Obviously, it’s a real shame to have only one day to visit Marseille – so many treasures to discover! But if you cannot stay longer, well, follow our guide! First time in our city? Or you already know a few spots and want to discover more? We present you classic or off the beaten track tours, walks in the countryside…
See our different itineraries
Marseille off the beaten tracks: discover the city’s true identity
If you already know Marseille and its emblematic monuments, it’s time to discover the true Marseille, a tour that takes you far from the tourist crowds. From 9am, head towards the Vieux-Port to discover the fishmarket and meet the fishermen who sell “à la criée” the catch of the day.
If it’s still a touristic spot, it is a event full of authenticity and one of the symbols of our city. The fishermen represent an important part of Marseille identity, they were here from the beginning and know the city like no one else.
Then you can head towards Noailles quarter, « Le ventre de Marseille »(“Marseille’s belly”), just walking up the Canebière. Noailles is well known for its everyday market and its many small shops. Most of them look like Moroccan souks, full of spices and colours. And some are very old like the herbalist’s shop called “Le Père Blaise”, rue Méolan, open since 1815, or the DIY shop “Empereur” open since 1827 on rue d’Aubagne. Noailles is definitely the place for bargains and nice souvenirs.
For your lunch break, head towards “La Friche la Belle de Mai”, called « La Friche » by the Marseillais. From Noailles, walk up to Réformés place (at the Canebière’s top, 5 minutes) and catch the 49 bus to stop at « Belle de Mai la Friche ».
The Manufacture des Tabacs or tobacco factory of la Belle-de-Mai quarter worked between 1868 and 1990. La Friche la Belle de Mai, le Pôle Média and the Archives Municipales house (city’s archives) are now located in the factory old buildings. Today La Friche is one of the city cultural hotspots with performance and exhibition rooms and more than sixty culture and art companies.
Since its creation the place is becoming very trendy with a programming that speaks to many different audiences. You can have your lunch in the café/bookshop /librairie or in the restaurant. There is a different menu everyday since all products are fresh and seasonal. Outside, a great children playground and a skate park are the favourite spots of the quarter’s youth. Check also the current exhibition at La Friche and have a look.
Later, come back in the city’s centre and reach Cours Julien for an arty afternoon. La Plaine and Cours Julien are Marseille artists quarters. Indeed most of them live there and some paint the walls with colourful graffitis. Night and day, it’s a lively area: probably Marseille most lively quarter.
To reach Cours Julien from La Friche, take the 49 bus again towards the Réformés and stop at « Voltaire Saint-Charles ». Then reach Gare Saint-Charles to take the tube (line 2 towards Dromel), stop at « Notre-Dame du Mont ».
You’re in the heart of Cours Julien! Wander in the little streets of this street arts quarter. You will discover many small designers shops. “Le Cours Ju”, as we call it in Marseille, will amaze you!
To end your day, there is nothing more pleasant then watching sunset. Head towards the Prado beaches, take a sit on a terrace and order a glass of rosé. This area of Marseille is well frequented by kitesurfers and windsurfers. Admire their exploits on the sea!
Prado park is also home to Marseille famous bowl. Built at the beginning of the 90’s, the skate park is known everywhere in the world and welcomes skateboard international championships, and appears in all board sports videogames.
From Cours Julien, go back to the tube station « Notre-Dame du Mont » and take line 2 again towards « Sainte-Marguerite Dromel ». Stop at « Rond-Point du Prado ». From there you can catstop atch the 19 bus and stop at « Plage Planches à Voile » or « Les Gâtons Plage » to reach the bowl.
Marseille transports tips
If you’re using public transports, think about the XL 24h pass (5,20€). This pass allows you to do as many trips as you want in one day in Marseille (using the RTM network – bus, tube, tram, ferry boat). You can buy it at the tube and Tram stations (tickets machines), at the train station (Gare Saint Charles) or from the shops selling RTM tickets or the customer service in the mall called “Centre Bourse”(just opposite to the Vieux-Port).
You can hire a bike with the city bikes service in one of the many docking stations dispatched everywhere in the city’s centre. The first half an hour is free with the Transpass RTM card; then it’s 1€ an hour.