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Explore Marseille - An Exclusive Guide

A perfect day in… Marseille, France


As the oldest city in France, founded by the Greeks and living through a turbulent 2,600 years, Marseille offers a lively mix of historic sights and cutting-edge cultural happenings. This bustling, working port city feels a world away from the sleepy lavender fields of Provence – and that’s much of its appeal.

What to see in Marseille

A great place to start is Marseille’s central boulevard, La Canebière, a shady pedestrianized high street that runs through the centre of town and opens onto the Vieux Port (old harbor), the busy, beating heart of the city.


Marseille is home to two must-see cathedrals: the Cathédrale La Major, one of the largest in France, whose first stone was laid by Napoleon III in 1852, and the Basilique Notre-Dame de la Garde, where visitors who climb the 160 steps to the cathedral’s dome are rewarded with spectacular views.

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As the less manicured neighbor of tourist hot spots such as Nice or Cannes on the nearby French Riviera, Marseille is also home to a thriving street art scene. Seek out fantastic frescoes in neighborhoods like Le Panier which surrounds the Cathédrale La Major, where colorful murals adorn the narrow, hilly streets.

What to do in Marseille

The Vieux Port merits a few hours of meandering: snap the old, picturesque fishermen’s houses and watch the yachts go by, or take to the seas yourself for a view of the city from one of the many boat tours offered at the marina.


Architecture lovers must head to La Cité Radieuse, one of Le Corbusier’s most famous creations, and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. For more avid design buffs, build your visit into a walking tour of local architectural landmarks.

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Round off the day with a lively evening stroll in Le Cours Julien, an artsy neighborhood a 10-minute walk from the old port, full of vintage shops and a favorite haunt of local creatives. Check out Espace Julien for its upbeat program of live music, or go see an exhibition at one of the many galleries.

What to eat in Marseille

Marseille’s status as a cultural melting pot has long been established, and this is never more evident than in its food scene. For a taste of the city at its most eclectic, visit foodie paradise Le Marché des Capucins, a cheap and cheerful market housing some great casual lunch spots including Bistro Poulette for mussels. Or for a more upmarket fare, try Une Table au Sud, and don’t miss the Bouillabaisse, a delicious fish stew native to the city.

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Marseille also holds its own in the pastry scene: stock up on traditional treats at Les Navettes des Accoules on Rue Caisserie, or try local favorite Farinette in La Vieux Port for seedy loaves and hazelnut babka.

For more information, please visit Marseille Tourism.

This article has been written for review purposes only and does not suggest sponsorship or endorsement of AARDY by the trademark owner.

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