Bonjour, fellow travelers! Journeying Jack here, back with another exciting edition of Suitcase Stories. Today, we’re diving into the vibrant and historic city of Marseille, France. With its rich culture, stunning coastline, and mouth-watering cuisine, there’s no shortage of things to do Marseille. In this blog post, I’ll be sharing my top picks for the best things to do Marseille, so you can make the most of your visit to this Mediterranean gem.
From exploring ancient ruins to indulging in the local food scene, there are countless things to do Marseille that cater to every type of traveler. Whether you’re a history buff, a beach bum, or a foodie, you’ll find something to love in this bustling port city. So, without further ado, let’s dive into the must-see attractions and hidden gems that make up the ultimate list of things to do Marseille.
Exploring the Vibrant Vieux-Port
If you’re looking for things to do in Marseille, exploring the vibrant Vieux-Port should be at the top of your list. This historic port has been the heart of Marseille for over 2,600 years and is still a bustling hub of activity today.
Visit the Fish Market
One of the most popular things to do in Marseille is to visit the fish market at the Vieux-Port. Here, you can see the local fishermen selling their catch of the day, including fresh fish, shellfish, and other seafood. It’s a great place to experience the local culture and sample some of the freshest seafood in the city.
Take a Boat Tour
Another great way to explore the Vieux-Port is to take a boat tour. There are several companies that offer tours of the port and the surrounding area, giving you a unique perspective on Marseille’s history and culture. You can also take a sunset cruise to see the city in a different light.
Explore the Fort Saint-Nicolas
For history buffs, a visit to the Fort Saint-Nicolas is a must. This 17th-century fort was built to protect the city from invaders and is now open to the public for tours. From the top of the fort, you can enjoy panoramic views of the Vieux-Port and the surrounding area.
Visit the MuCEM
The MuCEM (Museum of European and Mediterranean Civilisations) is a modern museum located at the entrance of the Vieux-Port. It showcases the history and culture of the Mediterranean region and is a great place to learn more about Marseille’s past and present.
Exploring the vibrant Vieux-Port is just one of the many things to do in Marseille. Whether you’re interested in history, culture, or just want to enjoy some fresh seafood, this historic port has something for everyone.
Discovering Marseille’s Rich History
Marseille is a city with a rich history that dates back to ancient times. There are many things to do in Marseille that allow you to discover the city’s fascinating past. Here are some of the top historical attractions to visit:
The Vieux-Port, or Old Port, is the heart of Marseille and has been a bustling hub of activity for over 2,600 years. It’s a great place to start your exploration of the city and soak up the atmosphere. You can take a stroll along the waterfront, watch the fishermen bring in their catch, or enjoy a coffee or a glass of wine at one of the many cafes and restaurants.
2. Basilique Notre-Dame de la Garde
Perched on a hill overlooking the city, the Basilique Notre-Dame de la Garde is one of Marseille’s most iconic landmarks. The church was built in the 19th century and is dedicated to the Virgin Mary, who is said to have protected the city during a cholera epidemic in the 19th century. From the top of the hill, you can enjoy panoramic views of Marseille and the surrounding area.
3. Musée d’Histoire de Marseille
The Musée d’Histoire de Marseille is a must-visit for anyone interested in the city’s history. The museum is located in the Centre Bourse shopping center and showcases the history of Marseille from prehistoric times to the present day. You can see artifacts from ancient Greek and Roman times, learn about the city’s role in the French Revolution, and discover how Marseille has evolved over the centuries.
4. Fort Saint-Nicolas and Fort Saint-Jean
The Fort Saint-Nicolas and Fort Saint-Jean are two historic forts that guard the entrance to the Vieux-Port. They were built in the 17th century to protect the city from invaders and have played a key role in Marseille’s history. Today, they are open to visitors and offer stunning views of the harbor and the city.
These are just a few of the many historical attractions that Marseille has to offer. Whether you’re a history buff or just looking for things to do in Marseille, exploring the city’s rich past is a must-do.
A Taste of Marseille: Local Cuisine and Markets
Marseille is a city that is famous for its delicious cuisine and vibrant markets. If you’re looking for things to do in Marseille, exploring the local food scene should definitely be on your list. Here are some of the best places to experience the flavors of Marseille:
Visit the Markets
One of the best ways to experience the local cuisine is by visiting the markets. The Vieux-Port Market is a must-visit for foodies. Here, you’ll find a wide variety of fresh seafood, fruits, vegetables, and spices. The market is open every day except Monday, and it’s a great place to pick up ingredients for a picnic or a home-cooked meal.
Try the Local Specialties
Marseille is known for its bouillabaisse, a traditional fish stew that is made with a variety of fish and shellfish. You can find this dish at many restaurants in the city, but the best place to try it is at Chez Fonfon, a restaurant that has been serving bouillabaisse for over 60 years.
Another local specialty is the panisse, a chickpea fritter that is crispy on the outside and soft on the inside. You can find this dish at many street food vendors in the city.
Explore the Foodie Neighborhoods
Marseille has several neighborhoods that are known for their foodie scene. The Cours Julien neighborhood is a great place to explore if you’re looking for trendy cafes and restaurants. The Panier neighborhood is another great option, with its narrow streets and colorful buildings. Here, you’ll find a mix of traditional and modern cuisine.
In conclusion, exploring the local cuisine and markets is one of the best things to do in Marseille. From fresh seafood to traditional dishes, there’s something for everyone to enjoy. So, put on your walking shoes and get ready to taste the flavors of Marseille!
Unwinding in Calanques National Park
If you’re looking for a break from the hustle and bustle of Marseille, head to the Calanques National Park. This stunning park is located just a short drive from the city and offers a peaceful escape from the urban environment. Here are some of the things to do in Marseille that you can enjoy in the Calanques National Park:
The Calanques National Park is known for its beautiful hiking trails that offer breathtaking views of the Mediterranean Sea. There are trails for all levels of hikers, from easy walks to challenging treks. Some of the most popular trails include the Sentier des Douaniers, which offers stunning views of the coastline, and the Col de la Gardiole, which takes you to the highest point in the park.
Swimming and Snorkeling
The Calanques National Park is home to some of the most beautiful beaches in Marseille. The crystal-clear waters are perfect for swimming and snorkeling, and there are plenty of secluded coves where you can relax and unwind. Some of the best beaches in the park include Calanque de Sormiou, Calanque de Morgiou, and Calanque d’En-Vau.
For the more adventurous traveler, the Calanques National Park offers some of the best rock climbing in the region. The park is home to a variety of cliffs and rock formations that are perfect for climbers of all levels. Some of the most popular climbing spots include the Calanque de Morgiou and the Calanque d’En-Vau.
If you’re looking for a more relaxed activity, why not pack a picnic and enjoy the stunning scenery of the Calanques National Park? There are plenty of picnic areas throughout the park, and many of them offer stunning views of the Mediterranean Sea. Just be sure to pack plenty of water and sunscreen, as it can get quite hot in the park.
Overall, the Calanques National Park is a must-visit destination for anyone looking to unwind and enjoy the natural beauty of Marseille. With its stunning hiking trails, beautiful beaches, and world-class rock climbing, there’s something for everyone in this amazing park. So, add it to your list of things to do in Marseille and experience the beauty of the Calanques National Park for yourself!
Art and Culture: Museums and Galleries
Marseille is a city that is rich in art and culture. There are many museums and galleries that you can visit to learn more about the city’s history and art scene. Here are some of the top things to do in Marseille for art and culture enthusiasts:
Musée des Civilisations de l’Europe et de la Méditerranée (MuCEM)
The MuCEM is a museum that is dedicated to the history and culture of Europe and the Mediterranean. It is located on the waterfront and is one of the most popular museums in Marseille. The museum has a vast collection of artifacts, including paintings, sculptures, and photographs. It also has a library and a cinema.
Musée d’Art Contemporain (MAC)
The MAC is a museum that is dedicated to contemporary art. It is located in the heart of Marseille and has a vast collection of modern art. The museum has a permanent collection as well as temporary exhibitions. It is a must-visit for anyone interested in modern art.
The Musée Cantini is a museum that is dedicated to modern and contemporary art. It is located in a beautiful 18th-century mansion and has a vast collection of paintings, sculptures, and photographs. The museum also has a beautiful garden that is perfect for a stroll.
La Friche Belle de Mai
La Friche Belle de Mai is a cultural center that is located in a former tobacco factory. It is a hub for contemporary art, music, and theater. The center has many galleries, studios, and performance spaces. It is a great place to explore the city’s art scene and attend cultural events.
Musée Regards de Provence
The Musée Regards de Provence is a museum that is dedicated to the art and culture of Provence. It is located in a beautiful 19th-century building and has a vast collection of paintings, sculptures, and photographs. The museum also has a beautiful terrace that offers stunning views of the city.
These are just a few of the many museums and galleries that you can visit in Marseille. If you are looking for things to do in Marseille that are rich in art and culture, then these are definitely worth a visit.
Off the Beaten Path: Hidden Gems in Marseille
Marseille is a city that is full of surprises. While there are plenty of popular tourist attractions to visit, there are also many hidden gems that are waiting to be discovered. If you’re looking for something a little different to do in Marseille, here are some off the beaten path activities that you won’t want to miss.
Explore the Calanques
One of the most beautiful natural wonders in Marseille is the Calanques. These are a series of rocky inlets and cliffs that stretch along the Mediterranean coast. While they are a popular destination for hikers and rock climbers, they are still relatively unknown to many tourists. If you’re looking for a unique way to experience the beauty of Marseille, a hike through the Calanques is definitely worth considering.
Visit the Musée d’Histoire de Marseille
While many tourists flock to the famous museums in Marseille, such as the Musée des Beaux-Arts and the Musée d’Art Contemporain, the Musée d’Histoire de Marseille is often overlooked. This museum is dedicated to the history of Marseille, from its ancient Greek origins to the present day. It’s a fascinating look at the city’s past and a great way to learn more about the culture and traditions of Marseille.
Take a Boat Tour of the Frioul Islands
The Frioul Islands are a group of four islands located just off the coast of Marseille. While they are a popular destination for locals, they are often overlooked by tourists. One of the best ways to experience the beauty of the Frioul Islands is by taking a boat tour. You’ll get to see the islands from a unique perspective and learn more about their history and culture.
Wander Through the Le Panier Neighborhood
Le Panier is one of the oldest neighborhoods in Marseille and is full of narrow streets, colorful buildings, and hidden courtyards. While it’s not as well-known as other neighborhoods in Marseille, it’s definitely worth a visit. Take a stroll through the streets and discover the many hidden gems that are waiting to be found.
Attend a Concert at the Silo
The Silo is a concert venue that is located in the heart of Marseille. While it’s not as well-known as other venues in the city, it’s a great place to catch a concert or show. The venue is known for its excellent acoustics and has hosted many famous musicians over the years. If you’re looking for a unique night out in Marseille, attending a concert at the Silo is definitely worth considering.
These are just a few of the many off the beaten path activities that you can enjoy in Marseille. Whether you’re a first-time visitor or a seasoned traveler, there are always new things to discover in this vibrant and exciting city. So, if you’re looking for things to do in Marseille that are a little different, be sure to check out these hidden gems.
And so, dear fellow travelers, our journey through the vibrant and enchanting city of Marseille comes to an end. As we’ve explored the myriad of things to do Marseille has to offer, it’s clear that this city is a treasure trove of culture, history, and natural beauty. From the awe-inspiring Basilique Notre-Dame de la Garde to the bustling markets of Le Panier, there’s no shortage of things to do Marseille.
As Journeying Jack, I’ve had the pleasure of sharing my Suitcase Stories with you, and I hope that this guide to the best things to do Marseille has inspired you to embark on your own adventure in this captivating city. Whether you’re a history buff, a foodie, or simply someone who loves to explore new places, Marseille has something for everyone.
So, pack your bags, grab your camera, and get ready to create your own Suitcase Stories as you discover the many things to do Marseille. Bon voyage, my friends, and until our next adventure together, happy travels!