Top shore-excursions in the busiest cruise ports of Europe in summer 2023 - MARSEILLE, FRANCE

Immerse Yourself in Marseille: A Blend of History, Cuisine, and Lively Spirit of Provence

Marseille history

Cruise ship in Marseille portCruise ship in Marseille port

Marseille has a rich and fascinating past that dates back over 2,600 years. Here's an overview of the city's ancient history:

  • Greek Origins: Marseille, known as Massalia in ancient times, was founded by Greek settlers from Phocaea around 600 BC. They chose the location for its strategic position on the Mediterranean coast, making it an important trading port. The Greeks established Massalia as an independent city-state with its own laws and governance.
  • Roman Influence: In 49 BC, during the Roman conquest of Gaul, Julius Caesar captured Marseille and incorporated it into the expanding Roman Empire. Under Roman rule, Marseille flourished as a major commercial hub, benefiting from the empire's extensive trade networks. The city became an important center for the production and distribution of goods, such as wine, olive oil, and pottery.

old port of Marseille

  • Early Christianity: During the Roman period, Marseille played a significant role in the spread of Christianity. According to legend, Mary Magdalene, one of Jesus' followers, arrived in Marseille after the crucifixion and started preaching the Christian faith. The city became an early Christian center, and the Abbey of St. Victor, founded in the 5th century, stands as a testament to Marseille's early Christian heritage.
  • Medieval Times: In the Middle Ages, Marseille faced various challenges, including invasions by barbarian tribes, outbreaks of the plague, and political conflicts. The city alternated between periods of independence and periods of control by different rulers, including the Counts of Provence, the Holy Roman Empire, and the Kingdom of France. Marseille's strategic location continued to attract merchants and traders from around the Mediterranean.
  • Renaissance and Expansion: During the Renaissance, Marseille experienced a period of growth and cultural development. The city became a hub for maritime trade, connecting Europe with the Mediterranean, Africa, and the East. Marseille's port expanded, and its influence reached far beyond its walls. The wealth brought by trade allowed for the construction of grand buildings and monuments, some of which can still be admired today.

Marseille Palais du Pharo

  • Industrialization and Modernization: In the 19th century, Marseille underwent significant changes due to industrialization and urban development. The city became an important industrial center, particularly in shipbuilding, soap production, and manufacturing. The population grew rapidly as people from various regions migrated to Marseille in search of work and opportunity.

Throughout its history, Marseille has faced challenges, including economic downturns, political unrest, and destruction caused by World War II. However, the city has always demonstrated resilience, rebuilding and reinventing itself. Today, Marseille stands as a vibrant and multicultural metropolis, blending its ancient roots with a modern and dynamic atmosphere. By delving into the ancient history of Marseille, you can showcase the city's enduring legacy and its role as a melting pot of cultures, shaped by the civilizations that have left their mark on its streets, architecture, and way of life.

Climate in Marseille

Marseille enjoys a Mediterranean climate, characterized by mild winters and hot, dry summers. Here's an overview of the climate in Marseille:

  • Summers (June to August): Summers in Marseille are generally hot and sunny. Average temperatures range from 23°C (73°F) to 29°C (84°F), with occasional heatwaves pushing temperatures even higher. The city experiences long hours of sunshine, making it an ideal time to visit the beautiful beaches and indulge in outdoor activities. However, it's important to stay hydrated and protect yourself from the intense sun.
  • Spring (March to May) and Autumn (September to November): Spring and autumn in Marseille are mild and pleasant. Temperatures during these seasons range from 12°C (54°F) to 20°C (68°F). These transitional seasons offer comfortable weather for exploring the city, with fewer crowds compared to the peak summer months. Spring brings colorful blooms, while autumn showcases a beautiful array of warm hues.

rocky coast in the south of francerocky coast in the south of France

  • Winter (December to February): Winters in Marseille are relatively mild compared to many other European destinations. Average temperatures range from 5°C (41°F) to 13°C (55°F). While snowfall is rare, there can be occasional rainfall during this time. However, winter is generally a quieter period for tourism, making it a good time to explore indoor attractions, and museums, and sample the city's culinary delights.

It's worth noting that Marseille experiences the mistral, a strong, cold wind that blows from the northwest. The mistral can occur throughout the year but is most common during the winter and spring months. It can bring cooler temperatures and clear skies but can also be quite strong, so it's advisable to dress appropriately and take precautions when venturing outside during mistral episodes. Overall, Marseille's Mediterranean climate makes it an appealing destination for visitors year-round. The summer months offer the best beach weather, while spring and autumn provide comfortable temperatures for outdoor exploration. Even in winter, Marseille retains its charm with milder temperatures compared to many other regions in France.

Marseille, France, la corniche. Vue du vallon des Auffes.Marseille, France, La Corniche. Vue du vallon des Auffes.

Tourism in developing in Marseille

Tourism in Marseille has been steadily developing and gaining momentum in recent years. The city has made significant efforts to enhance its infrastructure, promote cultural attractions, and improve its overall tourism offerings. Here are some key factors contributing to the growth of tourism in Marseille:

  • Cultural Revitalization: Marseille has invested in the revitalization of its cultural heritage, promoting its historical landmarks, museums, and artistic scene. Renowned cultural institutions like the MuCEM (Museum of European and Mediterranean Civilizations), the Marseille History Museum, and the Museum of Fine Arts attract both local and international visitors. The city's diverse and vibrant cultural events, including festivals, exhibitions, and performances, further contribute to its appeal.
  • Urban Renewal: Marseille has undergone extensive urban renewal projects, transforming former industrial sites into vibrant cultural and recreational spaces. The transformation of the Old Port, the creation of the Euroméditerranée business district, and the redevelopment of neighborhoods like Le Panier and La Joliette have rejuvenated the cityscape. These initiatives have helped create new tourist hubs and breathe new life into previously neglected areas.

Marseille Saint Jean Castle and Cathedral de la Major and the Vieux port in France

Marseille Saint Jean Castle and Cathedral de la Major and the Old port in France

  • Connectivity and Accessibility: Improved connectivity has played a crucial role in Marseille's tourism growth. The city is well-connected internationally through Marseille Provence Airport, which serves numerous domestic and international flights. The development of high-speed rail connections, including the TGV (Train à Grande Vitesse), has also made Marseille easily accessible from major cities in France and neighboring countries.
  • Cruise Tourism: Marseille is a popular port of call for cruise ships in the Mediterranean. The city's dedicated cruise terminal and ongoing investments in port infrastructure have facilitated the growth of cruise tourism. Visitors arriving by cruise ships have the opportunity to explore the city's attractions, participate in organized tours, and discover the beauty of the surrounding region.
  • Natural Beauty: Marseille's stunning natural environment, including its coastal landscapes and the nearby Calanques National Park, attracts nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts. The Calanques, with their breathtaking cliffs, hidden coves, and hiking trails, offer a unique experience for visitors seeking natural beauty and adventure. The city's proximity to picturesque coastal towns, such as Cassis and La Ciotat, also contributes to Marseille's appeal as a tourism destination.

sardines au barbecueSardines au barbecue

  • Gastronomy and Culinary Experiences: Marseille's reputation as a culinary destination has also played a significant role in its tourism development. The city's diverse food scene, with its emphasis on fresh seafood, traditional Provençal dishes, and local specialties, attracts food enthusiasts from around the world. The presence of bustling food markets, street food vendors, and acclaimed restaurants offers visitors an authentic taste of Marseille's gastronomic delights.

The combination of Marseille's cultural heritage, urban renewal, accessibility, natural beauty, and culinary offerings has contributed to its growing popularity as a tourism destination. The city continues to invest in tourism infrastructure and promotion, ensuring that visitors have a memorable and enjoyable experience when exploring Marseille's unique blend of history, culture, and coastal charm.

Advantages of hiring Local Private Tour Guides in Marseille

Hiring a local private tour guide in Marseille can offer numerous advantages and enhance your overall travel experience. Here are some key benefits:

Marseille cathedral. Cathedrale Sainte Marie Majeure. Marseille, FranceCathedrale Sainte Marie Majeure. Marseille, France

  • Personalized and Flexible Itineraries: Private tour guides can tailor the itinerary to your specific interests, ensuring that you visit the places and attractions that align with your preferences. They can customize the tour based on your pace, preferences, and time constraints, allowing you to make the most of your visit. Whether you're interested in history, art, gastronomy, or local experiences, a private guide can curate a personalized itinerary just for you.
  • Insider Access and Skip-the-Line Benefits: With a private tour guide, you may enjoy insider access to certain sites and attractions that are not available to the general public. They can provide you with special access to exclusive locations, hidden viewpoints, or lesser-known spots that are off the beaten path. Additionally, having a guide by your side can often allow you to skip the long queues at popular attractions, saving you time and maximizing your sightseeing opportunities.
  • Local Recommendations and Tips: A local guide can offer valuable recommendations on the best restaurants, cafes, shops, and local experiences in Marseille. They know the city inside out and can steer you towards authentic, lesser-known establishments that offer an immersive and genuine local experience. From recommending the best places to try local cuisine to suggesting hidden gems that may not be in guidebooks, their insider knowledge can significantly enhance your visit.

  • Language and Communication Support: Language barriers can sometimes pose challenges while traveling in a foreign country. Hiring a local tour guide who is fluent in your language and the local language can help bridge that gap. They can facilitate communication with locals, provide translations, and ensure a smooth and hassle-free experience throughout your tour.
  • Safety and Comfort: Navigating a new city can be overwhelming, but having a local guide by your side can provide a sense of security. They are familiar with the city's layout, transportation systems, and safety considerations. They can navigate you through unfamiliar streets, provide guidance on local customs and etiquette, and address any concerns you may have, ensuring a comfortable and safe experience.

Hiring a local private tour guide in Marseille offers a range of advantages, including local knowledge, personalized itineraries, access to hidden gems, recommendations, language support, and added comfort and safety. Their expertise and insights can enrich your journey, allowing you to discover the city's authentic charms and make the most of your time in Marseille.

Costs of Private Tour Guide Services in Marseille

The cost of private tour guide services in Marseille can vary depending on several factors, including the duration of the tour, the level of customization, the expertise of the guide, and any additional services or experiences included. Here are some factors to consider regarding the costs of hiring a private tour guide in Marseille:

  • Duration: Private tour guide services are typically charged on an hourly basis or for a full day. The rates can vary, with longer tours often offering a better value for money. Rates may differ between guides, so it's advisable to inquire about their specific pricing structure.
  • Group Size: Some private tour guides charge a flat fee for a specific number of participants, while others charge per person. If you are traveling with a group, it's essential to confirm whether the guide's rates are based on fixed group size or individual participants.

from Niolon to Ensues-la-RedonneFrom Niolon to Ensues-la-Redonne

  • Expertise and Specialization: Guides with specialized knowledge, such as art history or culinary experts, may have higher rates due to their expertise and qualifications. Their specialized insights and in-depth knowledge can enhance your experience but may come at a premium cost.
  • Customization and Additional Services: If you require a highly customized tour with specific requests or additional services like transportation or entrance fees, these factors can affect the overall cost. It's important to discuss your preferences and any extra services you might need with the guide to obtain an accurate estimate.
  • Off-Peak or Peak Season: The timing of your visit can also influence the cost of private tour guide services. During peak tourist seasons, when demand is high, rates may be slightly higher compared to off-peak periods.

To get a clear understanding of the costs associated with hiring a private tour guide in Marseille, it's recommended to reach out to several tour guides on our PRIVATE GUIDE WORLD platform at They will be able to provide you with specific pricing details based on your requirements and preferences. Additionally, consider reading reviews and testimonials to ensure the guide's reputation and quality of service align with your expectations.

Remember that while private tour guide services may involve an additional cost, the personalized experience, local knowledge, and convenience they provide can greatly enhance your exploration of Marseille, making it a worthwhile investment for a memorable and enriching journey.

Which tours do the local tour guides suggest in Marseille?

Local tour guides in Marseille offer a variety of tours that showcase the city's highlights, cultural heritage, and unique experiences. Here are some popular tours suggested by local tour guides in Marseille:

  • Marseille City Tour: This tour provides a comprehensive overview of Marseille's top attractions, including the Old Port (Vieux Port), the Basilique Notre-Dame de la Garde, Le Panier neighborhood, and the MuCEM. It offers insights into the city's history, culture, and local lifestyle.

Town Hall of Marseille with flags, FranceTown Hall of Marseille with flags, France

  • Historical Walking Tour: This guided walking tour takes you through the historical heart of Marseille, exploring its ancient Greek and Roman origins. You'll visit landmarks like the Abbaye Saint-Victor, the Fort Saint-Nicolas, and the Fort Saint-Jean, learning about Marseille's rich past and its significance in Mediterranean history.
  • Food and Wine Tasting Tour: Marseille is renowned for its culinary delights, and a food and wine-tasting tour allows you to savor the city's gastronomic treasures. You'll visit local markets, sample traditional Provençal dishes, taste regional wines, and learn about the city's culinary traditions from a knowledgeable guide.

  • Calanques National Park Tour: Marseille is blessed with stunning Calanques, a series of picturesque limestone cliffs, and turquoise coves. A tour of the Calanques National Park takes you on a boat ride or a hiking excursion, allowing you to immerse yourself in the breathtaking natural beauty of the area.
  • Street Art Tour: Marseille has a thriving street art scene, and a guided street art tour offers a unique perspective on the city's urban art culture. You'll explore neighborhoods like Cours Julien and La Plaine, discovering vibrant murals, graffiti, and art installations while learning about the local street art scene.
  • Marseille by Night Tour: This evening tour allows you to experience the vibrant nightlife of Marseille. You'll explore lively neighborhoods, enjoy the atmosphere of bustling bars and restaurants, and soak in the enchanting ambiance of the city after dark.

These are just a few examples of the tours that local guides in Marseille suggest. However, tour offerings may vary depending on the guide or tour company. It's advisable to discuss your preferences and interests with the guide to find the perfect tour that aligns with your desires and allows you to discover Marseille's hidden gems and authentic experiences.

The pearle of Marseille - La Canebière street

La Canebière is one of Marseille's most famous and historic streets, serving as the city's main thoroughfare. Here's more information about this iconic attraction:

  • History and Significance: La Canebière has a rich history that dates back to the 17th century. Originally a simple footpath, it gradually evolved into a bustling street that became the heart of Marseille's economic and social life. The name "Canebière" is derived from "cáñamo," the Spanish word for hemp, as hemp was a major trading commodity in Marseille during its early days.
  • Location and Layout: La Canebière stretches for approximately one kilometer, running from the Old Port (Vieux Port) to the Réformés quarter. It cuts through the center of the city and is lined with a mix of commercial buildings, shops, cafes, and restaurants. The street connects various neighborhoods and serves as a vibrant artery of activity.
  • Architectural Highlights: La Canebière is home to several noteworthy architectural landmarks. The most prominent is the majestic Palais de la Bourse, an elegant building that served as the Marseille Chamber of Commerce and Industry. Other notable buildings include the Opéra de Marseille, the Banque de France, and the historical Grand Hôtel.

Old port of Marseille

  • Shopping and Commercial Hub: La Canebière has long been a shopping destination, offering a range of shops, boutiques, and department stores. It is a lively area where locals and visitors can browse for fashion, accessories, and local products. From high-end stores to budget-friendly shops, La Canebière caters to a diverse range of shoppers.
  • Cultural and Social Center: Throughout its history, La Canebière has been a hub of cultural and social activities. It has witnessed political rallies, parades, and celebrations, and continues to host various events, including festivals, markets, and street performances. The street's vibrant atmosphere and lively ambiance make it an important gathering place for locals and tourists alike.
  • Iconic Landmarks: At the top of La Canebière stands the iconic Basilique Notre-Dame de la Garde, one of Marseille's most recognizable symbols. This stunning basilica sits atop a hill and offers panoramic views of the city and the Mediterranean Sea. It is a famous pilgrimage site and a must-visit attraction when exploring La Canebière.

Notre Dame de la Garde Cathedral at sunset.

Notre Dame de la Garde Cathedral at sunset

La Canebière represents the spirit and energy of Marseille. It has played a significant role in the city's history, culture, and commerce, making it a must-see destination for visitors. Whether you're strolling along the street, enjoying a coffee at a sidewalk cafe, or exploring the various shops and landmarks, La Canebière offers a vibrant and authentic experience in the heart of Marseille.

Is Marseiile a safe city?

Like any other city, Marseille has its own unique characteristics and safety considerations. While Marseille is generally a safe city for visitors, it's important to exercise common sense and take precautions to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience. Here are some factors to consider regarding safety in Marseille:

  • Neighborhoods: Marseille is a diverse city with a range of neighborhoods, and some areas may have higher crime rates or be considered less safe than others. It's advisable to research the neighborhoods you plan to visit and be aware of any specific safety concerns. Popular tourist areas, such as the Old Port (Vieux Port) and the city center, are generally safe, but it's always a good idea to remain vigilant and aware of your surroundings.
  • Pickpocketing and Theft: Like in any major city, incidents of pickpocketing and theft can occur, particularly in crowded tourist areas. Take precautions to protect your belongings, such as keeping your bags secure, avoiding displaying valuable items, and being cautious in crowded spaces. It's advisable to use hotel safes for important documents and valuables.
  • Transportation Safety: Marseille has an efficient public transportation system, including buses, trams, and the metro. While generally safe, it's important to be cautious, especially during peak hours or when traveling at night. Keep an eye on your belongings, be aware of your surroundings, and use licensed taxis or reputable ride-sharing services.

  • Solo Travel: If you are traveling alone, it's recommended to take extra precautions, such as avoiding isolated areas at night and informing someone about your whereabouts. Stick to well-lit and busy areas, particularly after dark, and consider using trusted transportation options to ensure your safety.
  • Demonstrations and Protests: Marseille, like other cities in France, occasionally experiences public demonstrations and protests. These events are usually peaceful, but they can sometimes escalate. It's advisable to stay informed about any potential protests or demonstrations and avoid getting involved or being in close proximity to such gatherings.
  • Emergency Services: Marseille has a reliable emergency services system, including police, fire, and medical assistance. It's important to be aware of the local emergency contact numbers and have them readily available in case of any unforeseen circumstances.

While Marseille has its own safety considerations, it is important to note that millions of visitors enjoy the city without any incidents. By staying informed, exercising common sense, and taking basic safety precautions, you can have a safe and enjoyable experience in Marseille.

Notre Dame de la Garde in Marseille

Notre Dame de la Garde is an iconic basilica and one of the most famous landmarks in Marseille, France. Here's more information about this stunning religious site:

Mosaïque de la Basilique Notre Dame de la Garde , MarseilleMosaïque de la Basilique Notre Dame de la Garde, Marseille

  • Location: Situated on the highest natural point in Marseille, Notre-Dame de la Garde overlooks the city and offers panoramic views of the Mediterranean Sea. It is located in the 6th arrondissement of Marseille, on the southern part of the city's hill known as La Garde.
  • History and Significance: The basilica's history dates back to the 13th century when a chapel was built on the hill as a place of worship. The current structure, however, was constructed between 1853 and 1864 in the Neo-Byzantine style. Notre Dame de la Garde is dedicated to the Virgin Mary and has served as a symbol of protection for sailors and the city of Marseille.
  • Architecture: The basilica features a striking architectural design that combines Romanesque and Byzantine elements. Its exterior is adorned with colorful stones, including green and white marble, and features ornate mosaics and sculptures. The bell tower stands at a height of 41 meters (135 feet) and houses a monumental statue of the Virgin Mary, known as "La Bonne Mère," which has become an emblem of Marseille.

Marseille France nightMarseille, France by night

  • Interior: Inside the basilica, visitors can admire beautiful stained glass windows, intricate mosaics, and a richly decorated altar. The walls are adorned with ex-votos (offerings made in gratitude for miracles) left by sailors and other devotees. The interior creates a serene and contemplative atmosphere, inviting visitors to reflect and admire the religious artistry.
  • Panoramic Views: One of the main highlights of Notre Dame de la Garde is the breathtaking view it offers from its elevated location. From the terrace surrounding the basilica, visitors can enjoy sweeping vistas of Marseille, including the Old Port, the city skyline, and the azure Mediterranean Sea. The panoramic views make it a popular spot for photography and provide a unique perspective on the city.
  • Pilgrimage and Tourism: Notre Dame de la Garde is both a place of pilgrimage for Catholics and a major tourist attraction. Many visitors climb the steps or take a tourist train up the hill to reach the basilica. The site receives millions of visitors each year who come to admire its architecture, soak in the views, and experience its spiritual ambiance.

Basilique Notre-Dame de la Garde overlooking port vieux in Marseille, FranceBasilique Notre-Dame de la Garde overlooking the old port in Marseille, France

Notre Dame de la Garde holds great cultural, religious, and historical significance for the people of Marseille. Whether for its architectural beauty, panoramic views, or spiritual aura, a visit to this iconic basilica offers a memorable experience and a deeper connection to the city and its maritime heritage.

Longchamp Palace in Marseille

Longchamp Palace, also known as Palais Longchamp, is a magnificent architectural complex located in Marseille, France. Here's more information about this historic and cultural landmark:

  • History: Longchamp Palace was built in the 19th century as a tribute to the construction of the Canal de Marseille and to provide a new water source for the city. It was designed by the architect Henry-Jacques Espérandieu and inaugurated in 1869.
  • Architecture: The palace complex consists of three main components: Longchamp Park, the Museum of Fine Arts, and the Natural History Museum. The focal point of the complex is the grandiose colonnaded monument, topped with a central dome and flanked by two wings. The design reflects a blend of architectural styles, including the Second Empire, Italian Renaissance, and Classical elements.

Palais Longchamp, MarseillePalais Longchamp, Marseille

  • Monumental Fountain: The centerpiece of Longchamp Palace is the Monumental Fountain, also known as the Fountain of Longchamp. The fountain features an impressive cascading waterfall, surrounded by sculptural groups representing rivers and agriculture, designed by Jules Cantini. At the top of the fountain stands a monumental statue called "The Chariot of Apollo," symbolizing the arrival of water to the city.
  • Museum of Fine Arts: Housed within the palace complex, the Museum of Fine Arts (Musée des Beaux-Arts) showcases an extensive collection of artworks, including paintings, sculptures, and decorative arts from the 16th to the 19th century. Visitors can explore works by renowned artists such as Rembrandt, Delacroix, and Rodin.
  • Natural History Museum: Adjacent to the Museum of Fine Arts, the Natural History Museum (Muséum d'Histoire Naturelle) features exhibits on natural sciences, including paleontology, mineralogy, zoology, and botany. The museum offers educational displays and interactive exhibits that appeal to both children and adults.
  • Longchamp Park: The surrounding park is a beautiful green space with landscaped gardens, tree-lined pathways, and open lawns. It provides a peaceful and serene setting for leisurely walks, picnics, and relaxation.

Aerial view of Marseille city and portAerial view of Marseille city and port

Longchamp Palace is not only a significant architectural landmark but also a cultural and educational hub in Marseille. It offers visitors the opportunity to appreciate stunning architectural design, immerse themselves in artistic and natural history, and enjoy the tranquil ambiance of the surrounding park. A visit to Longchamp Palace allows you to explore Marseille's cultural heritage and experience the grandeur of this historic site.

Marseille Cathedral

Marseille Cathedral, officially known as Cathédrale Sainte-Marie-Majeure de Marseille (Cathedral of Saint Mary Major of Marseille), is a notable religious landmark in Marseille, France. 

  • History: The construction of Marseille Cathedral began in the 12th century on the site of a former fifth-century church. It was built in the Romanesque architectural style, but over the centuries, it underwent several renovations and additions, incorporating elements of different architectural styles, including Gothic and Baroque.
  • Architecture: Marseille Cathedral features a blend of architectural styles due to its long construction period. The exterior exhibits Romanesque and Gothic characteristics, with a harmonious mix of rounded arches, pointed arches, and decorative detailing. The grand entrance is adorned with intricate carvings, while the twin bell towers rise prominently, creating an imposing presence.
  • Interior: The cathedral's interior is notable for its spaciousness and simplicity. The high vaulted ceilings, supported by thick columns, create a sense of grandeur and reverence. The decorative details include beautiful stained glass windows, religious artworks, and sculptures. The choir stalls and organ are also remarkable features.
  • Chapel of the Virgin: A significant section of Marseille Cathedral is the Chapel of the Virgin, dedicated to the Virgin Mary. This chapel houses the statue of the "Black Madonna" (Notre Dame de Confession), a revered religious icon. The statue is believed to have been brought from the Holy Land and is a focus of devotion for many worshippers.

Marseille Cathedral

Marseille Cathedral

  • Cultural Significance: Marseille Cathedral holds cultural and historical importance for the city and its residents. It has witnessed significant events throughout Marseille's history, including royal ceremonies, religious processions, and other important occasions. The cathedral continues to be an active place of worship, hosting religious services and events.
  • Location: Marseille Cathedral is situated in the historic district of Panier, near the Old Port (Vieux Port) of Marseille. Its prominent position makes it a visible landmark and an integral part of the city's architectural fabric.

Marseille Cathedral stands as a testament to the city's rich history and religious heritage. It offers visitors the opportunity to appreciate architectural splendor, experience moments of tranquility and spirituality, and delve into Marseille's cultural identity. Whether for its historical significance, architectural beauty, or religious significance, a visit to Marseille Cathedral provides a glimpse into the spiritual and cultural soul of the city.

Sunset view of Port Vieux at MarseilleSunset view of Old Port at Marseille

Marseille Cruise Port - past, present, and Future

Marseille Port, also known as the Port of Marseille or Marseille-Fos Port, has a rich history as one of the oldest and most important ports in France. Here's an overview of its past, present, and future:


  • Ancient Origins: Marseille has been a port city since ancient times, dating back over 2,600 years. The city's strategic location on the Mediterranean coast made it a key trading hub for the region.
  • Historical Significance: Marseille Port played a vital role in the development of Marseille as a major maritime and commercial center. It facilitated trade routes throughout the Mediterranean and beyond, contributing to the city's growth and prosperity.
  • Maritime Heritage: Marseille has a long-standing maritime heritage, with a history of shipbuilding, fishing, and naval activities. The port supported various maritime industries that contributed to the local economy and cultural identity.


  • Modern Infrastructure: Marseille Port has undergone significant transformations in recent years. The port now consists of two main harbor areas: the historic Vieux Port (Old Port), which mainly caters to small vessels, and the industrial Fos Port, located further west, which handles larger cargo ships.
  • Cruise Terminal: Marseille has developed a modern cruise terminal to accommodate the growing cruise industry. The Marseille Cruise Terminal, located at the Joliette district, serves as a gateway for cruise ships visiting the city.
  • Cruise Destination: Marseille has become an increasingly popular cruise destination, attracting numerous cruise lines and passengers. The city offers a diverse range of attractions, including historical landmarks, cultural sites, culinary experiences, and access to the scenic Provence region.


  • Expansion Plans: Marseille Port has ongoing plans for expansion and development to further enhance its capacity and services. These plans include the extension of port facilities and infrastructure to accommodate larger ships and increased cruise traffic.
  • Sustainable Initiatives: The port is also committed to implementing sustainable practices and reducing its environmental impact. Efforts are being made to improve energy efficiency, reduce emissions, and promote eco-friendly initiatives within the port area.
  • Economic Growth: Marseille Port plays a crucial role in the local economy, generating employment opportunities and contributing to the region's economic growth. The continued development of the port is expected to further stimulate economic activity and tourism in Marseille.

Marseille Port's rich history, modern infrastructure, and strategic location have positioned it as a significant maritime gateway for the Mediterranean and a thriving hub for the cruise industry. With ongoing expansion plans and a focus on sustainability, the port is poised for continued growth and to welcome more visitors from around the world.

Museum of European and Mediterranean Civilisations of Marseille

The Museum of European and Mediterranean Civilisations (Musée des Civilisations de l'Europe et de la Méditerranée), commonly known as MuCEM, is a prominent cultural institution located in Marseille, France. Here's more information about this museum:

  • History and Architecture: MuCEM was inaugurated in 2013 as part of Marseille's designation as the European Capital of Culture. The museum is housed in a remarkable contemporary building designed by the architect Rudy Ricciotti, with a striking facade made of a latticework of concrete panels. It is situated on the waterfront, near the entrance to the Old Port, and is connected to the historic Fort Saint-Jean via a footbridge.
  • Collections and Exhibitions: MuCEM focuses on the history, art, and cultures of Europe and the Mediterranean. Its permanent collection explores the shared heritage and interconnectedness of these regions. The museum showcases a wide range of artifacts, including archaeological finds, artworks, photographs, documents, and ethnographic objects, representing various cultures and civilizations. The exhibits cover themes such as religion, trade, migration, cultural exchange, and societal transformations.
  • Mediterranean Garden: MuCEM features a Mediterranean garden adjacent to the museum building. This landscaped area offers visitors a serene space to relax, stroll, and enjoy views of the sea. The garden includes native Mediterranean plant species and provides a pleasant outdoor extension of the museum experience.

The Porte d’Orient

  • Temporary Exhibitions and Events: In addition to its permanent collection, MuCEM hosts temporary exhibitions that delve into specific themes, artists, or historical periods. These exhibitions offer visitors the opportunity to explore diverse aspects of European and Mediterranean cultures through contemporary art, photography, installations, and multimedia displays. The museum also organizes cultural events, lectures, film screenings, and performances related to its exhibitions and themes.
  • Cultural Dialogue and Research: MuCEM plays an important role in fostering cultural dialogue and understanding between different civilizations and communities. It promotes research, collaboration, and knowledge exchange through partnerships with other institutions, universities, and cultural organizations. The museum also engages in educational outreach programs and activities for visitors of all ages.

MuCEM stands as a cultural landmark in Marseille, inviting visitors to explore the rich tapestry of European and Mediterranean civilizations. Through its diverse collections, exhibitions, and events, the museum offers a unique platform to appreciate the shared history, cultural diversity, and contemporary expressions of the region. A visit to MuCEM provides an enriching and immersive experience into the rich heritage of Europe and the Mediterranean.

Famous Parks and Gardens in Marseille

Marseille is home to several beautiful parks and gardens where visitors can relax, enjoy nature, and take in scenic views. Here are some of the famous parks and gardens in Marseille:

  • Parc Borély: Located in the southern part of the city, Parc Borély is a vast green space that offers a variety of attractions. It features a large lake where visitors can rent paddleboats, as well as well-manicured gardens, flower beds, and open lawns perfect for picnics. The park also houses the Musée Borély, which showcases decorative arts, fashion, and ceramics.
  • Parc Longchamp: As mentioned earlier, Parc Longchamp is the park surrounding the impressive Longchamp Palace. It features beautifully landscaped gardens, tree-lined pathways, and spacious lawns. The park is an ideal place for a leisurely stroll and offers a peaceful atmosphere for relaxation. It also hosts various cultural events and exhibitions throughout the year.
  • Parc Valmer: Situated on the slopes of Montredon, overlooking the Mediterranean Sea, Parc Valmer is known for its stunning panoramic views. The park boasts lush vegetation, terraced gardens, and colorful flower beds. It provides a tranquil escape from the city and offers walking trails, benches, and shaded areas to sit and admire the scenery.
  • Jardin des Vestiges: Located in the heart of Marseille, Jardin des Vestiges is a garden that showcases ancient Roman ruins. It is situated on the site of the original Greek and Roman port of Marseille. Visitors can explore the remains of ancient structures, such as walls, columns, and foundations, while enjoying the peaceful surroundings.
  • Palais Longchamp Gardens: Adjacent to the Palais Longchamp, the gardens offer a delightful setting with fountains, sculptures, and tree-lined avenues. The manicured lawns and vibrant flower displays create a serene environment for leisurely walks and relaxation.

  • Parc du 26e Centenaire: This park is dedicated to celebrating the 26th century of Marseille's existence. It features contemporary design elements, including geometric pathways, water features, and modern sculptures. The park offers a refreshing urban green space and serves as a popular gathering spot for locals and visitors.
  • Calanques National Park: Marseille is blessed with stunning Calanques, a series of rugged limestone cliffs, hidden coves, and crystal-clear turquoise waters. Describe the natural beauty of the Calanques National Park, located just outside the city. Mention the various hiking trails available, each offering breathtaking views of the coastline and opportunities for swimming and sunbathing on secluded beaches.

These parks and gardens in Marseille provide a wonderful respite from the bustling city streets. Whether you're looking to unwind, have a picnic, or simply enjoy nature's beauty, these green spaces offer a serene escape and a chance to immerse yourself in the natural and cultural ambiance of Marseille.

Crystal clear blue Mediterranean sea water Crystal clear blue Mediterranean seawater 

Unique culture and cuisine in Marseille

Marseille has a unique culture and cuisine influenced by its diverse history and Mediterranean location. Here are some examples of the distinct cultural aspects and culinary delights found in Marseille:

  • Cultural Melting Pot: Marseille has long been a melting pot of cultures, with influences from various Mediterranean, African, and Middle Eastern communities. The city's multicultural heritage is evident in its vibrant street life, colorful markets, and diverse neighborhoods. Marseille embraces this cultural diversity, creating a lively and inclusive atmosphere.
  • Bouillabaisse: Bouillabaisse is Marseille's most famous culinary specialty and a must-try dish for seafood lovers. It is a traditional fish stew made with a variety of local fish, shellfish, herbs, and spices. The dish is typically served with a side of rouille (a garlic and saffron-flavored sauce) and crusty bread. Marseille is known for its authentic bouillabaisse, which has become an iconic symbol of the city's cuisine.

savon de marseilleSoap of Marseille

  • Panisse: Panisse is a traditional Marseille street food snack made from chickpea flour. It is a savory cake or fritter that is fried until crispy on the outside and soft on the inside. Panisse is often seasoned with herbs and spices, making it a delicious and satisfying treat enjoyed by locals and visitors alike.
  • Pétanque: Pétanque is a popular outdoor sport and social activity in Marseille. It is a form of boules where players try to toss metal balls as close as possible to a smaller wooden ball called the cochonnet. Pétanque is often played in parks, squares, and public spaces, creating a lively and competitive atmosphere. Joining a game of pétanque is a great way to immerse yourself in the local culture and engage with the friendly residents of Marseille.
  • Cours Julien: Cours Julien is a vibrant and artistic neighborhood in Marseille known for its alternative and bohemian atmosphere. The streets are adorned with colorful graffiti, street art, and murals, reflecting Marseille's thriving urban art scene. The area is home to trendy cafés, quirky boutiques, and lively street markets, making it a hub for local artists, musicians, and creatives.
  • Fêtes de Marseille: Marseille is known for its festive spirit and lively celebrations. The city hosts numerous festivals and events throughout the year, showcasing its rich cultural heritage and embracing different traditions. From music festivals to cultural parades, such as the Fête de la Musique and the Carnival of Marseille, these festivities bring the city to life and offer a glimpse into the vibrant Marseille culture.

spoon full of flakes of soapSpoon full of flakes of soap

These are just a few examples of the unique culture and cuisine found in Marseille. The city's cultural richness, culinary delights, and vibrant atmosphere make it a captivating destination for exploring Mediterranean flavors, experiencing diverse traditions, and immersing yourself in the local way of life.

Water activity in Marseille

Marseille, being a coastal city on the Mediterranean Sea, offers a wide range of water activities for visitors to enjoy. Here are some popular water-based activities you can experience in Marseille:

  • Sailing and Yachting: With its proximity to the Mediterranean, Marseille is a fantastic destination for sailing and yachting enthusiasts. You can rent a sailboat or charter a yacht to explore the stunning coastline, visit nearby islands such as the Frioul archipelago, or simply enjoy a leisurely cruise along the azure waters.
  • Scuba Diving and Snorkeling: Marseille boasts excellent diving and snorkeling opportunities. The Calanques National Park, located nearby, is a protected marine reserve with crystal-clear waters and underwater caves, making it a haven for divers. Explore the vibrant marine life, underwater rock formations, and hidden coves that offer unforgettable diving and snorkeling experiences.
  • Kayaking and Stand-Up Paddleboarding: Discover Marseille's coastline from a different perspective by renting a kayak or trying stand-up paddleboarding (SUP). Paddle along the rugged cliffs of the Calanques, explore hidden coves, and enjoy the tranquility of the Mediterranean Sea.

  • Jet Skiing: Get an adrenaline rush by renting a jet ski and exploring the coast at high speeds. Jet skiing allows you to experience the thrill of the open sea while enjoying panoramic views of the city and its surrounding landscapes.
  • Boat Tours and Excursions: Take a boat tour or excursion to explore Marseille's coastline and nearby attractions. Join a guided boat tour that highlights the city's landmarks, or embark on a scenic boat trip to visit the picturesque fishing villages along the coast.
  • Windsurfing and Kitesurfing: Marseille's strong coastal winds make it an ideal destination for windsurfing and kitesurfing. Several spots along the coast offer perfect conditions for these exhilarating water sports. Whether you're a beginner or an experienced enthusiast, you'll find suitable areas to enjoy the thrill of gliding over the waves.
  • Fishing: Engage in the recreational fishery by joining a fishing excursion or casting your line from the shores or piers. Marseille offers opportunities for both deep-sea fishing and shore fishing, allowing you to experience the joy of angling in the Mediterranean.

These are just a few examples of the water activities available in Marseille. Whether you prefer a relaxing day on a sailboat, an adventurous dive into the underwater world, or an adrenaline-pumping jet ski ride, Marseille's coastal location provides ample opportunities for water-based fun and exploration.

Famous viewpoints of Marseille

Marseille offers several breathtaking viewpoints that provide panoramic views of the city, the coastline, and the Mediterranean Sea. Here are some of the most famous viewpoints in Marseille:

  • Notre-Dame de la Garde: Perched atop a hill, the Notre-Dame de la Garde basilica is not only a significant religious site but also offers one of the best viewpoints in Marseille. From its elevated position, visitors can enjoy sweeping views of the city, the Old Port, and the surrounding coastline.
  • Palais Longchamp: The Palais Longchamp, a grand palace and park, features a raised terrace that offers splendid views of Marseille. From this vantage point, you can admire the park's beautiful gardens, the Longchamp Palace itself, and the cityscape beyond.
  • Vallon des Auffes: Located in the quaint fishing village of Vallon des Auffes, this picturesque spot offers a charming view of colorful fishing boats, traditional Mediterranean houses, and the sparkling sea. The small port provides an idyllic setting to capture the essence of Marseille's maritime heritage.
  • Corniche Kennedy: The Corniche Kennedy is a scenic coastal road that stretches along the Mediterranean Sea. It offers stunning views of the rugged cliffs, azure waters, and the city skyline. As you drive or walk along the Corniche, you can find several spots to stop and appreciate the breathtaking vistas.

Panoramic view over the Old Port, the historic center of Le Panier, the Great Seaport of Marseille, the coastline and the north districts in the distancePanoramic view over the Old Port, the historic center of Le Panier, the Great Seaport of Marseille, the coastline, and the northern districts in the distance

  • Fort Saint-Nicolas and Fort Saint-Jean: Situated on either side of the Old Port, these historic forts provide elevated viewpoints of the harbor and the city. From their ramparts, you can take in panoramic views of the boats, the vibrant facades of the buildings along the port, and the surrounding cityscape.
  • Rade de Marseille: The Rade de Marseille, or the Bay of Marseille, offers scenic views of the harbor, the city skyline, and the distant mountains. You can find several spots along the waterfront, such as the Pharo Gardens or the Old Port, where you can admire the vast expanse of the bay.
  • Calanques National Park: While not within the city limits of Marseille, the Calanques National Park is a stunning natural reserve located nearby. The rugged limestone cliffs, turquoise waters, and hidden calanques (narrow coastal inlets) provide breathtaking views that showcase the raw beauty of the Mediterranean coastline.

These viewpoints offer unique perspectives of Marseille's scenic beauty, from its bustling cityscape to its picturesque coastline. Whether you're seeking panoramic views, capturing memorable photographs, or simply taking in stunning surroundings, these famous viewpoints provide excellent opportunities to appreciate Marseille's charm and natural splendor.

The recipe of Bouillabaisse

Mediterranean french fish soup BouillabaisseMediterranean french fish soup Bouillabaisse

Bouillabaisse is a traditional Provençal fish stew from Marseille. It is a flavorful and aromatic dish that typically features a variety of local fish and seafood. Here's a classic recipe for Bouillabaisse:


For the broth:

  • 1 kg assorted fish and seafood (such as rockfish, monkfish, red mullet, mussels, clams, shrimp)
  • 2 onions, chopped
  • 2 leeks, white part only, chopped
  • 2 tomatoes, peeled, seeded, and chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 fennel bulb, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 1 bouquet garni (made with thyme, parsley, and bay leaves)
  • 1 pinch saffron threads
  • Salt and pepper to taste


For the rouille:

  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon saffron threads
  • Salt to taste
  • Toasted baguette slices (for serving)



  1. Clean and prepare the fish and seafood. Fillet the fish and set aside the fish bones and heads.
  2. In a large pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onions, leeks, fennel, and garlic. Sauté for about 5 minutes until the vegetables are softened.
  3. Add the fish bones and heads to the pot. Cook for a few minutes, stirring occasionally.
  4. Pour in the white wine and allow it to simmer for a couple of minutes to cook off the alcohol.
  5. Add the tomatoes, bouquet garni, saffron threads, salt, and pepper to the pot. Pour in enough water to cover the ingredients.
  6. Bring the broth to a boil, then reduce the heat to low and let it simmer for about 30 minutes to develop the flavors.
  7. Strain the broth, pressing on the solids to extract as much liquid as possible. Discard the solids and return the strained broth to the pot.
  8. Bring the broth back to a simmer. Add the fish fillets, starting with the thicker pieces, and cook for about 5 minutes. Then add the shellfish (mussels, clams, shrimp) and continue cooking for another 5 minutes until they open and the fish is cooked through.
  9. While the stew is cooking, prepare the rouille. In a mortar and pestle, crush the garlic cloves with a pinch of salt until you have a smooth paste. In a separate bowl, combine the egg yolk and Dijon mustard. Slowly drizzle in the olive oil while whisking vigorously to emulsify. Stir in the crushed garlic and saffron threads. Season with salt to taste.
  10. Serve the Bouillabaisse in large bowls, placing a piece of fish, shellfish, and some broth in each bowl. Serve with toasted baguette slices and a dollop of rouille on top.

Bouillabaisse is traditionally served as a multi-course meal. The broth is typically served as a first course with toasted bread and rouille, followed by the fish and shellfish served separately as the main course. Enjoy this delicious and authentic taste of Marseille!

Typical almond sweets from france calissonsTypical almond sweets from france calissons

The best souvenirs from Marseille

Marseille offers a variety of unique and authentic souvenirs that capture the essence of the city and its local culture. Here are some popular options for souvenirs from Marseille:

  • Savon de Marseille (Marseille Soap): Marseille is famous for its traditional soap-making heritage. Savon de Marseille is a renowned soap made from natural ingredients, typically olive oil or vegetable oils. It comes in various scents and sizes, and its quality and authenticity make it a popular souvenir choice.
  • Santons: Santons are small handcrafted clay figurines that depict traditional Provençal characters. These intricately detailed figurines represent various scenes from daily life, including shepherds, artisans, villagers, and more. Santons are a unique and charming souvenir to bring back from Marseille.
  • Provençal Fabrics: Marseille is located in the heart of Provence, known for its vibrant fabrics and patterns. Fabrics like "indienne" and "toile de Jouy" showcase traditional Provençal designs and colors. Consider purchasing items such as tablecloths, napkins, or tote bags made from these fabrics.
  • Pétanque Set: Pétanque is a popular game in Marseille, and buying a pétanque set can be a fun souvenir. The set typically includes metal balls and a small wooden target ball (cochonnet). It allows you to bring a piece of Marseille's beloved pastime home and enjoy it with friends and family.
  • Provençal Herbs and Spices: Marseille is known for its flavorful cuisine, heavily influenced by Provençal herbs and spices. Look for unique blends of herbs like herbes de Provence, lavender sachets, or dried Mediterranean spices to bring home the aromatic flavors of the region.

Traditional blocks of Marseille soap or Savon de MarseilleTraditional blocks of Marseille soap or Savon de Marseille

  • Local Wines: Provence is renowned for its wine production, and Marseille offers access to a wide selection of Provençal wines. Consider purchasing a bottle or two of local wines, such as rosé or white wines, to enjoy back home or as gifts for wine enthusiasts.
  • Artisanal Crafts: Marseille has a thriving artisan community, offering a range of handmade crafts. Look for pottery, ceramics, jewelry, or paintings created by local artists. These one-of-a-kind pieces reflect Marseille's artistic spirit and make for unique and meaningful souvenirs.
  • Postcards and Prints: Capture the beauty of Marseille with postcards or prints showcasing iconic landmarks and scenic views. They are affordable and lightweight souvenirs that can be easily shared with friends and family or framed as a reminder of your trip.

Remember to look for official shops or local markets to ensure the authenticity and quality of the souvenirs you purchase. Supporting local artisans and businesses helps to preserve the unique character of Marseille's traditional crafts and products.

Port of Marseille - France

Discover Marseille's undeniable allure, where ancient history merges with modern vibrancy, and where the Mediterranean Sea beckons with its endless charm. Whether you wander through its captivating streets, savor its culinary delights, or simply bask in its coastal beauty, Marseille promises an enchanting adventure for all. Get ready to fall under the spell of this coastal gem, where history, culture, and natural splendor intertwine to create an experience that will linger in your heart long after your journey ends. Join us on an extraordinary exploration of Marseille's wonders. Stay tuned for our upcoming travel article as we unveil the secrets and delights of this captivating city. Prepare to be captivated by Marseille's unique blend of history, culture, and coastal beauty. Bon voyage!


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