Top 5 Things to Do & See in Marseille, France

One year ago today, my boyfriend and I were jetting off to the awesome city of Marseille, France.

One whole year! Where has time gone?! Having realised the date, I’ve been reminiscing on our Marseille trip and wishing we were back on the sun-soaked streets of the quirky European city.

As an ode to this charming area, here are my top 5 things to do and see; along with the top places to stay, eat and drink.

1. WALK THROUGH LE PANIER.

Top 5 Things to Do & See in Marseille, France: Le Panier District. - Amy Tinson Photography

Le Panier was probably the biggest highlight of our Marseille city break. The streets practically ooze charm and character. Take a couple of hours, leave the map behind and wander the streets, being sure to admire the graffiti which is pretty much everywhere you turn. Stop for une pinte de bière or un verre de vin in one of the bars whose cute tables spill out in to the streets. It’s the perfect place to people watch and soak up the vibrant atmosphere.

COST: Free to walk around.

OPENING HOURS: All day, every day.

ADDRESS: Le Panier, 13002 Marseille, France

WEBSITE LINK: www.lepanierdemarseille.com

2. ADMIRE THE STRIPED EXTERIORS OF THE NOTRE DAME DE LA GARDE.

Top 5 Things to Do & See in Marseille, France: Notre Dame de la Garde. - Amy Tinson Photography

The Notre Dame de la Garde is one building in Marseille you should definitely not miss. The grand basilica is architecturally amazing to look at. It tends to get busy with tourists – plus there’s armed guards – but you can walk around the structure at your own pace and take it in. The views of the city and beyond from there are also something to behold.

COST: Free to walk around.

OPENING HOURS: 7am to 6:15pm.

ADDRESS: Rue Fort du Sanctuaire, 13281 Marseille, France

WEBSITE LINK: www.notredamedelagarde.com

AND HAVE YOUR BREATH TAKEN AWAY AT IT’S INTERIORS TOO…

Top 5 Things to Do & See in Marseille, France: Notre Dame de la Garde. - Amy Tinson Photography

Not only is one of Marseille’s most famous attractions beautiful from the outside, it’s beautiful on the inside too. In fact, photos don’t do it justice. It’s completely stunning. Be warned though, you may also leave trying to figure out the logistics of having a golf mosaic ceiling in your own home…

COST: Free.

OPENING HOURS: 7am to 6:15pm.

ADDRESS: Rue Fort du Sanctuaire, 13281 Marseille, France

WEBSITE LINK: www.notredamedelagarde.com

3. RELAX AROUND LE VIEUX PORT.

Top 5 Things to Do & See in Marseille, France: Vieux Port. - Amy Tinson Photography

Like a bit of peace and quiet during your city break? Marseille’s Vieux Port – a.k.a. the Old Port – is the spot for you! Dangle your feet over the edge of the water and watch the yachts bobbing on the surface. Alternatively, take a stroll to the fish market to buy a fresh catch for dinner or to simply take in the hubbub of the stalls.

COST: Free to walk around.

OPENING HOURS: All day, every day.

ADDRESS: Old Port of Marseille, France

WEBSITE LINK: www.lonelyplanet.com/france/marseille/vieux-port

4. SEE YET ANOTHER STRIPED BUILDING, LA CATHEDRAL DE LA MAJOR.

Top 5 Things to Do & See in Marseille, France: Cathedral de la Major. - Amy Tinson Photography

Marseille sure does love it’s striped cathedrals and this is another one to tick off the list. Again, this religious site is another architecturally beautiful building and worth admiring.

COST: Free.

OPENING HOURS: 8am to 8pm.

ADDRESS: Place de la Major, 13002 Marseille, France

WEBSITE LINK: www.marseilleprovence.net/MonumentsMajor

5. TAKE A HIKE IN LES CALANQUES.

Top 5 Things to Do & See in Marseille, France: Les Calanques National Park. - Amy Tinson Photography

This remarkable area should be on your Marseille bucket list. Unfortunately, due to knee injuries, Dave and I didn’t get to do the original hike we’d planned on our trip to Les Calanques National Park. We did, however, manage to find a spot with a view for a picnic lunch. It’s also a place I’d love to revisit in the future, the views are extraordinary!

COST: Free to hike (although there may be transport costs getting to/from the park).

OPENING HOURS: All day, every day.

ADDRESS: Bât A4, Parc Valad, Impasse Paradou, 13009 Marseille, France

WEBSITE LINK: www.lonelyplanet.com/france/les-calanques

WHERE TO…
STAY: AIRBNB APARTMENT ON RUE DE LA REPUBLIC.

Top 5 Things to Do & See in Marseille, France: AirBnb Apartment on Rue de Republique. - Amy Tinson Photography

This stylish, modern and clean AirBnb apartment is located centrally, making it ideal to reach all the major attractions. It’s in a safe neighbourhood, with a supermarket just down the road. It even has a little balcony! The host, Pauline, was also kind, friendly and knowledgeable. It was our first AirBnb booking and it couldn’t have been better.

COST: Click here to view more on prices and booking.

ADDRESS: Rue de la République Marseille, France

KEY FEATURES: Full apartment complete with comfy double bed, working kitchen, shower & bath, free WIFI, balcony, secure entry (building entry & apartment entry).

WEBSITE LINK: www.airbnb.co.uk/rooms/21402934

EAT: AT OSCAR’S BAGELS.

Top 5 Things to Do & See in Marseille, France: Oscar's Bagels. - Amy Tinson Photography

Finding a ‘light lunch’ in Marseille can be difficult. The French tend to have their main meals in the middle of the day and if you’re self-catered, this can be a pain. If you’re in this position, look no further than Oscar’s Bagels in Vieux Port. These bagels overflow with delicious fillings and there’s plenty of variations to choose from. They’re also reasonably cheap!

COST: Prices vary, click here to see their menu.

OPENING HOURS: 11:30am to 10:30pm.

ADDRESS: 8 Quai de Rive Neuve, 13001 Marseille, France

WEBSITE LINK: www.oscarsbagels.com

Marseille is also known for it’s Bouillabaisse, a fish stew dish. Although Dave and I didn’t try any, I’ve heard there’s plenty of places to find it!

DRINK: AT CASA PIETRA.

Top 5 Things to Do & See in Marseille, France: Casa Pietra- Amy Tinson Photography

Located near La Cathedral de la Major, this bar was our favourite watering hole for the weekend. The staff were friendly and chatty – even with our poor attempts at speaking French! – the prices were reasonable and it has a delightful courtyard, that’s perfect for sunbathing in. We’d highly recommend them!

COST: Prices vary, click here to see their menu.

OPENING HOURS: 9am to 2pm.

ADDRESS: 8 Place de la Major, 13002 Marseille, France

WEBSITE LINK: www.casa-pietra-restaurant.com

There you have it. My top 5 things to do in Marseille on a short city break; along with where to stay, eat and drink. We spent three days in this great city and could have easily spent longer and seen more things. And although it has a slightly bad rep, we both felt very safe during our stay. We also loved the rustic and authentic feel there. Marseille really is a fab place to go!

Planning a trip to Marseille? Drop me a comment below and let me know what you’re looking forward to seeing the most!

Prices per adult and opening hours as at June 2019.

P I N  F O R  L A T E R . . .

Top 5 Things to Do & See in Marseille, France. - Amy Tinson PhotographyWhere to Eat, Drink & Stay in Marseille, France. - Amy Tinson PhotographyA City Guide to Marseille, France. - Amy Tinson Photography

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