Updated 9 months ago

Marseille is a historically and culturally rich city. Because of its port and maritime activities, Marseille also become a multicultural and diverse city, home to a hodgepodge of cultures. People settling in Marseille will soon realise the visceral rivalry between Marseille and Paris, and nothing makes this rivalry more visible than the Paris Saint Germain – Olympique de Marseille games of the French league.

Further outside of Marseille, the multiple creeks constitute great swimming and relaxation spots, and you can also take time to explore the islands in the vicinity. Known as the “Phocaean City”, Marseille offers a wide range of leisure activities for all ages and was named “European Capital of Culture” in 2013.

Culture and history of Marseille

Why not start by visiting the main places of interest, namely the Vieille Charité which is found in the historical neighborhood of Panier? You might also be interested to see the Vieux Port area where permanent exhibitions and other events are held regularly. Some of the spots which are worth the detour are listed below in an order which more or less mirrors their beauty and interest:

  • Le Vieux-Port
  • La Basilique Notre-Dame-de-la-Garde
  • Les Calanques
  • Le Palais Longchamp
  • La Cathédrale Sainte-Marie-Majeur de Marseille
  • Le Fort Saint-Jean
  • L’Abbaye Saint-Victor de Marseille
  • Le Château d’If
  • Le Musée d’histoire de Marseille
  • La Vieille Charité
  • L’archipel du Frioul
  • La Calanque de Morgiou
  • La Grotte Cosquer
  • L’Observatoire de Marseille
  • Le Stade Vélodrome

If your time in Marseille is limited or if sightseeing is not your thing, do still make it a point to visit the Basilique Notre Dame de La Garde, which is the icon of Marseille and offers breathtaking panoramic views of the city.

For those who want to do some shopping, head towards La Canebière, the Vieux Port, the Opera area and the shopping streets of Paradis, Grignan, Saint Ferréol and finally the Promenade de la Corniche. Marseille is also home to a wide range of excellent museums including the Roman Docks, the Archeological Museum, the Cabinet des Monnaies and the Cantini Museum. It is advisable in most cases to check opening times and to book tickets in advance if possible.

Finally, after a tiring day of visits or after a tiring week of work, make sure to slow the pace and adapt yourself to life in the French Provence. Marseille is vibrant, especially in the summer, and nothing is more typical of the south of France than sipping a nice Pastis in the afternoon, when the thermometer hits its peaks. In the evenings, the Old Port and its many terraces provide a great place to enjoy a drink and a nice meal.

Marseilles' markets and fairs

Markets and fairs are a major element of the Southern French lifestyle. There are several lively and colourful markets across the city, namely in Capucins and La Plaine. Vieux Port, for its part, is famous for its daily fish market and is definitely worth the detour, if only to experience the great atmosphere. Cours Julien's market is open on Wednesday only.

Nature

Nature lovers will be delighted to find many gardens and parks around the city, namely the Palais du Pharo with its stunning sea views. The Old Port and Commercial Port's entrances are also surrounded by green spaces. You may also want to the the Borély Park with its small abundant vegetation and small lake, the Longchamp Palace, the Prado Beach, the Cosquer cave and the Magalone Garden. For longer day outs, make sure to visit one of Marseille’s many creeks.

Sports in Marseille

Sports are also very popular in Marseille and you won't have trouble keeping fit, especially given the great weather and the opportunity to indulge in outdoor sports. You can choose from various land, water and aero sports such as model aircraft, helicopter, gliding, ballooning, diving, canyoning, sailing, kayaking, surfing, beach tennis and boxing to name a few.

 Useful links:

Sports in Marseille
Culture Marseille
Marseille Tourism Portal – Leisure in Marseille
Wondercity – Kids activities

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