05 March 2020 by Jessica Boston
Discover the fascinating city of Marseille
Marseille is one of the largest cities in France and the biggest port. Situated on the Meditteranean coast it is a fascinating multicultural place with food, art and architecture reflecting a heritage that began in classical Greece and has been enriched by settlers from Italy, North Africa and a myriad of other places.
Unlike the glitz and glamour of the Cote d’Azur, Marseille has a much cooler, edgier reputation. If you want to discover somewhere new with a stunning natural landscape, famous history and vibrant culture, Marseille is the place for you!
Explore Le Vieux Port
As you’d expect, the port is the heart of Marseille and well worth a morning exploring. You’ll see a huge selection of yachts, pleasure boats and fishing vessels, market stalls where fishmongers sell the freshest catch of the day, bustling shops and harbourside restaurants, striking art sculptures, a ferris wheel and excellent street entertainment, especially in the summer season.
Take a tour
The port is a great place to start your adventures with the Blue Coast mini train, Colorbus, electric bike tours and various boat trips departing from here to help you see more of the stunning coastline and the historic city sights including the Abbey St Victor and the impressive Basilique Notre-Dame-de-la-Garde.
Discover colourful graffiti and local culture in The Panier
This lovely Old Town district at the north end of the port is full of independent shops selling locally produced art, restaurants and cafes reflecting the diverse cultures of the city, and some interesting museums and galleries all hidden away amongst the narrow winding streets, many of which feature colourful decorative street art.
Try the delicious seafood of Marseille
No trip to Marseille is complete without trying the wonderful local bouillabaisse, here the famous fish stew includes three varieties of fresh local fish and shellfish such as sea urchin, spider crab, velvet crab and mussels. Here the dish is traditionally served with the fish presented on a platter separate from the broth and accompanied by rouille (garlic mayonnaise) and toasted croutons on the side.
Hike the coastal path of Parc National des Calanques
If you are up for a two hour hike from the nearest carpark (or four hours from the town) you’ll be able to visit the gorgeous beaches of the Parc National des Calanques. These unspoilt, secluded bays are hidden treasures of azure sea, white sand and beautiful rocky outcrops, the furthest d’en Vau is simply stunning! It’s an unforgettable landscape to discover that makes the walk well worthwhile. Be sure to wear proper footwear and bring plenty of water if you’re planning to hike on a hot day.
Visit the iconic island prison of the Count of Monte Cristo
Chateau d’If is a castle set on a rocky island in the bay of Marseille. This lonely setting was used by Alexandre Dumas as inspiration for the prison where the hero of his famous novel The Count of Monte Cristo was imprisoned before making his daring escape. In reality the castle has a similarly menacing history being built in 1524 and used as a prison for anyone in opposition to the royalty of France. The fortress is perfectly preserved and an impressive place to visit. Take a boat trip and stop off at the castle and another island in the bay Ile de Frioul where there are charming seafront restaurants and a lovely beach too.
Marseille really is a wonderful city to visit at any time of year, why not browse our holiday
properties in the region and plan a trip to see it for yourself?