Welcome to Marseille, France’s oldest city, beloved for its history, art, architecture and café culture. Be sure to pack a camera, swimming costume and hiking boots as Marseille has beautiful historic attractions, sun-drenched city beaches and superb hiking along its dramatic Mediterranean coastline.
Start your day at the city’s bustling center, the Vieux Port. Sample the coffee and brunches that local café owners have proudly perfected into an art form over the last century.
For some of the best sightseeing, take a stroll through the Panier, the city’s old town just north of the port. Explore the Vieille Charité museum, then visit the Hotêl de Ville to admire its magnificent Baroque-style exterior. Catch the Petit Train from the north side of the port to the magnificent Notre Dame de la Garde Basilica, where you’ll be rewarded with heavenly city views.
Visit the grand Opéra de Marseille and some of the many galleries and theaters around the bustling Canebière thoroughfare. While you are on the Canebière, stop by the tourism office to see what events and festivals are on in Marseille during your visit. In the Noailles district, experience the exotic in the bazaar-like atmosphere of the African markets.
Discover Marseille’s great outdoors by hiking or boating along the southern coastline through the exquisite limestone features of the Calanques National Park. Take a guided boat tour from the Vieux Port to Château d’If, a former prison island made famous in Alexandre Dumas' Count of Monte Cristo. Spend a lazy afternoon in Borély Park. Explore its grand chateau and its botanic garden, then head to nearby Prado Beach or Borély Beach and enjoy a drink by the sea at sunset.
Marseille’s best sights are within walking distance of the Vieux Port, and bus and boat routes run frequently from here to more distant attractions. Rail lines connect Marseille to just about everywhere in France, and to several rail hubs in Central Europe. Regular ferries link the city to Corsica, Sardinia and North Africa. Marseille Provence Airport is one of France’s busiest, and connects with most major European airports.