Arriving in Marseille for the second time, I realised quickly that this amazing city has been evolving into a hip and trendy place to go. Marseille is gentrifying, yet it still holds on tight to its magical multicultural essence and its historical port city past. Fishers still bring in their fresh catches of the day, while artists cover the streets in art. What has emerged is the perfect destination for a vacation on the shores of the Mediterranean Sea.
Not your usual tourist destination.
Unlike many other places in France, Marseille isn’t a place where you’ll find tourists running from historical place to historical place, either for that perfect Instagram pic or the rush to fit in the must see things to see. Perhaps because of it’s past reputation, the Marseille experience is truly different. What you’ll find is a place to sit in the sun, soak up history, enjoy a relaxing afternoon stroll or the tastes of food from all over the world. Marseille is distinctly French and yet it isn’t. If you go for the typical tourist things you’ll be sadly disappointed. Of course there’s the tourist train to take you up to Notre Dame de la Garde (which is a good to see) and the normal hop on hop off tour bus, but the highlights of Marseille are found on a walk, a boat ride or a journey on public transport.
My favourite areas to stay in Marseille
If you love to be in the centre of all the action, Marseille’s Vieux Port and the Canebière are the perfect areas to experience the “Belly of Marseille”. Hotels, restaurants and cafes line the port and there’s plenty of nightlife if that’s your thing. There’s plenty of shops to buy clothes and Marseille’s famous soaps, but you’ll pay more for your meals if you decide to sit in a cafe in the sun here. Of course there is the opportunity for plenty of people watching. It’s from Vieux Port you can take a trip out to the Chateau D’If of Count of Monte Christo fame.
This visit I stayed in Le Panier. It’s quant, quieter and there’s lots of lovely inexpensive cafes to sit and enjoy a meal surrounded by friendly locals and people from all over the world. People live and work in Le Panier so it’s definitely not the place to stay if you’re looking for a night out, but still it’s close enough to Vieux Port to have a night on the town.
Le Panier’s streets area lined with historical buildings and wonderful street art paints the picture of place. You’ll find little shops stocking unique arts and crafts in Le Panier. It’s quite wonderful and has a real French feel.
Street Art in Marseille
Finding and admiring street art is one of my favourite things to do in any destination. Marseille’s street art reflects its difference and cultural diversity.
If you’re looking for a great place to vacation in France, why not check out Marseille for yourself?