by adminrif on 25-04-2019 in Articles1

An Inside Guide to Marseille

France's second largest city has a constant buzz that draws visitors from all over the world. Known as the metropolis of the Mediterranean, you can expect to find trendy restaurants and bars, new museums and galleries, and so much more. Visit Marseille for the new-found culture, as well as the brawling beat of a big port city, picturesque and seductive for the last 2,600 years. 

For those who imagine the whole of France to be Paris-esque, or rolling green countryside, Marseille might come as a bit of a shock. The bold culture of this port city is much more Italian than the stereotypical image of France. Nevertheless, it is the good kind of shocked. There's a real edge to the place, and you can be guaranteed to enjoy yourself fabulously if you visit! 

To See and Do

Architecture afficionados ought to make a beeline for Notre Dame de la Garde, which is the city's iconic church. Topped by a golden Madonna and Child, it is breathtaking and offers spectacular views over the city and sea. Whilst there, stop for lunch at the basilica’s on-site restaurant, L’Eau Vive, which is run by nuns and serves various grills and French classics. The three-course menu of the day is €13 (£12).

The old port (Vieux Port)  is the perfect destination for those who love a bit of people watching, ambience and the occasional Instagram-worthy photo (when in Marseille, porquoi-pas?!). It has been the focal point of the city for 2,600 years. While it was once a bustling commercial port, that ended decades ago, and the Vieux Port now boasts pleasure crafts and a few small fishing boats that deliver their catch locally.

A local secret : The St Victor district is full of hip bars, restaurants and pubs. At 1 Rue d’Endoume, the Repaire-des-Amis (or Repaire de la Poissonerie: it’s the same place) is a lovely oyster and shellfish bar. Stop by on your way back from the Vieux Port.

A fun way to see the city is to hop on the Colorbüs (which begins at Vieux Port), and is an easy way of getting around some of Marseille's highlights. Hop off at Vallon des Auffes, an unlikely fishing village entirely engulfed by the city.

Les Calanques is an absolute must-see. We just can't emphasise it enough! It's only a short trip outside the city and is a huge favourite with locals and visitors alike. Les Calanques is the rocky terrain along the Mediterranean coast. It's simply stunning and makes for the perfect day trip. Pack a swimsuit, a picnic and some SPF and you're set. 

La Canebière is the historic street in the Old Quarter of Marseille. It runs all the way to the Old Port and is infamous for the 1934 assassination of the King of Yugoslavia. Recently renovations have begun to restore it to its' former grandeur established during the port's heyday. Visit Le Marché des Capucins which is arguably the best market in Marseille. You can find everything here, not just fruits and vegetables. Enjoythe smell of spices, pastries and other specialities from Northern Africa. The market really shows off the vibrant and diverse culture of Marseille.

Another great day excursion and a change from the city itself, is to take a boat and visit the Château d'If, which served as the fictional prison for The Count of Monte Cristo. The boat journey is only 20 minutes and the views en-route are outstanding. The Frioul isles are 20 minutes further on and offer rewarding views of cliffs, creeks and beaches for beautiful strolls. 

Lastly, a culinary must when visiting Marseille. One must simply not leave until they have tried bouillabaisse. This feisty traditional fish stew is a traditional dish and expresses the turbulent spirit of the city. It should come in two servings: first the broth, then the mix of four to six different fish. 

Marseille is a city unlike any other in France. Whatever time of year you visit, you can be sure to have a wonderful time packed full of interesting and memorable experiences. If you are considering a trip to Marseille, be sure to browse the Rent in France property directory for all our self-catering properties. Make 2019 the year that you tick this unique city off your list!