First visit in Marseille, what you must see
Day 1 : Vieux-Port, MuCEM, Panier, Major, Notre Dame de la Garde
It’s your first time in the blue city? Discover the symbols of Marseille. First of all, the fish market. From 9am, head towards the Vieux-Port to meet the fishermen who sell “à la criée” the catch of the day.
The fish market is one of the last folkloric emblems of Marseille. Admire the sea, the boats, the famous “ombrière”(a piece of art created in 2013 by British architect Norman Foster, a kind of shade house) and Marseille light that is so special. It’s very amusing to take some pictures under the mirror of « l’ombrière ». No doubt you will come back with amazing pictures of the city.
After a walk on the Vieux-Port and the fish market, head towards Marseille most famous museum: the MuCEM. Doors open from 10am (in July and August, 11am the rest of the year) and it will only take you 15 to 20 minutes to reach the place by foot. Otherwise you can catch the 60 bus between « Métro Vieux-Port » stop and « MuCEM Saint-Jean » stop.
You will indeed need some energy! The MuCEM is big, and its gardens fantastic to explore. Visit the temporary or permanent exhibitions (and discover a piece of Berlin’s wall!), see Marseille scale models (the city today and in the Antiquity), stop at the amazing bookshop (30 000 books in French and other languages) and the boutique. Of course, you will pass over the gorgeous footbridges and discover the surrounding spaces, it’s free and they offer amongst the most beautiful panoramas of the city.
After your visit of the MuCEM, it’s probably time to eat. Good news, you’re just a stone’s throw from Marseille most picturesque quarter: le Panier. It’s the oldest quarter of the city, the true place of its Greek foundations.
For your lunch break, stop at one of the charming restaurants on the way. Our article here will tell you all about the best addresses.
After lunch, enjoy a walk in the little narrow streets and admire the colourful façades, a true Provençal village! Don’t be surprise to see so many graffitis on the streets walls, Le Panier is a spot adored by Marseille street artists.
In Le Panier, you’re a few minutes only an emblematic religious monument of Marseille: the Major cathedral. A very impressive building, it would be a shame to miss it. Marble, porphyry, mosaics… the inside is as surprising as the outside. The statues are also to be seen, like the one the Christ with Sainte-Véronique.
To end this beautiful day in Marseille, visit Notre-Dame de la Garde. Our “Bonne Mère” (Good Mother) is very dear to the Marseillais. The monument is exceptional, and the view is just breath-taking, with no doubt, the best panorama of the town: Marseille 360°.
It’s very easy to reach the spot from Le Panier. Just catch the 60 Bus (from the « Capitainerie », « Quai du Port » or « Hôtel de Ville » stops, according to where you ended your walk). The bus will take you directly at Notre Dame foot.movie The Space Between Us 2017 streaming
If you are not exhausted, prepare for a lovely evening in one of the nice restaurants around the Vieux-Port. We advise you to head towards rue Sainte (rather than stopping on the Vieux-Port itself), at the angle of rue Breteuil: la Part des Anges or Les Panisses restaurants will not disappoint you. Or you can try the new restaurants of Saint-Victor quarter, like the tapas bar of Le Comptoir Saint-Victor or the beautiful restaurant la Passarelle and its “Alimentation Générale”, un a unique tapas bar in Marseille. In the evening the atmosphere is also nice between the Vieux-Port and Cours d’Estienne d’Orves.
If you’re looking for lively areas in the city for a nice evening, see our tips at the article’s end.
Day 2 : Noailles, Cours Julien, la Plaine, Malmousque, Vallon des Auffes and Prado beaches
As you soon as you get up, head towards Marseille most famous market: Noailles. Fruits, vegetables, spices from all over the world, in Noailles, you feel in a different world! The place is also well known for 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, reach Cours Julien by foot in only 5 minutes. You just have to walk up rue d’Aubagne and pass a surprising bridge, which overlooks the noisy cours Lieutaud. This bridge was diagonally built by one of Gustave Eiffel students. Then takes the stairs on your left and reach Cours Julien… the artists quarter.
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.
There are many restaurants where you can have a delicious lunch for a reasonable price. Some restaurants use fresh products that they directly buy from the quarter’s market. The quarter is known for its tapas bar and world food cuisine, (Indian, Tunisian, Russian, Senegalese, Chinese, Italian, Spanish etc.). Discover the best addresses here!
After lunch, you can wander in the streets of Cours Julien and discover the many designers shops. Or why not visiting one of the most beautiful bookshops of Marseille? If you’re interested, head towards Cours d’Estienne d’Orves for Les Arcenaulx bookshop.
Later, we advise you to catch the 83 bus to go for a swim! Stop at Malmousque, and start a nice walk in this small picturesque port.
One would say this little cove is heaven on earth. Wandering in the narrow streets of Malmousque, you will definitely feel cut off from the rest of the world. Head towards the Foreign Legion building, walk along the street to reach the sea and admire a view of the Prado coast. Keep walking and discover “l’Anse de Maldormé” where the very famous restaurant « Le Petit Nice » is located. It’s a gastronomic restaurant ruled by chef Gérald Passédat.
Then walk up and reach the Corniche and take bus 83 again. Here you have two options. Stop at the “Vallon des Auffes” for drinks (well deserved!) and dinner facing sunset and the charming small fishermen port.
Or stop at « Place Amiral Muselier » to end your day with a walk along the sea on the Prado beaches. Take a sit on a terrace and order a glass of rosé or one of Marseille unusual flavoured ice creams. This area is well frequented by kitesurfers and windsurfers. Admire their exploits on the sea! Prado park is also home to Marseille famous bowl if you want to see it.
What to do for your evening in Marseille?
You’re staying two days in the city, you have time to enjoy at least one evening. Whether you’re into party or just want to have a “Marseillais evening”, there are many options.
Dancing. The Palais de la Major, the Mama Shelter or the Sport Beach are the places to go. There are well frequented and loved by the city’s youth.
In summer, don’t miss La Friche or Les Terrasses du Port rooftops (often too crowded!). These open-air spots are really pleasant after a hot day. Good music, food… you will have everything to enjoy your night.
If you plan a quieter evening, some bars in Marseille are famous for their delicious and beautiful cocktails, some existing only in our city!
Finally, if you’re looking for a warm and friendly atmosphere, head towards Cours Julien and La Plaine bars… These quarters are very lively and offer an authentic experience of Marseille by night.
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.