Embark on a tour of Marseille’s Vieux Port, a gorgeous harbor that features a buzzing promenade and centuries of Mediterranean history. You’ll find the Vieux Port between the old town and the Notre Dame de la Garde Basilica. Spend a day here to learn about some of Marseille’s heritage, enjoy the cafés and explore some of the city’s premier attractions.
Start your day with a breakfast at one of the many cafés along the promenade. Cafés on the north side of the port offer a must-see view of the Notre Dame de la Garde, which rises majestically from an outcrop to the south.
After breakfast, walk around the area to see some of the structures that tell of Vieux Port’s 2,600-year history. The forts that guard the entrance to the port, for example, date back to the age of French kings and beyond. Fort St. Jean, at the north entrance, is from the late 12th century and is now an exhibition space for the Museum of European and Mediterranean Civilizations (Musée des civilisations de l'Europe et de la Méditerranée, MuCEM).
For a tasty lunch, buy fresh produce at the fish market held daily on the promenade. Then, head to Panier (old town) to wander historic streets and to browse the many food and shopping stalls.
The port is also a great starting point for other adventures around Marseille. The bus terminus to the south is an access point from which you can reach all parts of the city. Hop on a boat and spend a day exploring the spectacular white limestone cliffs of the Calanques National Park. Additionally, the port is located adjacent to the Canebière, a lively thoroughfare lined with galleries, opulent theaters and the tourism office of Marseille.
Vieux Port is central to Marseille, offers plenty of accommodation options and is well serviced by public transport.