Leisure activities in Marseille

Leisure activities in Marseille
Updated 2019-08-15 08:10

Marseille is a historic, culturally rich city. Because of its port and maritime activities, Marseille is a multicultural, diverse hub, home to a varied blend of cultures. Those settling in Marseille will soon realise the fierce 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!

Outside the city of Marseille, the multiple creeks and places of natural beauty constitute great swimming and relaxation spots, and you can also take time to explore nearby islands just off the coast. 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.

History and culture in Marseille

Why not start by visiting the main places of interest, namely the Vieille Charité - a cultural hub found in the historic neighbourhood of Panier? The Vieux Port neighbourhood is another must, where permanent exhibitions and other events are regularly held. Some of the city's most popular spots 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-Majeure 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, make 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 looking to do a little shopping, head towards La Canebière, the Vieux Port, the Opera area and the shopping streets of Paradis, Grignan, Saint Ferréol and 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 where possible.

Finally, after a tiring day of visits or a week of work, take time to slow the pace and adapt yourself to life in Provence. Marseille is vibrant, especially in the summer, and nothing is more typical in the south of France than sipping 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 significant 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 a visit, if only to experience the great atmosphere. The farmer's market of Cours Julien is open on Wednesdays only.

Nature in Marseille

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 explore the Borély Park with its lush vegetation and small lake, the Longchamp Palace, the Prado Beach, the Cosquer cave and the Magalone Garden. For longer days out, make sure to visit one of Marseille's many creeks for a refreshing swim, and a sunbath.

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 that can even include helicopters, gliding, ballooning, diving, canyoning, sailing, kayaking, surfing, beach tennis and boxing - to name just a few!

Useful links:

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

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