Marseille Citytrip : the essentials to explore

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After the Basque Country and Provence, I finish for a summer journey with Marseille. Indeed, this is where my vacation ended. Moreover, you have undoubtedly seen that this summer, Marseille was one of the most popular destinations. Many of us found ourselves on the cost wanting to enjoy the sun, the beach and a little bit of dolce vita after the months we have spent. So what to do when we go for a Marseille citytrip ? What are the must-have to visit ? Here is my selection.

Go to Marseille for a citytrip

To get to Marseille, nothing could be simpler. The train is direct from Paris Gare Lyon – whether via an OUIGO or a classic TGV. It will take around 3h30 so it’s very easy to go to Marseille for a short citytrip. For the current period, housing has quickly been taken by storm. However, you can easily find accommodation* if you plan a little in advance – and even in the most paradisiacal corners of the coast (Calanques, etc.).

Personally, I was lucky to be staying with a friend not far from Baille – a short walk from Castellane.

Marseille citytrip : the essentials to explore

Visiting Marseille is an adventure because the city is indeed very large. From one arrondissement to another, the atmosphere is very different. Going to Marseille is to be jostled by multiculturality.

  1. Marseille Saint Charles train station
  2. Le Vieux Port – 1st arrondissement
  3. Le Panier and the Hôtel de Ville district – 2nd arrondissement
  4. Le Cours Julien – 6th arrondissement
  5. La Basilique Notre Dame de la Garde – 6th arrondissement
  6. La Plage des Catalans – 7th arrondissement
  7. La Porte d’Orient – 7th arrondissement
  8. Le Vallon des Auffes – 7th arrondissement

Marseille Saint Charles train station

If you arrive at Marseille Saint Charles station, I invite you to take in the atmosphere from the top of this famous staircase which will take you in a few minutes to the Canebière. From the station, you will also have an overview of the Basilique Notre Dame de la Garde.

Le Vieux Port – 1st arrondissement

Go down the Canebière and you will arrive at the Vieux Port. Enjoy the view of the Port, the fishermen who sell at the Criée, the cafes which enjoy a lovely view…

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Le Panier and the Hôtel de Ville district – 2nd arrondissement

From the Vieux Port, walk up the Quai du Port to Fort Saint Jean. You can both turn off towards the picturesque streets of Le Panier (to see : the Centre de la Veille Charité) and explore the district on the MUCEM side where you can see the famous Cathedral de la Major.

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Le Cours Julien – 6th arrondissement

The Cours Julien is the lively district of bars and concerts – it’s a bit like the HQ for students and young actives. This district is surprising with its graphitis and its colorful streets. A must see.

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La Basilique Notre Dame de la Garde – 6th arrondissement

Often nicknamed “La Bonne Mère”, Notre-Dame-de-la-Garde is a 19th century basilica of the Catholic Church. Emblem of Marseille, dedicated to Notre-Dame de la Garde (protector of Marseille with Saint Victor), it dominates the city and the Mediterranean Sea from the top of Notre-Dame-de-la-Garde hill (classified site since 1917) .

A good climb awaits you to access this site !

La Plage des Catalans – 7th arrondissement

The Plage des Catalans is the most central beach in the city of Marseille – a small beach very quickly taken by storm when the sunny days arrive. Many Marseille friends don’t like to go there and prefer to go to the Calanques. Nevertheless, it is a must see place in Marseille and we were able to spend a little time there and enjoyed it very much – especially the restaurant Les Akolytes where we had lunch !

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La Porte d’Orient – 7th arrondissement

On the famous Kennedy Corniche, stands a monument facing the sea. It is the monument to the dead of the Army of the East and distant lands, or Porte d’Orient, therefore dedicated to the dead of the army Orient and distant lands of the First World War.

This monument has been classified as a historical monument since May 24, 2011.

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Le Vallon des Auffes – 7th arrondissement

A place to see absolutely !

Le Vallon des Auffes is a small traditional picturesque fishing port on the Kennedy Corniche, in the Endoume district, in the 7th arrondissement of Marseille. It is located 2 km southwest of the Vieux Port, between Catalans beach and Malmousque cove. This small port-vallon-cove shelters on either side of the bridge, around fifty small fishermen’s houses, a few restaurants, and around 80 berths for small traditional fishing boats, some of which are typical, whose catches are reserved for local restaurants. Its access is protected by a rock jetty a hundred meters long.

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Traveling in times of COVID-19

In these times marked by the COVID-19 epidemic, travel is organized differently. To visit Marseille, equip yourself with masks and hydro gel !

Marseille took slightly different measures as it faced a rebound of positive cases. When I went there, the mask was mandatory everywhere (in and out). In the restaurants, the tables are spaced out and arranged in order to best respect barrier gestures. What was frustrating was the closing at 11pm which made us cut some of our evenings with friends short.

* In collaboration with
The content and my review reflect my experience and my opinion 100%.

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