1st day: The must-see sights
Morning: Marseille from a height
Take bus 60, the Petit Tourist Train, City Tour or Grand Tour from the Old Port to Notre-Dame de la Garde where staggering views of the city await. Visit the basilica and the Musée de Notre-Dame de la Garde.
Return to the Old Port and visit the fish market on Quai de la Fraternité and L’Ombrière by Norman Foster. Stroll along the port’s docks. The famous free Ferry Boat takes you across Old Port to and from the Town Hall and Place aux Huiles.
Settle down to lunch in one of the many restaurants in the Old Port: try a bouillabaisse or a simple dish filled with the flavours of Provence. Satisfy your appetite on Quai du Port, Quai d’Honneur, Cours d’Estienne d’Orves, Rue Sainte and nearby.
Afternoon: Around the Old Port :
Behind the Town Hall lies the city’s old town, “Le Panier“. Experience the hidden gem that is Marseille’s old town with or without a guide (guided tours available from the Tourist Office and Convention Bureau), on the Petit Tourist Train or on foot.
Lose yourself in the little lanes and explore the Vieille Charité Museum, the Roman Docks Museum or the children’s museum Préau des Accoules.
Wander to the end of the Old Port or take the Fort Saint-Jean bridge to the J4 Esplanade: MuCEM, Villa Méditerranée and Musée Regards de Provence.
Return to the Old Port or take the 82 bus, 82S to Pharo-Catalans, 60 to Notre-Dame de la Garde, get off at the Old Port metro station and go to La Canebière. As you walk up the street, on your left you can reach the Palais de la Bourse and visit the Marseille History Museum and Ancient Port.
Go back up La Canebière to Cours Julien and you’ll reach Palais Longchamp. Alternatively, take metro line 1 (to La Rose, stop at Cinq avenues Longchamp) or tram line 2 on Cours Belsunce (to Blancarde Foch, get off at Longchamp). Here you can admire collections and exhibitions at the Fine Arts Museum and Natural History Museum and stroll through the Longchamp grounds.
Fancy a real Marseille shopping trip? Unearth Marseille souvenirs (soap, olive oil, pastis, lavender, navette biscuits, santons, OM merchandise etc.) along the docks. You’ll also get your shopping fix on Rue Saint-Ferréol, Rue Paradis and Rue de la République with their high street brands, luxury names and up-and-coming designers.
2nd day: Marseille seaside
explore the coastline, Marseille’s harbour and its islands
Take the 83 bus (to Rond-Point du Prado), cycle the bike paths along La Corniche, hop on the City Tour or Grand Tour or even a shuttle boat along Corniche Kennedy to Prado’s beaches. If you fancy something sporty then go diving or kayaking to explore Marseille Bay from the sea.
As you wander around you can explore the areas of Vallon des Auffes, Malmousque, Marseille’s islands in the distance, mansions, the Monument des Rapatriés, the Maregraph building, Porte d’Orient, secret beaches and many restaurants.
When you reach Prado’s beaches, visit the Hippodrome de Marseille and its golf courses, Château Borély and its grounds home to the Musée des arts décoratifs, de la mode et de la faïence and a botanical garden.
Continue towards the Goudes or Callelongue following signs for the Pointe Rouge (bus 19 to La Madrague de Montredon from the Borély Park stop then bus 20 to Callelongue) and you’ll find a peaceful haven far from the city, the perfect place for a drink by the water.
On your way back to the city centre you can stop at Stade Vélodrome (bus 20 to La Madrague de Montredon then bus 19 to Castellane and stop at Rond Point du Prado). Stade Vélodrome: the home of Marseille football was built in 1937 for the 1938 Football World Cup and renovated in 1998. In preparation for Euro 2016, the stadium can now seat 67,000 and is the second largest in France.
A little further along Boulevard Michelet you can explore the Unité d’Habitation: La Cité radieusebuilt by the architect Le Corbusier in 1952. You can walk here from the Rond Point du Prado or take the 21 or 22 bus and get off at Corbusier.
The building epitomises post-war architecture. It is open to visitors: guided tours are available with the Tourist Office and Convention Bureau where you can exclusively visit the listed apartment.
3rd day: From L’Estaque to the calanques passing through Euroméditerrannée
A day in the Calanques : Explore the Calanques National Park
It takes keen hikers around 11 hours to walk from Marseille to Cassis through the Calanques. For a family-friendly 90 minute walk, set off from Callelongue to the Calanque de Marseilleveyre. There are several routes to choose from (please refer to the Calanques IGN map and entry rules at the Tourist Office and Convention Bureau).
Fancy sailing through the Calanques? Hop on board a Calanques Cruise at the Old Port.
Depending on what you fancy: explore the L’Estaque Quarter
Reach L’Estaque on a shuttle boat from the Old Port (April to September) or on bus 35 from La Joliette. To reach La Joliette, at the centre of the Euroméditerranée project, take metro line 2 to Bougainville and stop of Joliette or tram line 2 and get off at Joliette.
L’Estaque is still a small fishing port whose industrial past is portrayed to perfection in the film “Marius et Jeannette”. This area was also very popular with painters (Cézanne, Braque etc.) from the end of the 19th century.
Be sure to stop and sample the famous “panisses” (chickpea flour chips) and “chichis fregis” (doughnuts) made exclusively in “chichi” stalls along the port. You can also enjoy the catch of the day with a mouth-watering grilled fish dish at one of the many restaurants on the port.
Visit the Monticelli Museum where you’ll find the largest collection of paintings by the Marseille artist and exciting temporary exhibitions.
Do you want a guide? Download the “On the painter’s path” walking tour.
Guided tours of the area are also provided by the Tourist Office and Convention Bureau (subject to availability).