochristian temples, among others of great importance as the original church Santa Maria la Mayor. Its construction in the 19th century was promoted by Napoleon Bonaparte who laid the foundation stone. Its totally original style is lost among the influence of the Byzantine with the eclectic art of sumptuous proportions. It has a cross-shaped floor plan and because of its dimensions is comparable to major works such as St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome, with the particular style that allows it to be a must-see monument for tourism in Marseille. Its façade is an artistic jewel that tells scenes of Jesus Christ and his apostles in an in its Romanesque details.

Calanques National Park

tourist map of marseille france

Its extension is such that it links Marseilles to Cassis. Only 8,500 of land and no less than 42,000 hectares of marine ecosystem to take a good look at its more than two hundred species of animals from both ecosystems that live together under the protection of the administration of this park. It is unique in its style in all of Europe since it involves semi-urbanized places both by sea and by land. The main attractions of the park are its coves; with an unparalleled blue colour, there are five of them that attract tourists, ideal for kayaking and contact with marine species. Also in this same scenario there is a considerable amount of islands and a submarine canyon. On land, hiking is possible in the calanques that delimit its rocky formations in the middle of the coast. Along the walk you can see the castle of If.

Frioul Archipelago

tourist map of marseille france

Although this archipelago is located in Port Frioul it belongs to the city of Marseille. The same archipelago that is composed of a group of 4 islands. It is bordered by small coves that can be reached on foot. There are also numerous beaches where tourists can enjoy a relaxing bath in its warm waters and enjoy the exotic flora that lives there. It is located only 4 kilometers from the city and has a total area of about 200 hectares. To access you can take a boat from the old port and takes just half an hour to the port of Ratonneau to choose between diving, or renting kayaks or motor barges. We recommend the beaches of the main island where the beaches are more beautiful. There you can find an aquaculture farm, another attraction of the area.

Longchamp Palace

tourist map of marseille france

The need to supply the city with water was a very necessary idea of medieval France. But it was not until the 19th century that work began on it; when the lack of this service exceeded the tolerance limits of a France plagued by endemic diseases. An arduous work such as the 85-kilometre canal, supported by almost twenty bridges carrying water, made it worthy of a monument in his honour. This homage is represented in the details of its façade; the representation of tigers and lions was in charge of the chisel of the artist Jules Cavelier. The enclosure is an entire 19th-century palace and inside it is currently the Marseille Museum of Fine Arts, as well as the Museum of Natural History and a botanical garden.

Castle of If

tourist map of marseille france

If you’ve read the Count of Monte Cristo’s novel, then this castle will be familiar to you. Located on one of the islands in the Frioul archipelago, it was built in the 16th century by Francis I. It is mentioned in the works of Alexander Dumas and has become one of the most popular tourist sites in France. It mainly served as a watchtower and defense thanks to its towers, but because of its location it ended up becoming a European gannet. Apart from the Count of Monte Cristo who represents the most relevant enigma, it can be stated about other important prisoners who ended up here for crimes of treason; together with them their history and legends.  From Puerto Viejo there are boats that take visitors on a 25-minute journey. The route is decorated with the fantastic natural landscape of marine life and the coasts.

Pharo Palace

tourist map of marseille france

This site, which currently hosts important events and conferences, was planned by Napoleon III in the 19th century. At the time it arose as a need to respond to the growing development and modernization of society and the city. Today it is part of the monumental complex of Marseille shortly after it became a hospital for cholera and tuberculosis patients. Its structure, with two large spaces on the sides, as well as shell sculptures, resembles the shape of a spa, rather than a palace. The classical influence on its architecture is presented by the use of stone.  Its facade, as well as the interior elements were created by the artists Gilbert, Simon and Vittoz. Its garden known as Emile Duclaux occupies 7 hectares of the surrounding land.

tourist map of marseille france

Diverse cultures and a lively life is what defines the oldest district of Marseille. Venture into the port and historical spirit of Marseille through its many streets. You can start your tour of the Old Port up a slight slope of the hill in which this neighborhood is located, until you reach its highest point; there where a Greek square from the 3rd century BC used to be. Its picturesque houses in antiquity were occupied by fishermen’s guilds. In some places you will find places like the Diamond House, the Hotêl Daviel or the Vieille Charité. Both day and night the activity of this neighborhood is in On mode. One of the places you can’t miss are the craft shops, bars, cafés, restaurants and terraces.

Fort Saint Jean

tourist map of marseille france

This fort has been the eye embedded in the opening of the city’s port, facing the Mediterranean. Faithful witness of the events that caused changes in the city throughout its history since the 12th century. Its towers were additions to reinforce the city from attacks by the Aragonese in the 15th century; one of them was due to the desire of the merchants to have a watchtower that could see the ships approaching from just 20 kilometres from the horizon. A moat that surrounds the castle is part of the defensive system in case it is isolated from the city. In addition to the intense activity it sustained during the medieval period in the centuries to come, it gave no rest; it served as a prison during the French Revolution and in the Second World War as an arsenal for the Wehrmacht.

Map of hotels in Marseille

In Marseille you will have plenty of options for accommodation. You can choose in the city from the Old Port, its historical centre to the liveliest neighbourhoods, it all depends on the atmosphere you prefer. Even on your journey through the Frioul Archipelago there are hotels and canes that provide you with a paradisiacal experience. For the more eccentric tastes the very same If Castle offers the opportunity to stay in a luxury hotel; all this can be seen on our map of hotels in Marseille, where the location and reviews of each hotel are just a click away. Use the Grand Tonic Hotel Marseille as a recommendation, where elegance is combined with the wonderful views of the Old Port. Close to the metro station. Its elegant rooms have WiFi service, satellite TV, minibar and offer a buffet breakfast on its terrace.

Video of the most impressive places in Marseille

tourist map of marseille france

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Marseille Travel Guide 2024: Explore France's second largest city Unveiling the Mediterranean, Vieux-Port to Calanques, Tips to plan your trip, What not to do and Maps to guide

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Marseille Travel Guide 2024: Explore France's second largest city Unveiling the Mediterranean, Vieux-Port to Calanques, Tips to plan your trip, What not to do and Maps to guide Kindle Edition

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A white double sink in a kitchen space, with a yellow countertop and green walls, both of which have patterned tiles showing a red vine with green and yellow leaves. A window with eight panes has a carved border around it. On the counter, cooking implements, a soap jar painted with fish and a cutting board.

other rooms

A Tiny Weekend Home in a French Fisherman’s Cabin

One Parisian couple found a retrofitted house in Marseille, right on the water’s edge.

Cement tiles frame a glass-brick window in the kitchen of Xavier and Pauline Favre’s cabanon in Marseille, France. Credit... Clément Vayssieres

Supported by

By Christopher Petkanas

Photographs by Clément Vayssieres

  • March 20, 2024

Two years ago, when the Paris-based Pauline and Xavier Favre, an executive for a fragrance company and a producer of television commercials, respectively, began looking for a weekend retreat in their native Marseille , they knew exactly what they wanted: a roughly 800-square-foot cabanon on a rocky inlet within 30 minutes of the Vieux Port. A byproduct of the city’s 19th-century industrial boom, cabanons — the word means “shed” in French — were meant to be modest seaside escapes for factory workers and fishermen.

A table next to two yellow banquettes with lime green cushions with small four chairs around it. The windows are frosted and a French door leads outside. Behind one banquette, an oval mirror hangs above a side table with a painted fish on the front.

“Cabanons are usually kept within the same family, generation to generation,” says Xavier, 51. “They almost never come on the market.” He and Pauline, 50, bought theirs, a retrofitted 1960s fisherman’s cottage in Les Goudes, a scruffy port village of some 500 permanent residents on the outskirts of Marseille, for about $400,000. With its boxy facade painted a rich, yolky yellow set off by cobalt shutters, the Favres’ two-story cabanon is on a steep slope that rises above the port. You can enter the house on either of the two floors, each with just six-and-a-half-foot-high ceilings. The bottom door leads to a harbor-facing guest room where the original owner stored his boat before enclosing the space. On the upper level is an all-in-one kitchen, living and dining area, as well as the primary bedroom, which barely contains a queen-size mattress, and the cabanon’s lone bathroom.

The previous owners — an army general and his wife, a journalist — paneled the main room in rustic limed wood with scalloped trim. In front of a built-in cabinet, where stacks of plates and linens and bottles of wine from nearby Cassis are stored behind chicken wire, sit heavy, floridly carved banquettes like those on an old-fashioned carousel. “It feels like a chalet, which we didn’t love,” says Xavier. “But on the advice of all the friends and architects we asked, we decided to keep it.” The couple made the place their own by lining open shelves with vintage cafe pitchers, old stoneware confit pots and sgraffito ceramics by the Marseillais potter Vincent Verde. In the living area, which sits on a platform above the kitchen and dining room, hangs a still life of fish and sea urchins by the Provençal painter Eugène Baboulène. Light enters the cabanon on three sides, including through glass bricks that, crucially, thwart the gaze of passers-by — neighboring cabanons are mere steps away. The outdoor space consists of a tiny demilune balcony that overlooks the sea.

If the couple don’t seem too concerned about leaving their mark on their house, it might be because part of it sits on land that isn’t legally theirs; the seafront belongs to the French government, to which they pay a small annual fee. “You never know when they might take it back,” says Xavier. “But we never gave it a second thought.” More important is the opinion of the villagers, who are suspicious of transplants. “It drives Pauline crazy,” says Xavier. “They refuse to believe we’re Marseillais.”

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