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Tourism, holidays & weekends guide in the Bouches-du-Rhône

Marseille - Tourism, holidays & weekends guide in the Bouches-du-Rhône

Founded by the Phoceans 600 years before Christ, Marseille is the oldest town in France! Also marked by the passing Romans, the city developed with a real intermingling of cultures around its old port (Vieux-Port) protected by its two forts, Saint-Nicolas and Saint-Jean. Heart of the city, the old port is an essential place to visit to soak up the atmosphere of its fish market and its lively quaysides, especially during the evenings where football matches take place with the team of the city, the Olympique de Marseille. This place is also where you can sample the famous local speciality, the bouillabaisse (fish soup). Famous street, the Canebière is also very popular in the city.

Very picturesque, the Panier district boasts typical tall houses with colourful facades and washing hung out on lines. Pretty and old shop signs decorate certain facades. The Vieille Charité, a hospice today containing the Mediterranean Archaeology museum and African, Oceanian and Amerindian Arts museum, and the Hôtel Dieu hospital are beautiful buildings of old Marseille.

The Fine Art museum of the city is in the sumptuous Longchamp palace. Greek and Romanesque remains are some of the features of the Vestiges garden.

Built in the 19th century, the Notre-Dame-de-la-Garde basilica overhangs the city by 162 metres. From its square, the view of Marseille and its surrounding area is panoramic!

Additional information

Second largest town in France in terms of inhabitants, Marseille is a city located in the heart of the Provence-Alpes-Cote d'Azur region, in the department of Bouches-du-Rhone. Seat of the metropolis Aix-Marseille-Provence, it takes place between the massif of Estaque and that of Etoile, not far from Cassis and Aix-en-Provence.

Also the oldest city in France, the ancient Massalia was founded in 600 BC by Phoenicians from Greece. Important port of trade in antiquity, Marseille still remains today the first French port. Since its origins, the Mediterranean city has enjoyed an important cosmopolitan atmosphere, thanks to its openness to the Middle East, Southern Europe and North Africa. This mixture is found everywhere in the architectural and cultural heritage of the city.

Internationally renowned, the town of Marseille is now famous for its tourist sites, but also by its football team, the Marseille Olympics, which has fans all over the world. The proximity to the Big Blue, the Mediterranean Sea, offers a new tourist attraction to this sunny and rich city in a good mood.

Things to see and do

The architectural heritage of Marseille reflects all the epochs that marked the history of this great city of the Mediterranean world.

Religious buildings are not lacking in Marseille, starting with the very famous Notre-Dame-de-la-Garde. Perched on the heights of the city, the latter offers a 360 ° panorama to its visitors, allowing to admire all the most beautiful landscapes around. Founded in 1214, it was quickly an important pilgrimage site for sailors. Inside, one can admire a real masterpiece of polychromy inspired by Byzantine culture, as well as a beautiful silver statue on the high altar. The Good Mother, perched atop the bell tower, has protected the whole city since 1869.

Major, the cathedral of the city, replaced the Old Major, a church dating from the twelfth century. The present building was built in the second half of the 19th century and reveals a beautiful alternation of green and white stones on its façade. In the Byzantine style, the interior harmoniously blends the colors of the stones of Florence, Carrara marble or Tunisian onyx, all adorned with monumental mosaics. In the town, you will also discover the Saint-Laurent church of Provençal Romanesque style, or the Saint-Victor abbey and its parts dating from the 11th century.

Several forts, which formerly served to protect Marseille, are still visible, like that of Saint-Jean. It opens today to the public with the organization of exhibitions proposed by the Museum of Civilizations of Europe and the Mediterranean. Classified as Historic Monuments, Fort Saint-Nicolas, still occupied by the army, was built, like the previous one, under the orders of Louis XIV.

As you walk through the city, you will also have the opportunity to admire beautiful 19th century mansions, such as the Palace of the Pharo built for the Empress Eugenie or the buildings of the Rue de la République which connects the Old Port In the Joliette district.

Built in 1862, the Longchamp Palace, classified and listed in the Historic Monuments, deserves a detour. It includes a water tower, as well as two important museums. The Museum of Fine Arts unveils collections of paintings, sculptures and other drawings from the sixteenth to the nineteenth century, while the Museum of Natural History, classified as a museum in France, offers more than 80,000 specimens of animals or 200,000 specimens plants. The latter are presented in four themed rooms, including the one in Provence, listed in the Historical Monuments for its frescoes painted by Raphaël Ponson.

Museums are not lacking in Marseille, which includes no fewer than 26 cultural sites. Opened in 2013, the MuCEM, Museum of Civilizations of Europe and the Mediterranean, is one of the most important. Located on the sea, it offers the old collections of the museum of arts and folk traditions of Paris, now closed. You can also discover the history museum of Marseille, which reveals the city's past, the museum of contemporary art, or the Cantini Museum, which also offers collections of modern and contemporary art.

Rich in interest, the natural heritage of Marseille also deserves attention, especially the famous calanques, the first peri-urban national park in Europe. In the Phocaean city, several parks open their doors, like the park Borély, or that of the beaches of Prado which overlook the Mediterranean Sea.

Leisure activities

Last nameActivity typeRateCity
Themed traditional sailboat ride
Nature and the great outdoors36 € to 54 € Marseille
Sea excursion and visit to the Calanques
Nature and the great outdoors160 € to 570 € Le Rove
Segway Tour: The Old Neighbourhoods of Marseilles
Entertainment19 € Marseille
Skip-the-line Ticket to MuCEM (Mediterranean Culture Museum in Marseille)
Culture and education10 € Marseille
Grand Tour of Marseilles by Segway – 2-hours
Culture and education35 € Marseille
Electric bike tour of Marseille
Entertainment42 € to 85 € Marseille
Discover Marseilles by Segway – 90-minute tour
Entertainment30 € Marseille
Marseilles Pass: Museums, Activities, Transport All Inclusive
Culture and education27 € Marseille

Places of interest

Information points
Leisure centres
Natural sites
Performance halls

Events and festivities

Marseille has several markets located all over the city. You can discover a flower market from Monday to Saturday, in the morning, a farmers' market from September to June on Mondays, or weekly markets taking place every day of the week. Marseille also offers a Christmas market in December.

World Music Forum, Babel Med Music is organized in March.

In April or May, the Reflets festival highlights the lesbian, gay, bi and trans cinema with its varied and varied cultural activities.

The international dance festival of Marseille is held between June and July.

Every year, in early July, Marseille hosts its international film festival with screenings and other conferences.

In July, Marseille Jazz of the five continents inflames the park of the palace of Longchamp.

In September, Marsatac offers electronic music concerts.

Organized by the pupils of the Central School of Marseille, the Massiliades festival offers concerts of contemporary music.

September in Sea proposes to appreciate large maritime parades.

Festival of world music, the Fiesta of the South takes place in October.

Detailed information

FID Marseille
An international event for film buffsFrom 9 to 15 july 2019


The old Port
The old Port
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Our Lady of the Guard
Our Lady of the Guard
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The Goudes
The Goudes
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The Cathedral of the Major
The Cathedral of the Major
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The Goudes
The Goudes
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Notre-Dame de la Garde seen from the Chemin du Bois Sacré
Notre-Dame de la Garde seen from the Chemin du Bois Sacré
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Visits, leisure and activities nearby


Bed & breakfasts

Vacation rentals



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