Marseille Mini Guide
Marseille is France’s third largest city and is known as its melting pot due to the ethnic diversity of the place. North Africans, Spanish
all have made their way to this harbour in the south of France which sits on the Mediterranean Sea. This location means that Marseille is very accessible, and you can go there by car, boat, plane or train. Marseille International Airport is half an hour’s drive away, and there are TGV lines to Paris
Marseille is very well connected to most French cities through numerous highways which are well maintained even if you do have to pay for the privilege by using tolls. Marseille is around eight hours from Paris by car, four hours from Toulouse
, three hours from Lyon
, two hours from Nice, and one and a half hours from Montpellier
Although you should avoid driving through the twisty one way streets of the town’s centre as it is easy to get lost, hiring a car is still a good idea. Taxi drivers can be underhand when it comes to charging you and the next thing you know you are paying 40 Euros for short ride.
If you are driving one thing to be careful of is relying on a GPS system. Much of the transportation of Marseille has been recently overhauled meaning that what you thought was a good route may now have a tram line running across it! One of the main pick up points for vehicles in Marseille is car hire Marseille airport or Marseille Marignane Airport (MRS).
It is given the name Marseille Provence Airport too as it is in the Provence-Alpes- Côte d'Azur region. One of the sights worth seeing besides the magnificent harbour is Notre Dame de la Garde, a church where the fishermen used to get their boats blessed.
Don’t miss the trendy areas of Marseille such as le Cours Julien which is a good place to hang out as it has book shops, cafes and a playground for children. If you are looking for a bargain or perhaps a souvenir the Plaine market is the place to shop. Open Thursday and Saturday mornings you have to turn up early to get the bargains and much of it is ‘off the back of a lorry’ fare.
If you need somewhere cheap to stay in Marseille try La Cigale et la Fourmi, a backpacker’s hostel in a good location. Every room has a kitchen and a bathroom and there is internet access and free coffee in the morning. The Marseille delicacy which must be tried during your stay is bouillabaisse, a flavoursome fish-based soup served with la rouille (a garlic-saffron sauce) and bread similar to crostini.
Marseille or Marseilles has just under one million residents and is France’s second city after Paris. Because Marseille is located on the Mediterranean Sea this is an ideal location for relaxing seaside holidays in the south east of France.
Tourists can see many interesting geological and manmade features including some small fjords and an attractive Corniche. There is a romantic feel to the city and the Count of Monte Cristo was set there in the Chateau d’lf. Marseille is also a major destination for business travellers in France as it has the largest commercial port in the country.