Marseille, France is an ancient city with old ports since 600BC, and like many ports around the world Marseille was once riddled by nefarious activities and crime. But that was a long time ago, today the city blossoms of color and intoxicating dynamism, there are lots of activities to keep tourists entertained for years. We have compiled a list of the 10 best attractions in the mega city.
1. Old port
Marseilles enormous port has been an active commercial hub for over 2500 years and is more of a whole district than a single point of attraction. You can watch life unfold in this enchanting city as you nurse a pastis. While France is generally known for its sophisticated and elegant cuisines, Marseille is particularly popular for its pastis—its abundance of fresh seafood. Therefore, a great way to gain knowledge about the cultural inheritance of the city is to explore its cuisines. With everything from wines to bouillabaisse, on the sides of the port are 18th century warehouses with broad promenades, fish restaurants, café, bar and outdoor seating
2. Basilique Notre-Dame de la Garde
This 19th century church is one of Marseilles most remarkable landmark, its imposing structure comprises of several doomed towers with white and green limestones. It is located at the top of the mountain overlooking the sea and the city, this spot is perfect for photographs and views. It is easily accessible by bus although some tourists may choose to take the hectic hike up the hills. The neo byzantine church is 150 meters above water, with a large golden statue of the virgin and child on top of the tower. Visiting this place is free, the mosaic interiors and the stunning view of the city from the top is incredible.
3. Les Calanques
If the weather permits, a boat ride to the mesmerizing Calanques; which is a stretch of coast between cassis and Marseille is tranquilizing. During the summer, Calanques is a must visit for anyone visiting the city, with its beautiful beaches and stunning views.
4. Parc National Des Calanques
The refreshing sea breeze is remarkable especially for first time visitors to the Parc National Des Calanques: There is an option of cycling around the area to tour the scenic landscape, or even rent a kayak or canoe and paddle out to the cliffs.
5. Musee d’Histoire de Marseille
Marseille has over 26 centuries of history, this could be difficult to wrap your head around but this large urban history museum covers the huge time span. Astonishing relics can be found here like ancient ships, mosaics, architectural fragments, ceramics, sarcophagi, amphorae and much more.
6. Chateau d’If
The chateau is an enchanting attraction because of its natural setting and history. It is a short boat ride away from the shores of Marseille France and is located in the frioul islands archipelago which is a natural conservation area. The scenery is home to shiny limestone cliffs, pristine beaches, protected coves, turquoise waters, sandy creeks and pristine beaches.
7. Le Plaine and Noailles
Located directly east of the old port, these two neighborhoods will give you a feeling of the life in ancient day Marseille. After Algeria became a French territory in 1830, many generations of Africans settled down in present day Noailles. Tourists can walk through the colorful market and shop for exotic commodities like beads from north Africa and middle east or have a bite of the sizzling kebabs.
8. Stade Velodrome
Olympique de Marseille is home to one of the world’s largest football cathedral, even after it was marvelously refurbished to host the Euro 2016. With a capacity of over 67,000 it is currently the largest club football stadium in the country.
Boulevard Longchamp: Take a walk on one of Marseilles most edifying path, the beautiful boulevard Longchamp with twin row of plane trees and its up market 19th century houses. Walking from Canaberie station up towards Palais Longchamp the 19th century fountain and crescent shaped colonnade slowly comes to view.
9. Vieux port
The Vieux port old harbor is a remarkable part of Marseille; all the tourists head here to take memorable pictures during the awe-inspiring sunset. There’s a lot to do here; ride the Ferris wheel, watch the boats, eat some sea food or fresh fish. It is a great location that branches out to other of the city’s main attraction.
10. Le panier (old town)
Comfortably sitting on a hillside above the Vieux port is this colorful neighborhood; le panier, it is a historic center and informally called the cultural heart of Marseille. Le panier is Marseilles oldest district, inhabited since 600BC when the ancient Greeks first set foot in its steep, narrow winding streets and pastel buildings. Le panier possesses a fascinating multiethnic character and artistic houses. Here you’ll find local Algerian cuisines, art galleries, gourmet food shops and a lot more.