Marseille is the second largest French city on the Mediterranean and capital of Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur region. Unfortunately doesn’t have the best reputation, due to high crime rates and immigration.
From my travels around France, ALL the people I meet said to be very careful in Marseille or even not to go there.
I can’t say that Marseille is very safe, I could have been lucky because fortunately, I didn’t have any problems at all as a solo female traveller.
Its great to explore the city on foot, but I also recommend you to buy a bus card because the city is quite big.
Vieux-Port (Old Port)
The Old Port is located in the heart of the city and is a very popular place. The bay is packed with boats and yacht surrounded by cafes, restaurants, bars and hotels.
It is quite busy but still picturesque, with a mish-mash of styles and influences.
Notre-Dame de La Garde “La Bonne Mère”
The Notre-Dame de La Garde sits on the highest point in the city. The best part is to walk up the hill and the 360 panoramic views.
The basilica is ornamented with coloured marble, byzantine-style mosaics, and murals.
Chateau D’If Frioul
Is an incredible landmark because of The Count of Monte Cristo from Alexander Dumas. If the weather is good, you can go by boat to the island, from the Vieux Port (old port).
The fort is nice but to be honest not much to see, although the views are great.
La Major, Marseille Cathedral
It is a beautiful and at the same time unusual roman catholic cathedral built in the nineteenth century in Romano-Byzantine style.
The Cathedral of Marseille stands on the western edge of the old town above the Quai de la Joliette.
MUCEM Museum (Museum of Civilization in Europe and the Mediterranean)
The MUCEM, is an iconic museum mostly because of the structure of the building. It’s really a magnificent place and a fantastic playground if you like photography! I strongly recommend a visit even if is just to contemplate the remarkable building.
You can access, to both the courtyard of J4 and the ramparts of the fort, for free. To visit the permanent and temporary exhibitions is 9,50€.
The Virile Charité, located in the heart of Marseille’s Le Panier quarter was built as an almshouse, although the beauty of the building doesn’t really give that impression with its neoclassical central chapel and elegant arcaded courtyard.
Today is home to a number of cultural institutions and museums.
The Fort Saint-Jean, is for me one of the best places in Marseille. The fort lies at the northern mouth of Vieux Port and was recently restored.
Its perfect for scenic strolls through its gardens, and to enjoy the views of the Mediterranean coastline.
If you go to the top of the gardens near the footbridge to MuCEM, you can see Marseille’s Cathedral, and admired the amazing views of Marseille and of the Mediterranean.
Natural History Museum of Marseille
The museum is inside the astonishing Palais Longchamp, which is worth a visit just to contemplate the architecture and the gardens. Not really worth to visit inside.
Les Docks Village
If you are into shopping Les Docks are a mid-19th century complex of shipping warehouses, that has been redeveloped and now includes shops, boutiques, galleries, cafes and restaurants.
The buildings are connected by creative courtyards. This alone can be good a reason to visit.
The quartier of Cour Julien walls are extravagantly painted for everyone to decipher and enjoy. A wonderful area with loads of quirky stores, cafes, restaurants nice bars, and colourful street art and graffiti covering most of the facades. Make sure you have the time to explore it!
A great place to buy fresh fruit and vegetables.
For some reason, Marseille also has a copy of the famous David from Michelangelo, placed in the middle of a roundabout near the Prado beaches.
photography – all rights reserved – Ana Rocha
Have you ever been to Marseille? What other places would you include here?