To discover Marseille is to immerse oneself in 2,600 years of history, tales of passion, secrets and traditions. Here is a beautifully-preserved city, with natural beauty, bathed in the sun’s all-pervading rays the whole year round. You will be enchanted by this city with its robust character and charming accent.
One does not visit Marseille! On the contrary, Marseille unveils its wonders to the attentive. Below is a selection of the major attractions, chosen for you by Chef Concierge Véronique Boillot.
Notre-Dame de la Garde basilica
Notre-Dame de la Garde Basilica, affectionately known locally as ‘The Good Mother,’ stands 162 metres above sea level and offers a 360° panoramic view of of the city and the surrounding region.
The Vieux Port
The historic Vieux Port has been the city’s cultural center since its foundation in the mists of time. The oldest port in Marseille, it was completely renovated in 2013. Its fish market is renowned throughout France.
The timeless, immortal Panier quarter, only minutes from the Vieux Port, is the home of art galleries, a concept store, and lots of wonderful stores and shops and an abundance of bars and intimate restaurants.
The Vieille Charité is a former hospice located in the historic Panier quarter. The building has been transformed into a cultural centre, with temporary exhibitions and a host of events throughout the year
Calanques National Park
The coves (known here as calanques) of Marseille and Cassis are best described as heaven on earth. Here in their secluded depths, nature comes into her own: all is uninhabited and secret, with the twisted Aleppo pines seeming to hold on for dear life to the craggy rocks. Unadulterated luxury in our times! Landscapes and seascapes and suburban backdrops that take your breath away…
La Canebière and Noailles district
The legendary Cannebière, with its majestic 19th century Bourse and the many Haussmann buildings, leads to the Noailles quarter, an international, open-air market, filled to bursting with all kinds of food and goodies and very popular with the local population.
The Frioul Islands and If Castle
The Frioul Islands are a 25-minute boat trip from Marseille and are an immense playground for young and old alike. The Grand Souffre beach, on the Ratonneau Island is easily accessible and is ideal for families. Pomègues Island, in the Crine Calanque, offers a lunar landscape, with an incredible variery of fauna and flora. The boat that connects the Vieux Port and the Frioul Islands is perfect for visiting If Castle, made famous by the fabled Count of Monte Cristo.
The Vélodrome Stadium
Another, much-loved symbol of the city, home to the fabulous football club, is the Olympique de Marseille, dear to the heart of every man, woman and child in Marseilles. Here football is more than just a sport: it’s the local religion, bringing together locals and supporters alike. The Vél’, as it’s called locally, also hosts concerts featuring some of the greatest, international artists.
In Marseille the museums are many and varied: the MAC, (contemporary art museum), the MAMO (the art center located in the Cité Radieuse), the Cantini museum, the museum of Decorative Arts, Fashion and Ceramics in the Chateau Borély , the Regards de Provence, the Vieille Charité, the History museum and of course the world-famous egards de Provence, la Vieille Charité, le musée d’Histoire, et le très célèbre MuCEM (the musée des civilisations de l’Europe et de la Méditerranée) the pride and joy of architect Rudy Ricciotti. The MuCEM has become the symbol of modern Marseilles.
Le Vallon des Auffes
Imagine a picturesque fishing port, famous restaurants, a hideaway nestling between 2 cliffs, where time seems to stand still. Add a photo of a perfect sunset on the Mediterranean and enjoy the view, before heading on to visit Endoume, the Malmousque creek and the Fausse Monnaie beach.
Le Corbusier’s Radiant City
The Cité Radieuse (the Radiant City), brainchild and chef d’oeuvre of the unrivalled genius, le Corbusier, and classified a UNESCO World Heritage site in June 2016, houses, on its renovated rooftop, the highest museum in Marseille: the MAMO. Under the direction of Ora Ito, acclaimed design genius, all here is panache! The panoramic view is simply stunning: the city, with its 2,600 years of history and the azure blue of the cove. So much to see! Let’s not forget the internationally-acclaimed works of art exhibited here in the museum!
The City Center
The city center of Marseille houses luxury outlets, a concept store, organic markets, fine food stores, trendy bars and restaurants, and more. Take a stroll here after nightfall and see how all of Marseille comes together in one big melting pot, amid the famous brands and luxury trademarks.
The very vibrant Joliette Docks appear to have become the latest, chic Marseille business quarter, with shopping outlets and lots to do and see., in this continually-expanding quarter. A major 19th century building project, the Docks have been transformed into an absolutely atypical shopping area, where young Marseille creators and designers unveil their many talents. This is a perfect showcase for the wonderful abilities and inspiration of this vibrant sector.
The Estaque, with its extraordinary charm is a secluded hamlet that was once home to fishermen and roof tile manufacturers. It’s one of the best places for the traditional panisses.