Marseille (Latin: Massilia)  is the second most populated city of France (and third urban area) the biggest mediterranean port and the economic center of the Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur region.
Marseille old harbour, by Albert Lee
Marseille has a complex history. It was founded by the Phoceans (from the Greek city of Phocea) in 600 B.C. and is one of the oldest cities in Europe. The town is a far cry from the Cézanne paintings and Provençal clichés of sleepy villages, "pétanque" players and Marcel Pagnol novels. With around one million inhabitants, Marseille is the second largest city in France in terms of population and the largest in terms of area. Its population is a real melting pot of different cultures. It is also said that there are more Comorian people in Marseille than in Comoros! Indeed, the people of Marseille have varying ethnic backgrounds, with a lot of Italians and Spanish having immigrated to the area after the second world war.
For people not afraid to discover a real place with real people, Marseille is the place. From colourful markets (like Noailles market) that will make you feel like you are in Africa, to the Calanques (a natural area of big cliffs falling into the sea - Calanque means fjord), from the Panier area (the oldest place of the town and historically the place where newcomers installed) to the Vieux-Port (old harbor) and the Corniche (a road along the sea) Marseille has definitely a lot to offer.
Forget the Canebière, forget the "savon de Marseille" (Marseille soap), forget the clichés, and just have a ride from l'Estaque to Les Goudes. You will not forget it.
Marseille-Provence International Airport (IATA: MRS)  is located about thirty kilometers from Marseille. Buses, taxis and now train connect in less than 30 minutes. (Shuttles every European cities in Marseille has made more places available from Marseille. 
The main train station is Marseille St. Charles. It is well-linked to the rest of the city, as the two subway lines and many buses stop there. It is a short walk away from the Canebière and the Old Port. Beware that the station is located on a small hill : if you decide to go the station by foot, you will have to climb a series of steps that could prove very unappealing, especially if you carry heavy pieces of luggage.
Marseille has TGV lines to Paris (3 hours) and Lyon (1 hour 45), Nice (2 hours) and to Brussels (5 hours).
From Barcelona, there is a connection to Cerbère, from which there are regular trains to Marseille; also a night train.
Eurolines  has many connections all over Europe. From Marseille there are at least direct connections to Barcelona, Prague and Tangier. The bus station is next to the main train station, the St. Charles Station at Rue Honnorat. You get access through Platform N in the train station. There is also a temporary office at Platform N.
There is also an Eurolines office on the 3 Allée Léon Gambetta; If you walk down the big stairs on the southside of the station, follow the road until you come to a squarelike intersection. The office is on your left hand.
Marseille is very well connected to most French cities through numerous highways. As always in France those highways are expensive but practical, comfortable and fast. Marseille is around 8 hours from Paris by car, 2 hours from Nice, 1h30 from Montpellier, 4 hours from Toulouse and 3 hours from Lyon. However, be aware that driving in the city centre is a nightmare - park your car somewhere safe and stick to public transport when ever you can.
Marseille has a big harbour. There are direct ferry routes from Marseille to Ajaccio, Bastia, Porto Torres, Porto Vecchio and Propriano.
There are several piers at the harbour, so it is advisable to check well in advance from which pier you are departing.
By bus, tramway, subway
Marseille is served by a transit system, the Régie des Transports de Marseille (RTM) comprising 2 subway lines, 2 tram lines and 74 bus lines. If you have any mobility problems, are in a wheel chair or have a child in a push chair, you should be aware that almost every métro station has steps in it somewhere and some will have several flights of stairs - stick to the trams and buses which are a better option.
The tickets for bus/métro can be bought in the cafes, at the subway stations, or on the bus; it is advised to buy a multi journey ticket (carte libertés) at 6.30€ (5 voyages) or 12.60€ (10 voyages), which are not sold in the buses. The number of transfers is unlimited (including the return journeys) within the one-hour limit between the first boarding and last transfer on all the network (you must validate with each entry to the bus). Be careful! The subway closes at 10.30p.m. except Friday, Saturday and Sunday evenings (until 12:30 a.m). The tram system operates until 12:30 a.m. 7 days a week. Most bus routes do not operate after 9:00 p.m. or so, although a limited network of night buses (Fluobus) operates with infrequent service (only about every 45-60 minutes or so) until about 12:30 a.m. or so. Using a taxi is recommended if you need to travel after 9:00 p.m.
See the site of Pilote , which repeats the schedules of all the buses, tram, and subways of the RTM but is more readable that the official site of the latter. Moreover, this site repeats the schedules of the majority of transport in common runs of the agglomeration (tram, bus interurban, trains regional) and makes it possible to make search of routes on Marseilles and the nearby communes.
Airport transfers are available for 8.50€ each way to/from Gare St Charles. Tickets may be bought at an outdoor structure between Hall 1 and Hall 3/4 of the main terminal and at a separate kiosk in the new Gare Routière, after Voie N in the Gare St Charles. The bus runs every 20 minutes on 10, 30, and 50 minutes past the hour. The ride is about 30 minutes. The bus says Navette Aeroport Gare St Charles on it. From Gare St Charles, the metro can get you to most hotels.
Metro tickets allow unlimited transfers within 1 hour of initial use for the base 1.50€ fare but does not include re-entry (1 hour limit) to the subway. A daily ticket (carte journée) costs 5.00€.
A Ferry Boat crosses the Old Harbour (Vieux Port). It is a tourist attraction in itself known as the shortest commercial boat ride in Europe.
Avoid taking your car if you possibly can. Marseille, at least the centre, has narrow streets, one-way streets, random lane changes and so on which can drive both locals and non-locals crazy. The local drivers have a well deserved reputation for fearlessness - particularly if they are on two wheels. In addition, Marseille has some of the lowest parking fines in France - parking fines are rarely enforced and consequently you will find cars parked (and sometimes double parked) everywhere.
Due to the new tunnel that is being built to try to alleviate some of Marseille's traffic problems, satellite navigational systems such as the Tom Tom are likely to be out of date and dangerous if followed. For instance, following a Tom Tom in the centre of Marseille could take you across newly installed pedestrian areas or Tram lines. The one-way system has also completely changed.
Be careful of rogue taxi drivers. While there aren't many, there are a few and a €20 ride can quickly become a €40 ride. If you think you've been cheated get the taxi driver's number (located in the rear of the car, often on the window) and go to the Tourist's Office at 4, La Canebière (near Le Vieux Port) and speak to a representative, they can and will get your money back if you've been ripped off. They will also get the taxi driver in significant trouble.
Marseille has the excellent le vélo  cycle hire scheme in place as well as plenty of cycle paths, this makes it possible to get round the city quickly and very reasonably but be warned that the velo stations lock at midnight so if you don't return your bicycle before then you will need to pay for an extra day.
View over the city
Notre Dame de la Garde
le Vieux Port (old harbour): watching fishermen selling their stock by auction is a must. Arriving to Marseille in the Vieux-Port on a summer evening is something you will never forget... You can watch this show by going to Frioul islands or Chateau d'If and going back late in the afternoon. there is also a nice view on the harbor from the Palais du Pharo (Pharo Palace). The famous Canebière avenue goes straight down the harbor. However the Canebière is not that interesting despite its reputation.
Notre Dame de la Garde: the big church which overlooks the city. Old fishermen used to have their boats blessed in this church. You can still see many boat models hanging around in the church. From there it is one of the nicest view of the city.
Musée des Docks romains (Archéologie-Graffiti-Lapidaire) (the old harbour from Phoenician and Roman times), Place Vivaux, 13002 Marseille. Tel: 04 91 91 24 62
Musée d'Archéologie méditerranéenne (Archéologie-Graffiti-Lapidaire), Centre de la Vieille Charité, 2 Rue de la Charité, 13002 Marseille. Tel: 04 91 14 58 59, Fax : 04 91 14 58 76
le Cours Julien and la plaine: a hangout area with bookstores, cafés, fountains, and a playground for the small ones (metro stop Cours Julien/Notre Dame du Mont). It is THE trendy area of Marseille. La Plaine is the local name for Place Jean Jaurès close to Cours Julien. Every Thursday and Saturday morning the Plaine market is the place to shop. If you are there early enough you can make very good deals, even if what you'll find there is sometimes "tombé du camion" (fallen off the truck) as one says in Marseille.
la Corniche: a walkway and a road by the sea that provides lovely views of the sea, the Chateau d'If to the south, and les Calanques to the east.
la Place Castellane: a roundabout with a grand fountain/column/sculpture in the center, with excellent cinemas and cafés surrounding. There is another place called La Castellane : it is a poor suburb of Marseille where Zinedine Zidane the famous football player was born. Be careful not to confuse the two places.
Boulevard Longchamp and Palais Longchamp (Longchamp casttle and avenue). From the Réformé church (up the Canebière) you can follow the Boulevard Longchamp where you can see nice example of old upper-class buildings to arrive to Palais Longchamp. The palais is worth visiting though it won't take you long. You can visit the "musee des beaux arts" as well as the natural history museum.
Parc Borély (Borely park). A large and great park, 300 meters from the sea. After a siesta in the park go have a drink at Escale Borely (a place with numerous restaurants and bars on the beach) to see the sunset.
Le Panier. Panier means basket in French, but in Marseille it is the name of the oldest area of the town. In the middle of this area there is the Vielle Charité, a wonderful old monument, now hosting museums and exhibitions.
Let's be honest, beaches from Marseille are not always great. Depending on the weather, they can be polluted. However the small beaches between La Pointe Rouge harbor and La Madrague harbor are cleaner, nicer and usually slightly less crowded.
Unité d'Habitation: designed by Le Corbusier. The building is called "la maison du fada" (the house of the foolish) by indegenous people. The building contains a shopping street, a church, a children's school and housings. You can get to the roof and enjoy the breathtaking view of Marseille between hills and sea.
Stade Velodrome: the stadium where the local football team "Olympique de Marseille" plays. Football matches are one of the highlights of Marseilles life. Whilst L'OM have fallen on rather lean times the former champions of Europe are the biggest football team in France. The atmosphere at the stadium is fantastic and whilst visitors are unlikely to get tickets for the popular Virage Nord or Sud seats in the Tribune Ganay offer an excellent view and a chance to soak up the atmosphere. Best games involve teams with some travelling support such as St Etienne, Lens or the grand-daddy match of them all against the evil Paris St Germain. Tickets can be bought (ideally several days before the game) either on-line or from the L'OM shop at the Vieux Port.
Noailles: The area around the Noailles sub-way station is one of the citys most interesting. Lined with Arabic and Indo-Chinese shops some of the streets could be part of a bazzaar in Algeria. A fascinating area.
Mazargues War Cemetry, On the way to Luminy. A war cemetery dedicated to WW I and WW II martyrs from the Allies, especially the Indian and Chinese gunners and runners. A very serene place, it is the perfect place to spend sometime thinking about the people who laid down their lives to give us the freedom we enjoy today.
Outside of town
The Calanques. The Calanques are a series of miniature fjords to the south of Marseille near Cassis. From Marseille these are best accessed from the University campus at Luminy which can be reached by bus #21 departing from Rond Point du Prado opposite the Stade Velodrome or from Vieux Port (the bus fee is only 1,50 euros). The 'fjords' are amazing with wonderful blue sea and spectacular lime stone cliffs. The walk along the coast from Cassis to Marseille is spectacular, it can be done in one day at a fast pace. The trail (GR) is clearly marked (red and white strips). From Luminy, you can turn left to Cassis or right to Callelongue (a bus connects you to bus #19, which takes you back to Place Castellane in the center).
The Château d'If The Château d'If is built small island off the city, initially as a defensive structure and was later used a prison. It is most famous for its place in the novel The Comte de Monte-Cristo by Alexandre Dumas. Tourist boats leave from the Vieux Port.
Allauch and Plan de Cuques are communes on the outskirts of Marseille, both blessed with beautiful countryside. You can take the metro (Line 1) to La Rose and then a bus #142, #144. Take a picnic and go for a walk in the hills, the views of Marseille and the Mediterranean are stunning.
L'Estaque and côte bleue L'Estaque is fishing port that is just starting to exploit its tourist potential through its connections to Cézanne. You can get there on the #35 bus from La Joliette (to get to La Joliette take metro Line 2)
You can visit the fabulous restaurants and cafes. You can go and do many adventurous things such as diving and hiring boats! The calanques (fjords) between Marseille and La Ciotat are a very popular sports climbing area. And of course, if the weather is fine, you can simply go to the beach!
As European Capital of Culture 2013, Marseille is planning great cultural changes and events for the coming years. So far, the main cultural events are:
The festival Avec le Temps that occurs every spring at the Espace Julien (one of the main concerts halls in town) consists in many concerts of French artists, in many genre (Pop, Chanson, Rock, Folk...)
La Fête Bleue, "the Blue Festival" at the end of June. A lot of shows (concerts, movie projections, exhibits...) occur in many places in the city, and the theme is the colour blue.
La Fête du Panier, at the end of June. During two days, you will be able to see shows, concerts and markets in the oldest area of the town.
Le FDAmM or Festival de Danse et des Arts Multiples de Marseille, is the main dance festival in Marseille and lasts all summer.
Le festival du Plateau, at the Cours Julien, in September.
The music festival Marsatac occurs in the end of September and was created 10 years ago. Artists who performed there were for example Public Enemy, Nouvelle Vague, dEUS, Mogwai, Peaches, Amon Tobin, De La Soul, Laurent Garnier, Aphex Twin....
La Fiesta Des Suds, at the Dock des Suds, in October is a famous festival dedicated to World music. You can attend concerts of artists such as Asian Dub Foundation, Buena Vista Social Club, Cesaria Evora...
La Foire aux Santons is a very picturesque Christmas market held from late November near the Canebière and Vieux Port. Provence is the home of santons, terracotta figurines used in nativity scènes known as crèches. Some merchants and many churches display impressive crèches of their own.
There are many small bars in Marseille and especially in View-Port. These are good places to meet up with friends after work or class to have a couple drinks. Drink prices are relatively cheap, between 3 euros to 7 euros a drink, and service is good.
O'Brady's Irish Pub, 378, avenue de Mazargues, ☎ 04 91 71 53 71, . Sun 12pm–1:30am; Mon-Sat 11–1:30am.
Le Trolleybus, 24 quai de Rive Neuve, ☎ 04 91 54 30 45, .
This three room cave like club, is a great place to go if you like to listen to different types of music. One room or cave, plays hip hop, rap, and reggae, another room plays techno and dub step, and the last room plays classic rock. The drink prices range from 5 euros for a mixed drink or well beer to 10 euros for more quality alcohol.
Le Cosy Bar is a club aimed at the younger demographic. This is a multi-roomed club, plays top music in techno, dub step, hip hop, and reggae til 6:00am. Le Cosy Bar is know for their extravagant theme nights such as Moscow Beach, where everyone's attire is mixed between winter wear and beach clothes, and Soiree Pyjamas, where everyone dressing in pajamas. The drink prices are between 5 euros and 10 euros, like most of the other night clubs in the area.
Le Bazar is situated near one of Marseille's beautiful beaches. Inside, there is a large dance floor with smaller sections with couches and tables. The floor of the club overlooks the bottom dance floor and is a place usually go to be in a quitter surrounding. The DJs play top techno, dub step, hip hop, and reggae. Drink prices here are a bit cheaper than most clubs (4 euros to 8 euros).
Le Mystik is a chic club located near avenue de luminy. The attire is upscale and the club attendees are mainly in the age group of 23 to 27. Le Mystik's DJ plays the top hits in techno, dub step, hip hop, and r&b until 4:30am. The drinks prices range from 8 euros to 12 euros for a single drink.
Le Flamingo, 7 Rue Venture, ☎ 04 91 33 91 03, .
Le Flamingo is another one of Marseilles upscale clubs. Its pink lights give this three bar club a calm and soothing feel. The DJs here play the top techno and dub step hits. Prices for drinks range from 8 euros to 12 euros.
Marseille en 2CV, Quai des Belges Marseille (Near the Vieux Port), (email@example.com), . You can visit Marseille in an unusual way with Marseille en 2CV! From them, you can ride a "Deudeuche", the most legendary french car. You get a private driver who will drive you in the city of Marseille : the Vieux Port, the seaside, Notre-Dame de la Garde basilica... You can contact them directly or the Tourist Office can arrange the tour for you.
Marseille is home to many universities and has a reputation for great education. The universities have a wide array of focuses from art to business.
École d’Architecture de Marseille (Marseille School of Architecture), 184, avenue de Luminy, ☎ 04.91.82.71.00 (fax: 04.91.82.71.80).
Main focus on Architecture
Institut de Mathématiques de Luminy (Luminy Institute of Mathematics), 163, avenue de Luminy, ☎ 04 91 26 96 30.
Main focus on Mathematics (Logic of Programming, Arithmetic and Information Theory, Singularities in Geometry and Topology, Representations of Reductive Groups, Dynamics, Arithmetic and Combinatorics, Operator Algebras and Noncommutative Geometry, Mathematical Methods for Genomics and Statistic and Applications)
Euromed Ecole de Management
Euromed Ecole de Management (Euromed School of Management), 65, Boulevard Balthazar Blanc, ☎ 0 491 827 800 (fax: 0 491 827 821).
Main focus on Business (Business Management and International Business)
Université Aix-Marseille III (Aix-Marseille University III), 3, avenue Robert-Schuman, ☎ 04 42 17 28 00.
General studies university
Faculté de Médecine de Marseille (Marseille Faculty of Medicine), 27 Boulevard Jean Moulin, ☎ 04 91 32 43 00.
Main focus on Medical Field and Pharmaceuticals
Notre-Dame de la Garde, Rue Fort du Sanctuaire, ☎ 33 (0)4 91 13 40 80, .
Eglise réformée de Grignan Centre Sud, 15 Rue Grignan, ☎ 04 91 33 17 10, .
Eglise Réformée de France, 103 La Canebière, ☎ 04 91 17 06 40, .
Church of Scientology Mission of Marseille, 8 Rue Lodi, ☎ 04 91 92 75 30, .
Unsurprisingly, Marseille's cuisine is focused on fish and seafood. Its two flag-bearing specialities being the famous fish broth "bouillabaisse" and "aïoli", a garlic sauce served with vegetables and dried cod.
La Bouillabaisse de Marseille
La bouillabaisse is an excellent fish-based soup served with la rouille (a garlic-saffron sauce) and bread similar to crostini. La bouillabaisse cannot be enjoyed at any budgetary level. If you are invited to the home of someone making bouillabaisse, then you are in the clear. Never eat cheap bouillabaisse at a resto unless it's not called bouillabaisse; only eat it out if you have to reserve in advance. Bouillabaisse is a meal...first the soup, then the fish.
There are lots of Kebab restaurants along the Canebière. Many cheap, authentic couscous eateries are to be found around the Cours Belsunce, where the local Maghrebic immigrants have their lunch.
Bar de L'Hotel de Ville: on the "Vieux Port" on the left of the City Hall. A very popular spot for the long lunch break Marseille's worker are use to take. Friendly service, good food and wine at a reasonable price. No English spoken whatsoever.
Four des Navettes: next to the St Victor Fort, this bakery is famous for its "Navette" dry biscuit which recipe has been kept secret for almost a century. This is one of Marseille's culinary speciality..not to miss.
Many affordable restaurants with sunny terraces are to be found on Cours Julien, a pedestrian-only street near the Canebière and the "Plaine"
L'Escapade marseillaise: 48, rue Caisserie, behind the Hôtel de Ville. A favourite among locals, this enjoyable restaurant offers a delectable Provençale cuisine.
Chez Toinou: 3, cours Saint Louis, a block away from the Canebière. A local reference when it comes to seafood, especially famed for its oysters. Toinou also acts as a seafood and fresh fish vendor. This place is often packed so it's better to book ahead.
L'Epuisette: its amazing location in the very picturesque Vallon des Auffes harbour is an undeniable plus. Seafood specialities and affordable bouillabaisse.
Le Cercle Rouge: 41 Rue Adolphe Thiers, just off the Canebiere. This unusual restaurant does excellent Corsican tapas such as figatelli sausage, stuffed artichokes, panchetta in honey and red mullet in tomato sauce. Worth booking to get a spot on the lovely terrace.
La Table du Fort: 8, rue Fort Notre Dame, by the Vieux Port. A gastronomical restaurant consistently ranked among the city's best, specialized in seafood and fish dishes.
Le Petit Nice Passédat: A 3-star Michelin restaurant on a idyllic location by the sea, facing the islands, held by local celebrity chef Gérald Passédat. It ranks among Southern France's very best restaurants and serves the best bouillabaisse in town... at a cost. From 180 € pp.
le Petit Nice: on La Plaine next to the Court Julien, nice little cafe.
les 13 coins: in "Le Panier", a nice terrace with a nice atmosphere
Hello Marseille Hostel is located in a safe area in the very center of Marseille, the “Vieux Port”. We offer shared rooms accommodating 6 people for the single price of 17 euros only. 24/7 reception & security. multilingual staff, no curfew; Online booking and reservation; Accommodation in 6 persons large rooms with lockers (1 room "girls priority", 2 mixed; Breakfast offered (french baguette & marmalade, coffee at will; Linens included; Single price 17 euros.pers.night; Services: Laundry, luggage store, printer, free city bikes spot; Free WIFI everywhere, skype-ready computer at disposal in the lobby and ... Sunny Balcony, cosy Lounge, Guest Kitchen, Large TV screen with international channels. Phone : +33 9 54 80 75 05, Email : firstname.lastname@example.org, Address: 12 rue de Breteuil, 13001 Marseille
Hotel Lutetia. From 60€ Between the St Charles Trainstation and the Old port 0033.491.508.178. A newly renovated hostel with free internet, great atmosphere, and friendly staff.
La Cigale et la Fourmie, Tel.: +33 491 400 512 (Fax: +33 491 400 510, email@example.com), . Calmly situated 30 minutes by public transport from the city and 30 minutes walk from the beach. The old house in the 'Village de Mazargues', a district south of Marseille, has been renovated and turned into a Backpackers Hostel. Every room has kitchen and a bathroom. Free WiFi and Internet access are at your disposal, complimentary coffee is served in the morning (no breakfast, but bakery nearby), 6 bikes are available for loan and there is no curfew/lockout. Dormitory beds are 15 € per night, rooms from 35 €.
The hostel Bois-Luzy is not very expensive, but also not very nice. The hostel is not very close to the city centre with a limited bus service provided by line numbers 6 and 8 . The hostel operates a strict curfew at night (22.30 as at September 2009) and, more worringly, until 07.30am. Fire exits are, of course, available but not one for those with early connections.
Adagio Marseille Prado Plage +33 1 58 21 55 84, Completely renovated, the residence is in the heart of the Le Prado quarter, 100 metres from the beach, easy to get to via the Avenue du Prado or the Corniche. It lies in a quiet residential area close to a large number of restaurants and the Palais des Congrès. Note: This site can accommodate people with reduced mobility (minor disabilities, elderly people) with a able-bodied escort and families with young children.
Hotel La résidence du Vieux Port Marseille. Completely renovated in 2010 in a fifties style with a tribute to Charlotte Perriand and Le Corbusier. The hotel offers beautiful views of Marseille from its balconies and three suites on the top floor have terraces overlooking the Old Harbour and the Church. All the rooms are facing the port.
Novotel Marseille Vieux Port. A four-star resort near the Pharo gardens overlooking the Vieux Port with impressive views. The place to stay for most public figures.
Le Petit Nice Passedat. Arguably the city's most upmarket hotel, this villa by the sea boasts the region's only Michelin 3-star restaurant.
Le Vieux Port has WiFi access, available from many of the bars and restaurants, and in some places in the street (although there are not many places to sit). The ESSID to use is "Marseille sans fil" and the network is not encrypted. When you first connect, your browser will take you to a web page about the service in French: simply click on "Cliquez ici" ("Click here") on that page to use the network freely.
Note WiFi is pronounced wee-fee or wiffy in French - even by English speakers. Asking for Why-Fye will usually be greeted by a blank look.
Note that there are many reports of muggings and pickpockets so avoid carrying valuables and always watch your surroundings, like in most cities. You will want to stay away from Gare St Charles and the upper part of La canebière at night. Most of the northern neighbourhoods, known as "quartiers nords", are sensitive areas and should be avoided by tourists.
The area around Boulevard Michelet thrives with prostitutes and should be avoided on soccer nights, as you can meet potentially angry and drunk Olympique de Marseille hooligans.
When driving a car, make sure the doors are locked. There have been occurrences of motorcyclists opening the doors of cars while the driver is sitting in it, and quickly snatching the bags and valuables from the seats.
Overall the city is fairly safe, as is Paris, so there is no need for paranoia !
United States, Place Varian Fry, ☎ +33 4-91-54-92-00 (fax: +33 4-91-55-56-95), .
This is a usable article. It has information for getting in as well as some complete entries for restaurants and hotels. An adventurous person could use this article, but please plunge forward and help it grow!