10 Things to do with your family in Marseille, France

What to do in Marseille

Marseille is the capital of Provence and the unofficial capital of France’s Cote d’Azur. As one of the largest cities in the country, Marseille is a modern metropolis with a multicultural history and traditions. The rich architectural heritage of the city and great recreational opportunities in other profiles make Marseille one of the most visited cities in France. There are plenty of things to do in Marseille, even on a short vacation.

Buy seafood at the market by the Old Port

Actually, the Old Port itself is a full-fledged sightseeing attraction in Marseille, one of the symbols not only of the city, but of the entire South of France. Not far from the centuries-old buildings, there is still a large market where locals and tourists buy different kinds of fish. Among the guests are popular delicacies and other gifts of the sea in the form of sea urchins and shells, which are retrieved from the bottom of the sea by local fishermen.

Find the Garden of Faro

The Jardin des Faraud, built at the palace of the same name by Napoleon III, is a beautiful example of a landscaped park at the end of the XIX century. Nowadays, the Jardin is a leisure area for children and adults with a large playground. Between the palace and the Garden is a big lawn where it’s allowed to have family picnics and nearby there’s an archaeological site where traces of the ancient Phoenician civilization were found.

Drive to Notre-Dame-de-la-Garde

Located on the highest hill in Marseille, Notre Dame de la Garde Basilica is considered one of the city’s most popular attractions, and local guides confidently declare that the shrine has no competition. The lower and upper churches of the basilica appeared in the city in 1876, and since then it has been considered the main house of prayer, despite the abundance of other temples in Marseille. The temple is considered the heavenly patron saint of Marseille sailors and fishermen.

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Taste authentic bouillabaisse

Marseille soup, bouillabaisse, is a dish that every tourist who arrives purposefully in the southern capital of France wants to try. It was originally made from the cheapest fish, which was not bought in the fishermen’s market stalls, so for a long time it was considered a poor man’s chowder. Now bouillabaisse is considered the calling card of many restaurants in Marseille, and the special recipes for cooking allowed you to raise the price for a plate of soup up to 200 euros.

Go to one of the nightclubs

Nightlife in Marseille is a crazy rhythms of dance clubs and other themed places, where it is better not to go alone. The fact is that modern clubs, where local youth likes to relax, have long been fancied by migrants from Africa and the Middle East, who not only spend time here, but also work. Most often tourists go to rappers’ performances, as well as to mass parties, gathering up to several thousand people in one hall.

Check out the santon museum

Marseille and Provençal santons are a folk craft known throughout Europe, on a par with the Russian Dymkovo toys. Santons are small clay figures of people. Originally they depicted saints and biblical characters, but since the XVIII century export value of clay figurines began to grow, and now in their bright figures can be guessed national musicians, famous people and other characters. In the museum you can buy one of the copies of the figures on display.

Drink Anise Vodka

Signature alcoholic drink of Provence – pastis, or simply, aniseed vodka – is an essential attribute of every Marseille bar and some cafes. It is not recommended to drink it on an empty stomach and without snacks – there are a lot of recipes for preparation of this vodka, and it differs significantly from Russian vodka. By the way, some Marseille bars work on a partial self-service system – here you can choose your own snacks with drinks.

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Swim to Chateau d’If

The legendary prison on the island of the Friulian archipelago, made famous by Alexandre Dumas’ The Count of Monte Cristo, was once the most mysterious and frightening place in all Europe. Murderers and other particularly dangerous criminals, as well as individuals undesirable to the French crown, were exiled here. Now it is almost the most popular sightseeing object in the city, and the chamber of Edmond Dantes has immortalized the memory of one of the most outstanding works of French literature.

Attend one of the music festivals

The festival life of Marseille is quite eventful. The November Bazaar attracts thousands of artists, musicians and performers from every genre to take part in the colorful program and just to be a spectator. “Music Diaspora” is considered one of the largest ethnic music festivals in the world. The only thing to remember is that tickets to some events are sold out two months in advance.

See the local regatta

Racing fast boats and modern yachts in Marseille is one of the national traditions. They are held at a strictly scheduled time and some of the races have the status of high professional level competitions. In addition, from mid-July to mid-August a number of other competitions in various disciplines of water sports take place in Marseille. Which also attracts a large number of spectators from all over Europe.

Go into the city’s central neighborhoods

A questionable way for some tour guides to spend time in Marseille will help tourists see the facets of the big city that the local authorities are trying to hide. It’s not safe to walk through some neighborhoods at night, but during the day you can see Arab streets, natives of Africa, and children playing soccer in the middle of the courtyards. In some neighborhoods there’s an open trade in hashish, so it’s not advised to go there.

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Buy souvenirs at one of the markets

One of the main souvenirs of Provence, lavender soap, is only a small part of the souvenir trade in Marseille. Here you often buy a variety of floral tinctures and liqueurs, which are poured before the eyes of buyers in bottles of different volumes. Also popular with tourists enjoy the products collected from sea shells.

What to do in Marseille

The old port, the Avenue du Canbières, pastis and petanque are the symbols of Marseille. Besides these, there are other great places to visit and things to do in Marseille.

Climb the hill with the cathedral of Notre Dame de la Garde

There are three ways. The first is to hike up, and you will be proud of yourself once you have climbed to the top. If you start from Canbier, this walk will take about 1.5 hours. The second is by bus. The third is by tourist train, which leaves from the tourist center.

Picnic on the Corniche and get to the port of Vallon des Auffes

Grab sandwiches and cold drinks and head for the Corniche Kennedy, a scenic walk loved by tourists and Marseilles residents alike. From here you have a wonderful view of the old port. Continue on to Valon des Aufs. It is a small fishing port that is sure to fascinate you.

Walk through the Sunshine Market, the Arab market of Marseille.

This market is located near Porte d’Aix in the middle of Avenue Camille Pelletan. There you can find oriental products at very reasonable prices. Jewelry, clothes, spices – you feel like you’re in North Africa.

Take a walk down cours Julien.

Located in the 6th district of Marseille it is one of the quietest streets of the city. It is completely closed to traffic. For this reason it is very pleasant to walk and to store. And there are many for every taste and purse. Fountains, playgrounds, terraces of cafes pleasantly decorate the street Ju.

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Go to a soccer match at the Velodrom

The Velodrome is Marseille’s Olympic stadium, often called the most passionate in France. Indeed, under the scorching southern sun on match days, the stadium buzzes with excitement. And you do not have to be a soccer fan, you can just go and enjoy the atmosphere in the stands.

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Spend an evening in the Fiesta Pub.

The bar is located in District 6. You can eat, drink and dance. The cuisine is no frills, but the cocktails will keep you coming back for more.

Dine at the Phar hoa Buddhist Pagoda.

Built in the 1990s, this pagoda is the only Buddhist place in Marseille. It is located in the northern part of the city, at the foot of Savin. This attraction is not very famous, but worth a visit.

Have an aperitif at Prophète beach in the Roucas blanc quarter

This is one of the most beautiful beaches in town and people come here with their families or friends to sunbathe, swim in the sea and have a picnic.

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Take a bouillabaisse cooking class

Lovers of this dish or those who are just curious can learn how to cook this Marseille-style soup. The main secret to a successful dish – the fish must be fresh and of different species. And the rest of the subtleties you will be taught in a class, which can be booked at the tourist office.

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Visit the Museum of European Civilization and the Mediterranean Sea

In 2013. Marseille was the European Capital of Culture. And this was the year that the museum was opened.

11. go on a boat trip

Between Marseille and Cassis (to the east) there are coves of unusual beauty along the coast. From the port of Marseille there are boat excursions to these places.

12. Drive along the coast on a tourist train

If not by sea, then by land – the beauties of the Mediterranean coast can be admired from the window of a special tourist train la Côte Bleue-Marseille . 32 km of blue Mediterranean coast and typical bays of the region, along ports and beaches. It’s beautiful! Tickets for the train you buy at the train station.

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