Some say Marseille is the Berlin of France. And now you’ve got my attention! A few possible reasons for this comparison lie in the fact that Marseille is a little rough around the edges, and not a pristine resort town. Also in the same way that Berlin is different from all other cities in Germany, Marseille is different from the rest of France. It’s the perfect weekend destination from all over Europe.
The Weekend Guide to Marseille : Cool Things To Do in Marseille
There are plenty of cool things to do in Marseilles and the surrounding area. Go snorkeling in the Calanques, take a mini cruise, eat French cheese and fresh seafood.
Getting to Marseille
TRAIN: Marseille is only about 3 hours from Paris by train. That makes it easy to reach from cities like Brussels, Amsterdam, London. It’s also about 7 hours to Milan and less than 5 hours to Barcelona. Check Trainline for ticket and route options within France and from other countries as well.
PLANE: Marseille has a great international airport with flights arriving from all around the world. It is just a quick flight from Amsterdam, Rome, Madrid or Frankfurt making Marseille a perfect destination for a weekend trip. Check Skyscanner for the best prices and flight schedules for multiple airlines that fly into Marseille.
BUS: The least expensive option for getting around in Europe is often with Flixbus, you can find ticket prices as low as €4. Check here for Flixbus prices and schedules.
Get Inspired for your Trip to Marseille
Let’s get inspired for a city trip to Marseille! We’ve found some interesting things around the web that will get you excited for your next holiday.
GOOGLE NIGHT WALK IN MARSEILLE
Explore the night streets of the city of Marseille from the comfort of home. This creative project is inspired by Julie de Muer’s Sound Walks, and is a collaboration between Mediamonks, 72andSunny Amsterdam, Promenades Sonores and Google.
Follow Julie through the streets and alleys while listening to the soothing voice of Christophe explain the sights to you. Watch on a mobile device and turn the screen for a 360 view of your surroundings. Stop and check out street art, watch a video of musicians or learn about a local recipe. This video will inspire you to explore the unique things to do in Marseille at night or in the daytime.
Truly an amazing tour and a wonderful use of technology. Check it out here: Google Night Walk in Marseille.
LET ANTHONY BOURDAIN WHET YOUR APPETITE FOR MARSEILLE
Our buddy Tony takes a trip to Marseille in Season 6 of his show Parts Unknown. His travel companion is none other than chef Eric Ripert from Michelin-starred Le Bernardin in New York.
The pair travel around the area, eating fresh seafood and French cheeses, watching divers, and goofing around. It’s a great way to get acquainted with the Marseille area and get inspired for your next trip.
You can watch excerpts from the episode on the CNN website.
A Few of Marseille’s Special Secrets & Activities
There are plenty of cool things to do in Marseille and the surrounding area. Go snorkeling in the Calanques, take a mini cruise, eat French cheese and fresh seafood.
- Do you enjoy the anise-flavored liqueur pastis? Then you must make a visit to La Maison du Pastis in Marseille. The shop stocks around 80 varieties of pastis as well as absinthe, other beverages and regional foods.
- Between Marseille and Cassis the terrain of the coastline is called the Calanques, a rugged landscape of stoney cliffs and inlets. They are one of Marseille’s unique attractions. Take a hike or boat in the Parc National des Calanques. The best time to visit the calanques is probably March through May, when temperatures are moderate. It can get very hot in the summer but that is perfect for swimming!
- Want to see what is under the sea? Go SCUBA diving or snorkeling in the Calanques.
- Take a walk in Le Panier, a hilly section of the city center with lots of stairways and pastel buildings.
- Try the amazing handmade black ice cream from Vanille Noir.
- Visit the stunning Notre Dame de la Garde and check out the gorgeous mosaics and amazing views from the top.
- Would you like to do some shopping in Marseille? Perhaps buy some of the famous olive oil soap.
- Marseille is officially the sunniest city in France, but watch out for the Mistral and Sirocco winds.
- Go on a mini cruise and tour of Aix en Provence and Cassis.
- Visit the island prison of Chateau d’If which even has the jail cell of a fictional character.
- Did you know the most common design of tarot cards get their name from the city?
- Go to Marseille’s old port (Vieux-Port) in the morning to see the fisherman come in with the catch of the day. It’s one of the wonderful free things to do in Marseille.
- The new MuCEM museum is a stunning architectural work that houses interesting exhibits about the Mediterranean and beyond.
Beautiful artworks of Marseille by Monsieur Zielenkiewicz
Places to Stay in Marseille
The best neighborhood to stay in Marseille is around the Vieux-Port, as many restaurants and bars are in this area.
Hotels in Marseille Vieux-Port:
- InterContinental Marseille
- MGallery Beauveau Hotel
- Hotel C2
- Radisson Blu Marseille
- Hôtel Maison Montgrand
Apartments in Marseille:
- Les Appartements du Vieux Port
- Les Lofts du Vieux Port
- Le Couvent Marseille
- Sous le Clocher
Getting Around in Marseille
If you are in Marseille for the weekend and would like to visit museums and other sights you can purchase a city pass which gives free access to public transport as well.
The Best Marseille Blogs for Local Tips
Check out these local Marseille blogs for drinking, dining, nightlife, fashion and the best tips and advice. There are many cool things to do in Marseille. Just hit the translate button if you don’t read French. No problem!
- Chutmonsecret knows the best places to see in Marseilles
- MyLittleParis is a popular blog and they have a Marseille site as well
- check out the city tourism website too
- Look at the lovely 12hrs guide to Marseille
- Les Marseillaises
- Oh Marcel!
I hope we’ve helped you get inspired for your trip and discover some cool things to do in Marseille!
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