Marseille is very much part of the famed Cote d' Azure or the French Riviera, even though it may not be as pretty as the other coastal towns. The second largest city in France, Marseille has a lot to offer visitors from the colorful markets, delicious seafood and busy shopping districts. The population is as diverse as they come with immigrants from North Africa, Italy, Spain and even Turkey that make it an interesting mix. So when your cruise ship drops anchor here, explore this ancient yet modern town!
Make a trip to Aix en Provence just 30 kms out, to see the beautiful lavender fields in all hues of blues and purple. You won't regret it!
THINGS TO DO AND SEE
- Explore the Old Port or Vieux Port as it's known locally, soak in the atmosphere while you sip a coffee
- Make that climb to Notre-Dame de La Garde, the church known for its stunning gold Madonna. A bonus is the spectacular views of the Vieux Port, the sea and mountains around. If you can't climb, there is a shuttle train that can ferry you from the bottom to top. This is one of the top attractions in Marseille
- A historical city, the Museed'Histoire de Marseille is a must visit just to see the history of the region traced for the last 26 centuries
- For a refreshing experience, stroll through the pedestrian square of CoursJulien, and take in the beautiful water garden and fountain, while you look around the trendy shops, cafes and theatres.
Just east of the Vieux Port is the shopping in town on the well-known street La Canabiere. Just off this main thoroughfare are smaller streets that house shops where you can stumble upon almost anything from designer clothes to books. One of the streets to look out for is Rue St. Férrol. Oh do buy some bars of savon de Marseille soap to take back home as small gifts - they are available almost everywhere!
GRAB A BITE
Bouillabaisse anyone? This is the birth place of this world famous French fish soup, so where better to eat than here? There are many cafes and restaurants that serve this, but if you want eat the best of the best then head to either Chez Michael in Vieux Port or Le Miramar where one can even try ones hand at making this dish!
Like the rest of the Mediterranean coast, Marseille enjoys good climate with temperatures in May in the cool 73°F/23°C range getting to its warmest in August at 85°F/30°C.
The Euro is the currency in use. Credit cards are accepted most everywhere. There is a value added tax added to most purchases.