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Marseille, the "Old Harbour"

Marseille (Latin: Massilia) is the second most populated city of France (and third most populous urban area) the biggest Mediterranean port and the economic hub of the Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur region.


Marseille has a complex history. It was founded by the Phoceans (from the Greek city of Phocaea, now Foça, in modern Turkey) in 600BC 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 many Italians and Spanish having immigrated to the area after the second world war.

Marseille is the place for people that are not afraid to discover a real place with real people. 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 much 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.

Get in

By plane

Marseille-Provence International Airport (IATA: MRS) is located about 30 km from Marseille. Buses, taxis, and a train connect in less than 30 minutes. Shuttle services from other European cities have made more places available from Marseille. Airport buses go directly from the airport to the train station (Gare de Marseille-Saint-Charles), and from train station to airport, every 15 minutes, for the cost of €10 (or €16 for a return ticket).

By train

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. TO avoid the stairs, walk along the path to the left of the steps until you reach the lower floor of the station, then take the escalator up.

Marseille has TGV lines to Paris (3 hours) and Lyon (1h45), Nice (2h), Strasbourg (5h35), Frankfurt (7h45), Geneva (3h30) and to Brussels (5h).

From Barcelona, there is a connection to Cerbère, from which there are regular trains to Marseille; also a night train.

By bus

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.

By car

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 whenever you can.

By boat

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.

Get around

By bus, tram and underground

Marseille is served by a relatively good public transport system, the Régie des Transports de Marseille RTM comprising 2 underground railway lines (métro), 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.

Tickets for buses and the métro can be bought in cafés, at subway stations, or on the bus; it's best to buy a multi-journey ticket (carte libertés) at €15.10 (10 trips), which are not sold on 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). Since April 2013, the subway and tram systems stop running every morning at 00:30. Most bus routes do not operate after 21:00 or so, although a limited network of night buses (Fluobus) operates with infrequent service (only about every 45-60 minutes or so) until about 00:30 or so. Using a taxi is recommended if you need to travel after 21:00.

The Pilote website, includes all the bus, tram and metro schedules but is easier to read than the RTM sites. Moreover, this site repeats the schedules of the majority of transport in common routes around the wider region (tram, interurban buses, regional trains [TER]) and makes it possible to search for journeys in Marseille and the nearby communes.

Airport transfers are available for €10 each way to and from Gare Saint Charles (or €16 for a return ticket). Tickets may be bought at the cabin between Hall 1 and Hall 3/4 of the main terminal and at a separate kiosk in the new Gare Routière, after Voie [Platform] 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 métro can get you to most hotels.

Metro tickets allow unlimited transfers onto a bus or tram within 1 hour of initial use for the base €1.50 fare but does not include re-entry (1 hour limit) to the métro. A daily ticket (carte journée) costs €5.20, and a 72-hour ticket costs €10.80. Valid for an unlimited number of trips, on the RTM network: bus, metro, tramway, ferry boat (excluding sea shuttles) and on the Transmétropole network.

By boat

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. Several other ferries propose connexions with L'Estaque, Les Goudes, La Pointe-Rouge and Le Frioul. They cost 5€ return trip but a 1 week RTM transportation pass (13€) comprises them (except Frioul island) which is very interesting. Also there are several companies proposing boat tours of the Calanques, like mini-cruises.

By car

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.

By taxi

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.

For more information about taxis in France, see the main France article.

By Bicycle

Marseille has the excellent Le vélo [29] bicycle hire scheme in place, but there are basically no cycle paths and the few that are there are usually filled with pedestrians or parked cars, which makes cycling in Marseille a rather dangerous affair. The vélo scheme costs 1 euro for a week's subscription. Each time you hire a bike, the first 30 minutes are free, then each hour costs 1 euro. Note that there is a 150 euro deposit which will be charged if you don't return the bike properly. Univélo Marseille is a mobile app which gives you live bike or park availability in the 100+ bike stations.


Vieux Port
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 harbour 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.
  • Le Panier, old city right next to the Vieux-Port. 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 Vieille Charité, a wonderful old monument, now hosting museums and exhibitions. This area is like a village of the Provence right in the city center. Lots of craftmen, creators, handmade shops and restaurants in beautiful places. You can enjoy a beautiful walk there walking down the narrow streets with colored old building until the cathedral La Major and the new museum MuCEM. The website of this neighborhood Le Panier de Marseille gives details and maps.
  • la Major: gigantic cathedral on the coast. It is the only cathedral built in the 19th century in France, its massive architecture of new byzantin style make it a wonderful place to visit inside and outside, with a brand new large esplanade (2016).
  • MuCEM, the 2013-opened Museum of European and Mediterranean Civilisations is now famous for its unique architecture and integration with the Fort Saint-Jean, castle which is now a free part of the museum, acting as a park in the city with breathtaking views.
  • Musée d'Archéologie méditerranéenne (Archéologie-Graffiti-Lapidaire), the wonderful olf monument in le Panier. Centre de la Vieille Charité, 2 Rue de la Charité, 13002 Marseille. Tel: 04 91 14 58 59, Fax : 04 91 14 58 76
  • 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
  • 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. You can use the tourist train from the Vieux Port to reach the church - you can get off the train, look around and board a later train back to the port. It is about 15-20 minute walk from the port, but it is quite steer uphill.
  • Noailles: The area around the Noailles subway station is one of the city's most interesting. Lined with Arabic and Indo-Chinese shops, some of the streets could be part of a bazaar in Algeria. A fascinating area.
  • 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 a trendy area of Marseille, with lots of graffitis. Lots of bars and restaurants at night. 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. On Wednesday morning, you can enjoy the market with local farmers with organic fruits and vegetables.
Palais Longchamp
  • 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.
  • 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. Vallon des Auffes, small pitoresque port under a viaduc, is particularly remarkable.
  • 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.
  • Several beaches exist in Marseille. The most typical are Catalans, Prophètes, Pointe-Rouge and Corbières. However, after a big rain, some of them might be polluted and then closed. Nice places to swim and relax on the sea are also to be found on the Corniche, on the rocks ahead of Vallon des Auffes, and next to the military camp in Malmousque.
  • Unité d'Habitation: designed by Le Corbusier. The building is called "la maison du fada" (the house of the foolish) by local people. The building contains a shopping street, a church, a children's school and housing. You can access the roof and enjoy the breathtaking view of Marseille between hills and sea (10am-6pm). There is a bar/restaurant/hotel on the 3rd floor too. Take bus B1 from Rond-Point du Prado metro.
  • 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.
Stade Velodrome
  • 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 and the madness of war.

Outside of town

  • The Calanques. The Calanques are a series of miniature fjords in the south of Marseille near Cassis. From Marseille these are best accessed from Les Goudes area (bus #19 Montredon, then bus #20 Callelongue) and 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. [30] 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). From June to September some of the Calanques can be closed due to high risk of fire.
  • 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 for a 15 minute ride. The boats do get full, especially on a weekend, so if you want to leave on a specific boat, you're advised to arrive an hour before the trip to buy the tickets (they are issued for a specific time). Then you can kill the time before the ride by visiting the nearby attractions; a Notre Dame church is around 15 minutes away by foot if you are good walking uphill. Both the island and the castle are small, and everything there could be seen and photographed in 20 minutes. But due to the boat schedules you will spend at least an hour there until the boat picks you up, so don't rush. There are no shops there, so pack your lunch and drinks. A toilet is available. Both the castle and the island offer very limited access to wheelchair users. The entrance to the Castle costs 6 Euro. The whole exhibition is focused around the Count of Monte-Cristo novel, so unless you're a fan, you'd consider it waste of time.
  • 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)


Marseilles DOTM 2.jpg
  • 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!

Cultural Events

As European Capital of Culture 2013, Marseille is planning great cultural changes and events for the coming years. However, this does mean that many of the museums and galleries are currently closed for refurbishment (in 2012). 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...)
  • 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 electronic and urban music festival Marsatac occurs in the end of September and was created in 1997. Artists who performed there were for example Public Enemy, Nouvelle Vague, Mogwai, Peaches, 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.

Night Life

In recent years lots of new places have opened in Marseille, at night, three main districts are interesting (besides beaches between april and october where people go and spend the night - there are also nice bars - Sport Beach, thursday beach parties at Le Petit Pavillon during summer, sunlight yatch club...):

  • Old Port with lots of bars and pubs (particularly on the southern side and on Cours d'Estienne d'Orves - Marengo, Polikarpov, Barberousse, Hard Rock Café)
  • La Plaine/Cours Julien with numerous alternative and underground bars (E-wine, Bar du marché, Petit-Nice, Intermédiaire, Asile 404, Molotov)
  • La Joliette/J4 with trendy chic new bars and clubs (Palais de la Major, Casa Pietra, White Rabbit).

However La Friche should not be forgotten, particularly during summer when the very large rooftop hosts dj parties for free every friday and saturday. For events and concert agenda, see La Nuit Magazine or printed paper Ventilo, particularly during summer as lots of music festivals, boat parties (mini-cruises at night with djs in the Calanques for €20-40), rooftop parties and concerts take places.

English/Irish Pubs

  • O'Brady's Irish Pub, 378, avenue de Mazargues, 04 91 71 53 71, [1]. Sun 12pm–1:30am; Mon-Sat 11–1:30am.
  • Shamrock Irish Pub, 17, quai de Rive-Neuve, 04 91 33 11 01, [2].
  • Red Lion, 231 avenue Pierre-Mendès, [3].


  • Le Trolleybus, 24 quai de Rive Neuve, 04 91 54 30 45, [4].

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 hit music, another room plays underground techno and house music (room led by La Dame Noir records) , and the last room plays jazzy and 50-60s music.

Le TrolleyBus
  • Le Cosy Bar, 1 rue du Chantier, [5].

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, 90 Boulevard Rabatau, 06 58 52 15 15, [6].

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 Baby, 2 Rue André Poggioli, [7].

The best electronic club of Marseille, underground techno and amateur dancers.


  • Le Mystik, 141 route Léon Lachamp, 06 19 33 21 56, [8].

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, [9].

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.


  • Provence Vintage (Provence Vintage - Guided tours with a 2CV car!), 236 Quai du Port 13002 Marseille (Near the Vieux Port), +33 6 65 05 71 15 (), [10]. You can visit Marseille in an unusual way with Provence Vintage! 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 Provence Greeters : Greeters are local volunteers from Marseille who accompany you on your walk, unveil their secret places and top addresses and regale you with fun little stories about the enigmatic Marseille-Provence area.

The Greeters are committed to offering a hospitable welcome, familiarizing visitors with their city and fostering friendly encounters and exchanges.



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, (fax:, [11].
    • Main focus on Architecture
  • Institut de Mathématiques de Luminy (Luminy Institute of Mathematics), 163, avenue de Luminy, 04 91 26 96 30, [12].
    • Main focus on Mathematics
Euromed Ecole de Management
  • KEDGE Business School (Formerly Euromed Management), Rue Antoine Bourdelle, Luminy, 0 491 827 800 (fax: 0 491 827 821), [13].
    • Main focus on Business (Business Management and International Business)
  • Aix-Marseille Université (Aix-Marseille University), 3, avenue Robert-Schuman - 13100 Aix-en-Provence, 04 42 17 28 00.
    • Largest university in France, with more than 70 000 students
  • Faculté de Médecine de Marseille (Marseille Faculty of Medicine), 27 Boulevard Jean Moulin, 04 91 32 43 00, [14].
    • Main focus on Medical Field and Pharmaceuticals

Religious Centers


  • Notre-Dame de la Garde, Rue Fort du Sanctuaire, 33 (0)4 91 13 40 80, [15].
  • Eglise réformée de Grignan Centre Sud, 15 Rue Grignan, 04 91 33 17 10, [16].
  • Eglise Réformée de France, 103 La Canebière, 04 91 17 06 40, [17].
  • Eglise Arménienne, 339 Avenue Prado, 04 91 77 84 70.
  • Eglise Ev Baptiste Paix Aujourd'hui, 95 Boulevard de Strasbourg, 04 91 64 08 09.
  • Eglise Biblique Baptiste de Marseille, 72 Boulevard Plombières, 06 81 84 55 69.
  • Eglise Chrétienne de Réveil, 4 Place Sébastopol, 04 91 34 35 63.


  • Consistoire Israëlite de Marseille, 117 Rue Breteuil, 04 91 37 49 64, [18].
  • Centre Communautaire Israélite, 184 Avenue Lazare Carnot, 04 94 92 61 05, [19].


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.
  • Chez Etienne: In Le Panier, with excellent pizza followed by excellent roasted meats. Incredible food, but you'll probably overorder.
  • 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.
  • Le Cours en Vert, 102 Cours Julien (near the Metro station), +33 4 86774169. Vegetarian and organic (biologique) restaurant on the cours Julien. Wholesome and tasty - mains are 10-14 euros. Organic beers and wines are available too. Child-friendly. Service is a little slow.
  • Fayrouz, 62 Cours Julien, +33 4 91483630. Lebanese restaurant with fixed-price three-course menus around 20-25 euros each.


  • 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 Cours Julien (may be wrong location), nice little cafe.
  • Polikarpov, 24 Cours Honoré d'Estienne d'Orves, +33 4 91 52 70 30. Lively and good value late bar with outside terrace. Does a wide range of cocktails and one of the cheaper places for beer.
  • Bar des 13 Coins, 45 Rue Sainte-françoise - 13002 Marseille, +33 4 91 91 56 49, [20]. In "Le Panier", a nice terrace with a nice atmosphere
  • La Cane Bière, 32 Boulevard Philippon, Marseille, France 13004, 336 09 97 20 43, [21]. Beer shop/bar specializing in Belgian beer. Reasonable prices, though not a lot on tap, and most of the stock is on shelves instead of the cooler. Next to parc Longchamps Palais.



  • Hello Marseille Hostel [31] is located in a safe area in the very center of Marseille, the “Vieux Port”. They 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 : [email protected], Address: 12 rue de Breteuil, 13001 Marseille
  • Hotel Lutetia [32]. 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 protected]), [33]. 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 €.
  • Chateau du Bois-Luzy, Tel. +33 491490618 [34]. The Chateau du Bois-Luzy is part of the Hosteling International network, and they require you have a membership (you can purchase that for €7). The hostel is a rather impressive building, both inside and out, like a modern castle perched on a hill outside Marseille. They have spacious dorms for €17 a night, and the views are truly spectacular if you get the right room. There is a lovely staff, no curfew or lockouts, and as good a breakfast as you can expect from a hostel. You'll find clean, good bathrooms, lovely marble and mosaic floors and quiet environs. The kitchen is lackluster and basic, but it does the job. The view comes at a cost as it is located well outside the city, about 40 minutes walking from the Vieux Port. There is transport from the center by bus lines 6 and 8 [35], and by metro line 1/blue; you must get off at the last stop, La Fourragère, and walk about 10 minutes up a hill to reach it. They take new guests between 7-10 & 17-21, but can make arrangements if this doesn't suit you. Make sure you pay attention to the greeting instructions, as it is not a 24-hour staff, and you may find yourself waiting for a while.
  • 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.


  • Hôtel de l'Ariana, 12 rue du théâtre Français, 13001 (Métro,line 2:Noailles), [22]. L’Hôtel de l’Ariana is next to La Canebière, within 5 minutes walk from the Vieux Port of Marseille, 600 meters from the Gare Saint Charles and theater Gymnasium.Prado beach is only 15 minutes drive from Hotel Ariana whilst Marseille airport is only 25 minutes.Rooms from €50.
  • Hotel La résidence du Vieux Port Marseille [36]. 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.
  • Best Western La Joliette, 49 Avenue Robert Schuman ,13002, +33 1 45 74 76 72. checkin: 2pm; checkout: 10am. Clean, cosy hotel in a quiet location near Joliette metro/tram station. Good location for the port and Le Panier.


  • Novotel Marseille Vieux Port [37]. 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 [38]. 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.

Stay safe

In recent years muggings and pickpockets have dramatically decreased in the city center, however, avoid carrying valuables and watch your surroundings. Most of the northern neighborhoods (quartiers nord), except L'Estaque and Château-Gombert, might be risky and should be avoided by tourists and there is no logical reason for going there.

The area around Boulevard Michelet teems 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 and quickly snatching bags and valuables from the seats.

Overall the city is fairly safe, as is Paris, so there is no need for paranoia!



  • Eg-flag.png Egypt, 166, Avenue de Hambourg, +33 4 91-25-04-04 (, fax: +33 4 91-73-79-31), [23]. 9:00 AM - 15:00 PM.
  • Gr-flag.png Greece, 38, Rue Grignan, 13001 Marseille, +33 4 91-33-08-69, Emergencies: +33 4 91-54-08-31 (, fax: +33 4 54-08-31), [24].
  • Ja-flag.png Japan, 70, Avenue de Hambourg, +33 4 91-16-81-81 (fax: +33 4 91-72-55-46), [26].
  • Uk-flag.png United Kingdom, 24, Avenue du Prado, +33 4 91-15-72-10 (fax: +33 4 91-37-47-06), [27].
  • Us-flag.png United States, Place Varian Fry, +33 4-91-54-92-00 (fax: +33 4-91-55-56-95), [28].

Get out

  • Aix-en-Provence: Easily reached by Cartreize coach or SNCF train (8 euro for 1 way). There is a dedicated express coach from St Charles station which takes 30-40 minutes. You can also try Blablacar
  • Cassis: attractive sea resort south-east of Marseille.
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