When thinking of Marseille, a cute little French town probably won’t come to mind. Well that’s kind of right. Marseille is more to be known as a harbour-city. But let me introduce a little more of Marseille to you.
Marseille is indeed located at a large harbour, with ferries going back and forth to Northern Africa. Over the years it became a multicultural city because of it’s location. Since then, lots of cultures live here peacefully side by side. You’ll see Arabic families buying their baguettes in the morning and you’ll see the French in Arabic coffee houses. But what can you, the traveller, expect of Marseille?
What to see?
Back to the harbour. This is probably the most visited attraction in the city. The Vieux Port (old harbour) is a large promenade with a Ferris wheel and many cafes and bars (see picture above). Right behind it, in the alleys, you’ll find a lot of restaurants and even more places to hang out. You can actually eat pretty cheap in these streets. Many of the restaurants use a three-course deal. And this all under 20 euros. The food is pretty good, but the restaurants on the other hand can be a bit shabby when it comes to the interior.
@ N 43°17.659′ E 5°22.115
This ancient fort is located at the harbour and cool to explore. The entrance is partly free and gives you the opportunity to walk around and see Marseille from different angles. Knowing this fort used to be first protection for Marseille makes it even cooler to enter it.
@ Prom. Louis Brauquier | 43.2953° 5.3619°
Cathédrale de la Major de Marseille
The Cathedral is pretty on the outside, but stunning on the inside! Unfortunately the entrance is being renovated right now. So no pretty pictures of the front, but the inside is gooood. It has several beautiful vaults and the stripes from the outside continue on the inside. It’s an impressive building! And: can you name all the flags that will welcome you inside?
@ Place de la Major, 13002 Marseille | 43° 17′ 58, 5° 21′ 53
Notre Dame de la Garde
This is the stunner of Marseille. As you can see it from lots of places in the city (with a height of 162 meter ), you know this is the one! With a huuugge statue covered in gold shining in the sun, it will definitely catch your attention. It’s the statue of Holy Maria, who is to protect the sailors. Notre Dame de la Garde means Our Lady of the Guard in French. Inside the Notre Dame you will see more references to the sea and its sailors. It is very worth visiting this church. Due to being built on a hill, you will always have to climb a little bit before entering the basilisk. Fun detail: it has its own drawbridge. Very unnecessary but fun though. Entrance is free and the view over the city is unbelievable.
@ Rue Fort du Sanctuaire | 43°17’03.48 5°22’16.65
Also known as Des Réformés. This church is located at a pretty buse street, which makes it stand out from the crowd. The amazing crafted details are astonishing and worth staring at for a while. Great for picture takings.
@ 8 cours Franklin Roosevelt, 13001 Marseille | 43° 17′ 56 5° 23′ 08
Where we stayed
Of course there are several hotels to be found in the city, we always go for the cheaper option. This could be a hostel or apartment. This time we choose Thubaneau 3, located at the heart of the city, in the first arrondissement. It’s a nice modern apartment and even has a washing machine.
@ 19 Rue Thubaneau | 43°17’51.8 5°22’42.0
Some sort of conclusion
Of course there’s a lot more to do in Marseille, but this is just what caught our attention. In my opinion this French city is rather small when it comes to cultural sights and we didn’t stay that long to be honest. But this could also be because we visited Marseille in winter. I can’t speak of any cool things that may be there in warmer days. During our stay we rented a car and went driving around the Provence. I highly recommend it. More about that later..
Thanks for reading and I hope it’ll help you for your stay in Marseille in the future. Save travels!