Marseilles is an enticing port city known for its delectable seafood, breathtaking views of the Mediterranean, and diverse melting pot of cultures. Less travelled by tourists than its other Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur counterparts, including Cannes and Nice, this seaside city is a vibrant, artistic, and historically significant stop worth exploring!
Believed to have been established in the seventh century by the Phoenicians or Greeks, Marseille is now the second largest French city after Paris and was named the European Capital of Culture in 2013. Marseille is a city of and for immigrants, with a blend of cultures and religions from North Africa, Eastern Europe, the Middle East, and more, reflected in the gastronomic and architectural diversity of Marseille itself. Visit the Museum of European and Mediterranean Civilizations, constructed in an Arabic architectural style, for an immersive experience with exhibits showcasing the artifacts of Marseille’s extensive history. The city’s most frequented attraction, the Notre-Dame de la Garde basilica, is a stunning display of Roman and Byzantine design and provides spectacular views of the city below.
A trip to Marseille wouldn’t be complete without a stroll through Le Vieux Port and Le Panier, popular neighborhoods for tourism and lined with markets boasting fresh and authentic cuisine. Bouillabaisse, a delicious stew filled with local and fresh-caught seafood, is well-known as a Marseillaise specialty, but don’t pass up the chance to eat other scrumptious eats, including squid, sardines, and mussels, piping-hot pizzas, and a sip of anise-flavored Pastis. There’s a reason why the city was one of Anthony Bourdain’s favorite gastronomic destinations!
Be sure to take advantage of Marseille’s natural beauty. The variety of sandy and rocky beaches are perfect spots to revel in striking ocean scenes. Just south of Marseille, the Parc national des Calanques offers great hiking, biking, and boating excursions for any nature-lover.
With so much to see and do, Marseille, France, will delight and astonish you.
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PARC NATIONAL DES CALANQUES
Journey south of Marseilles to find the breathtaking beauty of Calanques National Park. Its vivid turquoise waters, imposing limestone cliffs, and lush greenery are a sight to behold, and the park's natural biodiversity ensures that you will spot some impressive wildlife, including eagles, sea turtles, and dolphins. Go for a swim and scuba dive among the calanques, or take a hike through the park's forests.
BASILIQUE NOTRE-DAME DE LA GARDE
The Notre-Dame de la Garde basilica is Marseille's most visited attraction, set atop a hill overlooking the sprawling city below. A golden sculpture of la bonne mère, the holy mother, stands atop this stunning basilica, whose architectural style is reminiscent of the Roman and Byzantine styles.
The Museum of European and Mediterranean Civilizations lies on the west end of Vieux Port (Old Port) in Marseilles. It stands out as one of the most architecturally striking and unique attractions in this French port city, and its many exhibits offer historic and cultural artifacts galore. Step inside to learn more about Marseille and its role in the historical development of the Mediterranean region.