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Amazing Places to Visit on Your First Trip to Marseille


France is a diverse melting pot of ancient culture and history. Many consider that the grandeur of this European country is due to Paris and Eiffel Tower. But talking about Marseille which is the second-largest city in France and equally contributes towards growing the tourism of nation. Once you should plan your trip to Marseille to explore the beauty of this city.

Marseille is a beautiful port city settled on edge of the Mediterranean Sea. When you are on your trip to Marseille, you will find how scenic its natural harbour is which made it an influential trade centre in the past years. This bustling city has a magical backdrop and offers visitors an amalgam of old and modern eras.

Marseille Port Harbour France
Marseille Port Harbour France / Image Credit:

From its historic old town to its blended architectural styles you will witness a lot during your trip to Marseille.

Let’s check out amazing places to cover on your first trip to Marseille.

Cherish Sunset Views at Notre-Dame de la Garde

The Basilica of Notre-Dame de la Garde is one of the iconic landmarks to visit during your trip to Marseille. As soon as you enter the city centre, you will observe the royal Basilica which has been majestically perched atop Garde Hill since the 15th century. This grand church is constructed in Neo-Byzantine style overlooked by an impressive gilded Madonna. Also known as the la Bonne Mere de Marseille, tourists can get scenic views of the city and harbour from here.

Notre-Dame de la Garde, Marseille
Notre-Dame de la Garde / Image Credit:

You can catch the fantastic sunset view from the Basilica terrace which definitely makes your trip to Marseille worthy. Virgin Mary is also honoured in a shrine within the church with a massive statue. Many travellers flock to the basilica every year.

Also Read: Mont Saint Michel: A Must Visit Destination of France

Explore the Calanques at Your Trip of Marseille

If you are looking for some adventure during your trip to Marseille, then exploring Calanques National Park is the right destination for you. Nature lovers and adventure seekers should take some time off and visit the Calanques located near Cassis town. This national park contains Calanques which are beautiful white limestone cliffs. The spectacular panoramic views, beaches and turquoise water flowing between high cliffs worth a visit.

Calanques National Park
Calanques National Park / Image Credit:

You can enjoy cruising through the beach to witness the beauty of Calanques surrounded by water and forest. You must visit Samna, the Corniche des Cretes and Cap Canaille to have the best views. Samna is quite popular for scuba diving. Either hike or take kayaking and cycling tours for an eco-friendly visit to this national park.

Start Trip of Marseille With Historic Vieux Port

If you want to learn every historic detail of Marseille then you must start your trip from the Vieux Port which is also known as the old harbour. It describes how the growth of Marseilles took place in the past years. About 600 BC, this is where the city arose as a Greek port. The Old Port is situated near the Canebière boulevard and is surrounded by calm blue waters.

Vieux Port, Marseille
Vieux Port, Marseille / Image Credit:

The seashore lined up with boats and cruises is the major highlight and looks so mesmerising. Also from the couple’s point of view, it’s one of the best places to visit in Marseille for romancing. Various dining options are available near Vieux port offering delicious seafood.

Also Read: Things You Should Know Before Visiting Eiffel Tower: Famous Landmark of Paris

Take a Short Ferry Ride for Chateau d’If

Château d’If is an island fortress in the Mediterranean Sea offshore from Marseille near Old Port. Built in 1524 to protect Marseille from sea invaders. It is situated on the Ile d’If, a nature conservation area in the Frioul Islands archipelago.

Chateau d'If
Chateau d’If / Image Credit:

The journey there is a fun mini-adventure for the whole family. It’s a beautifully restored historic castle with stunning views of Marseille. The light from the Mediterranean sun produces a stunning effect, making this fortress appear to float on the shore.

Palais Longchamp – A Monument Depicting History

The Palais Longchamp was designed in 1869 and famous for its majestic fountain, water features and colonnades. The Palace is worth seeing on its own, but it also provides an opportunity to visit two of Marseille’s most important museums that is the Musée des Beaux-Arts and the Museum of Natural History.

Palais Longchamp
Palais Longchamp / Image Credit:

Palais Longchamp is a highly popular viewpoint and a great place for history buffs. You can relax at parks, gardens and enjoy stunning harbour views. You can capture a photo of striking architecture and artefacts dating to the Roman era.

Visit Cathedrale de la Major in Marseille

Cathedrale La Major is another iconic landmark which you will visit during your trip to Marseille. It is renowned as one of the largest catholic churches in France. Visitors really get mesmerised by viewing the beauty of this Catholic church. This striking Byzantine Romanesque style church date backs to the 19th century.

Cathedrale de la Major
Cathedrale de la Major / Image Credit:

With its high ceilings, fabulous mosaics and architectural beauty, it tempts many visitors. Another reason for its fame is that you can beautiful views of the city harbour. A plaza is known as “Les Voutes” sits at the foot of the cathedral and is a prominent meeting spot with shops, restaurants and cafes. Locals and visitors enjoy strolling here.

Wander Through the Streets of Le Panier in Marseille

During your trip to Marseille, you will behold many colourful streets which belongs to the old town of Le Panier. This thriving neighbourhood is perched on a hillside above the Vieux Port. It is known as the historic and cultural heart of Marseilles. This town was founded by the Greeks in 600 BC, but it was destroyed in World War II.

Le Panier Marseille
Le Panier Marseille / Image Credit:

Later the town was redeveloped but its colourful houses with cobbled streets remained intact which currently attracts many photographers and tourists. So gear up yourself and start exploring the streets of Le Panier. Local artisan boutiques, fine dining options, stores and art galleries can be found when strolling through this vibrant district.

MuCEM – Represent Modern Marseille

The Musée des Civilisations de l’Europe is abbreviated as MuCEM. It is located next to Fort Saint-Jean and opened in 2013. The museum’s ultra-modern structure demonstrates modern Marseille. This sprawling museum contains a plethora of discoveries and is housed in three distinct locations.

MuCEM - Marseille
MuCEM – Marseille / Image Credit:

Visitors can learn about the history and culture of Mediterranean civilisation through the museum’s exhibits, as well as seminars and film screenings. The museum’s newest addition is a gleaming ultra-modern structure in a lovely seaside setting. So, visit MuCEM to get to understand the core of Marseille.

Visit Fort Saint-Jean

Fort Saint-Jean is a 12th-century fortress that played an important part in the wars. During World War II, an explosives depot exploded, destroying most of the fort. Now this fort was rebuilt 30 years later and is now part of the MuCEM.

Fort Saint-Jean
Fort Saint-Jean / Image Credit:

It features lush Mediterranean gardens and a ramparts route with panoramic views of the coastline.

Finish Trip of Marseille by Relaxing at Prado Beach

Plages du Prado is a series of golden-sand beaches that line the Mediterranean shores of Marseille. Crystal-clear turquoise water meeting vast blue skies and endless stretches of soft sand with rolling hills fascinates many travellers. After touring Marseille relax on Pardo beach.

Pardo Beach Marseille
Pardo Beach Marseille / Image Credit:

There is also man-built coastal infrastructure made from waste which is highlighted here. Beachgoers must visit for sunbath and relaxation and create snap streaks and click shots for your social media feed.

Bottom Line

There are plenty of things to do in this beautiful ancient city and numerous attractions to visit. Seaside view with perfect dining options, hiking adventure, water fun, art exhibitions and much more this city of Marseille offers its visitors. So you must consider this trip to Marseille in your next bucket list.

Also Read: 10 Most Beautiful Places To Visit In Paris

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