Being based in the UK, a quick trip across the ocean to the South of France is a very popular option for many here, while the beautiful grapevines to relax alongside with a gorgeous bottle of wine definitely appeals to some, Johnny Depp being one of them!
I have written up a list of things to do in Marseille, containing everything I feel you would be disappointed to miss out on if you visited, however there is a host of other ideas you could try, so if you have any further questions, send me an email or post it as a comment at the bottom of the page and I will get back to you as soon as possible.
1) Notre Dame De La Garde
Standing on the summit and looking over the entirety of Marseille, this was an important post in the past as they could spot enemies from afar. Built in the mid nineteenth century, this landmark has stood the test of time, however make sure you’re wearing good walking shoes, as it isn’t a quick journey up the hill.
2) Musee Des Civilisations De L’Europe Et De La Mediterranee
Wow, that’s a mouthful. Combining art, history and archeology, this is a must when visiting Marseille. It also has an incredibly famous restaurant inside, where the well known chef Gerald Passedat oversees the menu and cooking, therefore if you have the money to eat here, it will definitely be worth it. Also, if you’re a fan of reading, they have a huge book collection.
3) Boat Ride To Calanques
I love the sea, therefore anything water based will always appeal to me. A perfect activity for people of all ages, you can combine the gorgeous Southern France beaches with a chance to learn about the culture of the area. There are tours for different lengths of time, some taking up to 6 hours! Alternatively, you can just stick to a 45 minute cruise. The good thing is they don’t overload these trips, so you can directly ask questions and there is a personal feel to these ventures.
4) Vieux Port
I have to be honest, I’m not a big seafood fan. BUT, if you are, then head down to Vieux port. The local restaurants serve fish that has been freshly caught, including a large number of dishes you probably can’t get back home, so it is worth a punt if this tickles your taste buds. My personal tip – head there for sunset, as you can get some really good photos in the early evening on the port.
5) Le Panier
This old neighbourhood used to have a real bad rep. Funny what a difference time can make. Formerly an area known for high crime levels, it is now an area filled with cafe’s, posh restaurants, vintage shops and art galleries. The buildings have a beautiful yellow colour and are often included in literature on the area.
6) Musee D’Histoire De Marseille
I’m a fan of history museums. In fact, I think the History museum is the best one London has to offer and we all know how many museums they have in London! But history is a key aspect of this city, having stood for 26 centuries, with a strong Greek history. It’s a great way to learn more about the city you’re staying in.
7) La Corniche
Most people will tell you to drive along the coast, however with such stunning views and sea air, I reckon this is an experience you should have by foot. It will allow you to take in the sights and to take regular stops to get photos or simply to take in the moment.
Happen to be heading over to Marseille for July? Perfect! This is when the International Documentary Film Festival takes place. All over the city, there will be live showings of new documentaries, within cafes, cinemas, art galleries, libraries, in fact just about anywhere they can fit a projector. I think the best are the open air showings, as you can relax with a glass of wine and enjoy the warm summer evening, while watching a breath-taking screening.
9) Basilique Saint Victor
This building was built in separate parts throughout different centuries. It has a bit of a ‘castle feel’ with the turreted towers, which were built in the 11th and 14th century, however the actual church itself was first constructed a long time before this. The building is dedicated to the martyr Saint Victor, hence the name. This is easily one of Marseille’s oldest and most iconic buildings.
10) Chateau D’If
Located in Lle d’lf, you actually have to take a short ferry ride from the Marseille port to reach this attraction. The limestone cliffs and turquoise sea makes this a popular attraction for tourists, however the history of the Chateau also adds an element of magic. Much like the attraction of Alcatraz to San Francisco, this building was converted into a prison and has become a popular attraction for the city.
11) Scuba Diving CIP
This is a great diving resort with some top notch teachers. It isn’t something people first think about when visiting Marseille, but they have some really cool looking sealife living down there and along the coral. Like I said, I’m always going to promote anything based in water, but this is a great option for those who aren’t scared of going below the surface. My mate apparently saw an octopus, I was a little bit jealous!
Address: Port de la Pointe Rouge | Entree N°3 – Digue Ouest, 13008 Marseille, France