Marseille Travel Blog: Table of Contents
Marseille on C&C
Best Time To Visit Marseille
Where to Sleep
Let’s Go For a Drink
What to See and Do
Tipping in Marseille
Common Scams & What to Avoid
C&C’s Google Map of the City
Marseille Travel Blog: Where, How?
Marseille, Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur, France, Southern Europe, Europe
Population: 855,393 (2013)
Currency: Euro (€)
Marseille Provence Airport or Aéroport de Marseille Provence (MRS)
Airport Notes: Marseille Provence Airport consists of two terminals. It serve major airlines such as Air Canada, Ryan Air and Air France. It is ranked the fifth busiest airport in France in terms of passenger traffic.
Transportation to-and-from the airport: You can travel by bus, train or taxi. Alternatively, you can also choose to rent a car at the airport.
You can travel around Marseille efficiently on the metro which serves 28 stations in total. For a more unique experience, you can also take the tramway which operates along a 15.8km route. Otherwise, you can take the bus or taxi if there isn’t too much traffic.
A Note on Taxis:
Taxis are relatively safe in Marseille. If you’re concerned about getting scammed, you can look up an approximate price before entering a taxi, and ensure the driver uses the meter.
Just like anywhere, Uber is cheaper and safer. If you don’t already have an account, use this link and get 15 dollars off your first ride!
- Le Chapitre
- Les Grands La Joliette
- La Blancarde
- Les Chartreux
- Notre Dame du Mont
Navigation tips: 2 things to remember: “Where’s the station” and “where’s the water”. The station is just north-east of the port, while the ocean is always westward. If you know where you are in relation to these two reference points, you’ll always know where you are in the city.
More About Marseille on C&C
- ADDRESS BOOK: THE BEST OF MARSEILLE
- HOTEL PROFILE – HOTEL C2 OF MARSEILLE
- HOTEL PROFILE – ALEX HOTEL MARSEILLE: IT’S THE LITTLE THINGS THAT COUNT
- RESTO PROFILE – LA MANNE – WARM AND FRIENDLY
- RESTO PROFILE – L’ALCYONE, IN MARSELLE: SUMPTUOUS
- RESTO PROFILE: TABLE DU FORT, DELIGHTFULLY TIMELESS
- RESTO PROFILE: LA POULE NOIRE IN MARSELLE – COVERING ALL THE BASES
- THE BEST HOTEL RESTAURANTS IN EUROPE ARE ALL HERE
- FOR THESE HOTELS, ART IS MORE THAN A DECORATION
Best Time To Visit Marseille
Average Monthly Minimum And Maximum Temperatures
Average Monthly Rainfall Or Snowfall
Marseille Travel Blog: Personal Notes
What’s This Place About?
Marseille is the second largest city in France and is situated at the edge of Provence, one of France’s most famous provinces. It is a travel conduit, as many trains go through the St. Charles train station in Marseille and on their way to the French Riviera.
What’s Great and Fun?
As in any place in France, the food is fabulous. There are many good restaurants, fantastic chefs, and a lot of food that is at the higher end of the culinary spectrum. Marseille is also the birthplace of Pastis, a very famous alcohol that is synonymous with the city.
My personal anecdote of Marseille is, unfortunately, one of theft. I was welcoming a friend at the St. Charles train station that I had not seen in a long time. I took my backpack off to give her a hug and when I turned around, my backpack was gone. I spent the rest of that night with the police, but they never found my things. The most annoying part was that pretty much everything I owned was in that backpack.
Marseille Travel Blog: Where to go in Marseille
There are many great hotels in this city. It’s normal, after all: it’s France, and the French understand joie de vivre like no one else.
There are a few really good hostels, but make sure you pick your neighborhood right. As with the very large majority of European cities, you do NOT want to be located near the main train station. My picks: Vertigo Vieux-Port, Hello Marseille Hostel,
On the cheap side, but not in a dorm room? Hôtel Azur. If you are looking for inexpensive options on where to go in Marseille, you might be interested in this.
My favourite place – and it’s a shame that it’s in such a bad neighborhood – is Alex Hotel. It’s on the cheaper side, but the amenities are as good as any four-star hotel.
Hotel C2 is a super-luxury spot. The spa in the basement of the hotel is stunning.
The InterContinental Hotel Dieu is located in “the Hôtel-Dieu, a superb 18th century edifice, inaugurated by Napoleon III”, says the official website. And, man, is it breathtaking…
If you prefer high end options as answer to you question on where to go in Marseille, you might try this.
Just like everywhere, Airbnb is a very interesting option. If you’re not already a member, you can use this Airbnb link to get $40 off your first reservation.
Marseille Travel Blog: Let’s Eat!
Famous Foods and Specialties
- La bouillabaisse – this dish is a fish soup served with la rouille (a garlic-saffron sauce) and bread. Never eat it cheap!
- Panisse, a pastry made from chickpea flour with discrete Arabic inspirations
- Moules Marinière (mussels)
The Best Drunk Food
Our Suggestions – Dishes And Restaurants
I wrote a lengthy post listing all of my favourite addresses in Marseille. Each restaurant listed is linked to a complete restaurant review!
When you a make decision on where to go in Marseille, also check about the restaurant options.
Marseille Travel Blog: Let’s Go For a Drink
What Do the Locals Drink?
Wine, pastis, absinthe, beer.
Drinking in Public
Drinking in public is illegal throughout the country.
Our Suggestions – Bars and Pubs
- Polikarpov, 24 Cours Honoré d’Estienne d’Orves. Telephone +33 4 91 52 70 30
- Bar des 13 Coins, 45 Rue Sainte-françoise – 13002 Marseille. Telephone +33 4 91 91 56 49
- La Cane Bière, 32 Boulevard Philippon, Marseille, France 13004. Telephone 336 09 97 20
- O’Brady’s Irish Pub, 378, avenue de Mazargues. Telephone 04 91 71 53 71
As regular readers of this column know, I don’t know anything about clubs. Sorry!
Don’t look for where to go in Marseille far away from a crowd favorite bar.
Marseille Travel Blog: What to See and Do
When you pick your option on where to go in Marseille based on what you want to do and see in the city.
Musée des Civilisations de l’Europe et de la Méditerranée – it is modern, stunning, bold, contemporary and most importantly it explores the history of the Mediterranean civilization and culture.
Basilique Notre Dame de la Garde – this church in Marseille, built between 1850 and 1865 sits on the highest point in the city. With this vantage point position, you are able to 360 degree views of the city and surrounding areas – breathtaking!
Musée Cantini is a “finders- keepers” museum, meaning it is overshadowed by the more popular museums in Marseille. Once you are behind those gates you are in for a surprise; at the center of its collection is pieces from the 17th- and 18th-century Provençal art, including André Derain’s Pinède, Cassis (1907) and Raoul Dufy’s Paysage de l’Estaque (1908).
If you visit Marseille in the summer, you will be entertained by the Festival de Danse et des Arts Multiples de Marseille, a dance festival which last all summer long.
Tipping in Marseille
Just like in most of Europe, tipping is not expected but it can be a nice gesture. If you’d like to tip, 7-10% of the total cost of the bill is normal, or you can also round up the cost.
Marseille Travel Blog: Common Scams & What to Avoid
According to numbeo.com, Marseille holds the dubious distinction of having the most crime in all of Europe. There is violent and petty theft. Rampant unemployment contributes to the feeling of lack of security, which can be as high as 40% in certain neighborhoods. Marseille is also one of the cities in Europe with the most organized crime.
Don’t look for where to go in Marseille in such places.
Pickpockets are numerous. Always be very careful in crowds. Use padlocks on your backpacks and never keep anything in your back pockets.
Neither taxis nor public transportation are safe, but out of all of the options out there, Uber and the streetcar are probably the best bets, safety-wise.
There are numerous problematic neighborhoods, most of them around the St. Charles train station and the poor boroughs to the north.
How to Stay Safe: Tips and Tricks
There is a lot of crime in Marseille and it is a dangerous place.
READ MORE: Travel Canada Advisory for France