- Discover Marseilles
Marseilles is the second largest city in France after Paris, with a population of around one million. It is the oldest city in France and was the most important trading centre in the region.
Marseilles has a Mediterranean climate and is sunny all year round, with temperatures ranging from around 12° in the winter to 30° in the summer.
Marseilles is a real melting pot of cultures, Italian, Spanish and North African . It is not dangerous as its reputation would have you believe and indeed has gone through some impressive regeneration in preparation for its role as the city of culture 2013.
Le Vieux Port (Old Harbour) is one of the highlights. A beautiful harbour with fabulous yachts docked in the marina, a Ferris Wheel and much more. From here you can get the ferry to Frioul Islands or Chateau dIf or get on the small train to Notre Dame de la Garde.
You can see this large church on the hill from most places in the city. It is a striking site, but even better up close. Take the train or the number 60 bus to the top, not a walk for the faint hearted or unfit. The views over the city from here are fantastic. Come up at sunset for a real treat.
Take the walk by the sea known as La Corniche. It stretches 5km along the coastline. From here you will be treated to spectacular views of the Mediterranean sea and the Frioul islands.
Home to Palais de Pharo the park is a great place to get some peace. There are great views of the harbour from here as well. (see below)
This was the island in Alexanre Dumas’ classic novel “The Count of Monte Cristo”. It was once a fortress and then turned into a prison for political prisoners and now hosts tourists. €10 return from the harbour.
You can get a ferry out to the islands from Le Vieux Port for a really nice day trip. It costs around $10 for a trip to the main island. It's lovely to walk around and explore.
A large park near the sea. Then go to Escale Borely to have a drink or something to eat on the beach.
A very interesting neighbourhood to walk around in. The houses are all very close together and there are some good places to eat and drink.
There’s a few Irish bars at the harbour such as the Old Temple Bar, O’ Malleys and the Shamrock which are good fun and not too expensive.
Nightclubs such as Le Trolleybus (24 Quai de Rive Neuve) and Le Cosy Bar (1 Rue de Chantier) are popular.
La Bouillabaise de Marseilles. It’s a fish based soup which is very popular here. You will have to pay to get good Bouillabaisse. Also try Moules Mariniere (mussels), they are lovely.
Marseille Provence Airport is around 25km from the city centre. There are two terminals, one of them is for budget airlines.
Flight times to Marseilles
Dublin 2 hours | London 1.5 hours | Hong Kong 12 hours | New York 8 hours | San Diego 12 hours | 20.5 hours
Getting from the airport
There is a bus that runs from outside Terminal 1 every 15 mins that will bring you to Gare Saint Charles train station.
The public transport system is linked up so the trams, metro and buses all use the same ticketing system. Pick up a transport plan from the welcome disks in the metro stations. The metro runs until 1am.
A great way of getting around and seeing the sites is to take a hop-on hop-off bus tour which runs every hour.
Take the “Petit Train” for an alternative way to see the city. It leaves from the Old Port and goes either up to Notre Dame le Garde or the Old Town. It’s good fun.
Marseilles is infamous for muggings and pickpockets so don’t carry your valuables if possible. Carry your handbag on the inside away from the street. Don’t hold your Smartphone when you are walking around. However, Marseilles is certainly not as dangerous as its reputation suggests. These precautions should be taken as you walk around every city.
Stay away from Gare St Charles and the Northern neighbourhoods and you should be ok. As always stick together at night and don’t get too drunk.
There is a high level of medical care available in Marseille.
The European Health Insurance Card is valid here for citizens of E.U. member states. This will cover you in the case of an emergency but remember that you should still have health insurance as the EHIC will not cover everything.
The emergency number is 112.