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Marseille City Breaks

A swaggering city by the sea

Choose a holiday to Marseille City, and you'll soon see that France’s second biggest metropolis is having a moment. Once poor cousin to Nice and Cannes, not everyone appreciated Marseille’s earthy vibe. No longer. It’s bonjour to swanky new museums, designer hotels, galleries and stylish restaurants. European Capital of Culture 2013, Marseille City is getting some ooh la la. Get your arty fix at any one of Marseille’s museums and galleries, including the incredible Museum of European and Mediterranean Civilisations. There are also trendy boutiques along newly created tree-lined boulevards. Make the most of that shiny blue sea with a boat trip to one of the nearby islands, or a walk over the limestone cliffs of Calanques national park. With beaches, shopping, sunshine and a buzzy nightlife, there are a lot of things to fall in amour within Marseille.

Explore our map of Marseille City

Your Marseille City questions, answered

Marseille is famous for pizza; bouillabaisse, a two-course meal of fish soup followed by the fish itself; and pieds et paquets – tripe and trotters.
May to August is peak season, during which the city can be crowded. Consider visiting between September and November for a little space.
Most travellers enjoy a Marseille city break during June and July, with tourist season peaking in mid-August. Summer temperatures rise to a welcoming 28°C. The clear, sunny skies create the perfect conditions for city tours, beach days, boating trips, and other fun outdoor activities. To avoid the big tourist crowds, book your Marseille trip for April or May. The temperature is a little cooler, averaging around 21°C. Alternatively, book for mid to late September. Marseille summers are long, so there's a good chance you'll have lots of sun and blue skies. And accommodation is much cheaper.
Marseille has a one, two, and three-day city pass. Prices range from €23-37 for adults. Kids under seven go free. The city pass lets you hop on and off all Marseille's buses, trams, metros and ferries as many times as you like. And it gives you free entry to many of the city's most famous attractions, including the Marseille Cathedral tourist train, the Museum of European and Mediterranean Civilisations, and the Roma Docks Museum. You can buy city passes locally or purchase online in advance.
You can visit many of Marseille's best attractions on foot. For anything else, hop on the metro, tram or the extensive (but slow) bus network.
Marseille has everything you could wish for in a city break. Spend your days walking around the port or exploring the city's museums and art galleries. Then take a tour through the Quartier du Panier, Marseille's oldest and hippest neighbourhood. This is where you'll find the city's independent bars, quirky shops, and hidden-gem restaurants. Marseille is a safe city for tourists, but it does have a reputation for being a little edgy. Avoid the Boulevard Michelet district after dark and take taxis when travelling back to your hotel from bars and restaurants at night.
Marseille is best suited to couples and friends looking for an alternative city break holiday. But there's still plenty of fun things for kids. The gardens behind Longchamp Palace are perfect for a family picnic. There's also a playground and the remains of a 19th-century zoo. Large, brightly coloured statues have replaced the original residents. So, expect to see giant purple gorillas and pink mountain bears. The kids will also enjoy a boat adventure from Vieux Port. They'll see hidden coves, secret beaches and old castles standing on tiny islands in the middle of the sea.
Marseille is a go-to place for tourists looking for a different kind of holiday. This young city is a little rough around the edges, offering an authentic holiday experience that feels a million miles from the tourist traps in Paris and other European cities. Food lovers should try the world-famous bouillabaisse fish soup. This once humble peasant food costs €60 from the best restaurants and takes two days to prepare. It's a rich tomato broth packed with mussels, monkfish, red snapper and sardines. A bowl of bouillabaisse is a once in a lifetime holiday experience. Don't deny yourself!
Two or three days in Marseille gives you enough time to see plenty of this fascinating port. You'll get to explore the quirky neighbourhoods and see some of Marseille’s local attractions, including the Basilique Notre-Dame de la Garde. Set on top of a hill overlooking the city, this is a stunning 19th-century Byzantine-style church with mesmerising views of the coastline. Marseille is within an hour’s drive of dozens of beautiful beaches and resorts. So, you might want to book a few extra days if you're planning to visit Marseille in summer.