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Things to do in Marseille

Things to do in  Marseille

Welcome to Marseille

France’s second-largest city and most important port, bustling Marseille offers visitors vibrant old neighborhoods and historic sights. Roughly 482 miles (775 km) south of Paris on the Mediterranean coast, Marseille, a major transportation hub, serves as an ideal base for exploring the French Riviera and Provence. Half-day and full-day guided tours show off Marseille’s shore, wine, and neighboring regions. Take a walking tour of Marseille’s historic center around the Old Port (Vieux Port) to learn about the city’s Greek and Roman roots. Travel through time with a visit to the Abbey of Saint Victor to see its fifth- century crypts; and stop in the 19th-century Neo-Byzantine Basilica of Notre-Dame de la Garde, one of Marseille's most recognized monuments. Climb on an electric bike to glide along the pretty road known as Corniche Kennedy, plus stop for panoramic coastal views. Tour the opera house, and score tickets to a performance. Day trips take you beyond the city on a tour of the Calanques National Park, a stretch of rugged coastline near Marseille; or to the gorgeous natural landscapes around the Luberon Massif. Take a day tour of Provence to see Avignon, charming Aix-en-Provence, and Arles. Or head to soak up the sun along the French Riviera, with stops in Cannes and Nice. For coastal charm closer to the Marseille’s city center, join a tour to the UNESCO-listed inlet of Cassis, which features magnificent views from its dramatic sea cliff, Cape Canaille.

Top 10 attractions in Marseille

#1
Marseille Cruise Port (Terminal Croisières Marseille)

Marseille Cruise Port (Terminal Croisières Marseille)

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Marseille is France’s largest and busiest port, welcoming over 1.5 million cruise passengers to its shores each year. As the gateway to Provence and the south of France, Marseille is a popular stop on Europe cruise itineraries, and offers ferry connections to Corsica, Sardinia, Algeria, and Tunisia.More
#2
Calanques National Park (Parc National des Calanques)

Calanques National Park (Parc National des Calanques)

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As Europe's only protected park to contain land, water, and semi-urban areas, Calanques National Park (Parc National des Calanques) is a mecca for outdoor adventurers. Whether you want to snorkel and sail, kayak and climb, or hike and watch out for wildlife, France's answer to the Garden of Eden has it all.More
#3
Vallon des Auffes

Vallon des Auffes

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With its charming jumble of fishing boats and fishermen’s cabins clustered around the small harbor, and framed by the arches of a stone-brick bridge; visiting Vallon des Auffes feels like stepping back in time. Located along the Marseille Corniche, the historic port village is a world away from the bustling city and makes a tranquil detour for those traveling along the coastal road.Despite its diminutive size, Vallon des Auffes punches well above its weight when it comes to gastronomy and its handful of waterfront restaurants are well known for serving delicious fresh fish and seafood. Top restaurants include Chez Fonfon, L’Epuisette and Chez Jeannot, while the most celebrated dish is Provencal specialty bouillabaisse.More
#4
Palais du Pharo

Palais du Pharo

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The Palais du Pharo in Marseille was built for Napoleon III and was once home to the city’s medical school. The palace is now used for municipal events and conferences and is famous for great views over the Mediterranean Sea from the palace gardens.More
#5
Notre-Dame de la Garde Basilica (La Bonne Mère)

Notre-Dame de la Garde Basilica (La Bonne Mère)

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Perched atop the city’s highest hill, the magnificent Notre-Dame de la Garde, which is visible from all over the Marseille, is one of the city’s most striking landmarks. The Romano-Byzantine basilica dates back to the 19th century and is best known for its grand bell tower, which is capped with a gleaming gold statue of the Virgin Mary.More
#6
Camargue

Camargue

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Located in southwest Provence, the Camargue is one of France’s wildest and most scenic landscapes. Protected as a regional natural park, the expanse of wetlands, beaches, salt pans, and rice paddies is known for its herds of white Camargue horses and Camargue bulls, all tended to by localgardians (cowboys).More
#7
Palais Longchamp

Palais Longchamp

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The colonnaded Palais de Longchamp, constructed in the 1860s, was designed in part to disguise a château d'eau (water tower) at the terminus of an aqueduct from the River Durance. The building of this water storage and the associated canals and aqueducts was a major turning point in the history of Marseille as it allowed the city to expand, building new districts. One of these was the Boulevard Longchamp, laid out by the city then developed by private business people who profited from providing a grand boulevard of similarly styled, gracious houses.In the Palais itself, the two wings house Marseille's oldest museum, the Musée des Beaux-Arts, and the Musée d'Histoire Naturelle, which have extensive displays of the arts and the sciences respectively. Its lovely gardens' lakes, fountains, waterfalls, playground, and carousel are good spots for kids.More
#8
La Corniche

La Corniche

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Winding along the Mediterranean coast along the South of France, La Corniche is a waterfront roadway that stretches five kilometers through Marseille. As both a walkway and a road for cars, it offers wonderful views of the sea and coastline. It was a particularly popular promenade for residents of Marseille in the 1920s. From there you can also see the Iles du Frioul, elegant villas of the late 19th century, and the Prado beaches. The Chateau d’If (of the Count of Monte Cristo fame) is also visible.Along the way sits the Maregraph Building, which took measurements over thirteen years to determine France’s sea level elevation. The bench of La Corniche runs three kilometers between the Pont de la Fausse-Monnaie and Hotel Sofitel Palm Beach, making it the longest bench in the world. Part of the roadway is named after President Kennedy, who was assassinated during its construction.More
#9
Cap Canaille

Cap Canaille

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Soaring 394 meters over the beaches of Cassis, Cap Canaille is France’s highest sea cliff and it’s a dramatic sight, with its steep grey and ochre colored cliffs jutting out into the ocean. Located between La Citotat and Cassis on the Mediterranean coast, the rugged headland has long drawn visitors from both towns, and offers spectacular views that span the glittering Cote d’Azur, the Calanques and the Gulf of Cassis.The easiest way to take in the views is to follow the 15km ‘Route des Crêtes’, a dizzying serpentine road that curls its way along the coastal cliffs and climbs to the highest point – head there at sunrise or sunset for the most breathtaking views. Alternatively, adventurous travelers will find ample opportunities for hiking, mountain biking and rock climbing.More
#10
Frioul Islands (Îles du Frioul)

Frioul Islands (Îles du Frioul)

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The Îles du Frioul is a collection of four small islands just off the coast of Marseille. In their long history, the islands have been used as the site of a fortress and prison, and a quarantine zone for people suspected of carrying the plague cholera. Nowadays visitors come to hike the islands and visit the famous Chateau d’If.More

Trip ideas

Food and Wine in Marseille

Food and Wine in Marseille

Provence Tours from Marseille

Provence Tours from Marseille

Top activities in Marseille

Recent reviews from experiences in Marseille

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A great and fun way to see Marseille!
Stephanie_A, Apr 2021
Electric Bike Tour to the Calanques from Marseille
It was a perfect way to see and cover so much of the city.
star-5
Fantastic tour and amazing tour guide
amylkennedy2020, Jan 2020
Marseille Shore Excursion: Half Day Tour of Marseille by Electric Bike
You get to see the whole city and learn about the history of this spectacular port.
star-5
Great tour!
Navigator657553, Oct 2019
Great Marseille Food Tour Experience
Wonderful and interesting food and a great way to see and get to know Marseille and its history.
star-5
Romain was the best tour guide ever!
Laura W, May 2019
Aix en Provence, Marseille & Cassis Private Tour in Minivan
We never felt rushed and were sad to see our time with him come to a close.
star-5
So fun!
courtney_g, May 2019
Marseille Shore Excursion: Half Day Tour of Marseille by Electric Bike
We got to see so many sights and view this gorgeous provence with time to spare to explore on our own.
star-5
Best way ever to see Marseille. Our...
Robert B, Mar 2018
Marseille Smalll Group Electric Bike Tour
Best way ever to see Marseille.
star-5
Best way to see the main city sights...
Lucia_C, Oct 2016
Electric Bike Tour to the Calanques from Marseille
Best way to see the main city sights of Marseille.
star-4
Great way to see Marseille including...
Lynne S, Oct 2016
Marseille Smalll Group Electric Bike Tour
Great way to see Marseille including some little hidden gems with a friendly and enthusiastic local guide but cycling through busy town traffic in a group of 8 or 9 was nerve-wracking and felt slightly dangerous at times and you really need to put in quite a bit of effort on the hills - the electric bike definitely doesn't do all the work!
star-5
Great way to see Marseille and...
Geoff A, Oct 2016
Provence, Marseille and Cassis Sightseeing Tour
Great way to see Marseille and Cassis if you have limited time.
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Very nice tour... glad we did it...
John G, Oct 2015
Provence, Marseille and Cassis Sightseeing Tour
Enjoyed the boat cruise to visit the Calanques and the quantness of the village of Cassis.
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Our driver Mathew was superb from...
Andrew C, Oct 2015
Marseille Shore Excursion: Private Marseille and Cassis Tour
Marseille and Cassis are stunning places to visit and I highly recommend this private relaxed tour.
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Our tour guide was amazing. She is...
Cindy, Jun 2015
Provence in a Day Tour from Marseille
Highly recommend this trip to people who wanna spend a day to see neighboring cities of Marseille.
star-5
This was a fun and healthy way to...
Robert P, Aug 2015
Marseille Shore Excursion: Private Electric Bike Tour
This was a fun and healthy way to see Marseille.
star-4
A great tour but not enough time...
Bruce A, Nov 2013
Private Tour: Les Baux de Provence
The chateaux and village were a delight to visit.
star-5
Clean vehicle and good driver - polite...
John M, Oct 2007
Marseille Airport to Avignon Private Arrival Transfer
Clean vehicle and good driver - polite and friendly with sound English.
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A taste of little and big cities, a blend of quiet and bustling places
Cristina_N, Mar 2020
Aix en Provence, Marseille & Cassis Private Tour in Minivan
This tour is perfect if you'd like to see key sights without a lot of walking and want to hit 3 great spots in the south of France on a comfortable luxury car drive.
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Aix-en-Provence from Marseille
waibing89, Dec 2019
Private Tour: Aix-en-Provence from Marseille
We were lucky to have her because there were a lot of sights we wanted to see; she delivered abundant information covering the background on Aix - its history, art, attractions, food.
star-5
Fantastic guide, and an awesome way...
Cristine_V, May 2018
Marseille Shore Excursion: Half Day Tour of Marseille by Electric Bike
Fantastic guide, and an awesome way to see Marseille.
star-5
Perfect day in Marseilles
Inspire46991065853, May 2019
Marseille Shore Excursion: City Sightseeing Tour of Marseille
Touring with a small group of 7 made the excursion so enjoyable - we were able to see so much in 4 hours.
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Excellent day trip to Luberon
Tugrul_D, Mar 2019
Perched Villages of the Luberon Day Trip from Marseille
The trip consisted of visits to Lourmarin (45 min, where we had our morning coffee), Roussillon (1 hr, where there was a small market and you could also take a short hike to the Ochre trails), Gordes (1 hr 15, where we had lunch), Fountaine-de-Vaucluse (1 hr, where you could take a walk along the source of the spring), L'Isle-sur-la-Sorgue (1 hr 10 min, where you could also see the only church in France with Liberty, Equality, Fraternity written on its facade).

All about Marseille

When to visit

Marseille’s Mediterranean climate, along with music festivals such as Rock Island and Marsatac, draws vacationers south in the balmy summer months. For the best deals, visit in late September, when the summer hordes have left, but it’s still warm enough to hit the beach or take a day trip to the French Riviera.

Frequently Asked Questions
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