Marseille, a port city in southern France, has been a crossroads of immigration and trade since its founding by the Phoenicians in 600 B.C.E. It’s a place of tranquil squares and stepped streets, bustling 19th-century avenues and souk like markets. You will be pleasantly surprised by Marseille.
It is a long way from the ships docking port and you will need the shuttle bus from the cruise port. It will drop you off next to the Marina in Vieux Port (old port)
The old port has a lovely choice of restaurants, great choice of quality food and wine, fantastic place for people watching.
The Port Agent will organise shuttle bus to Marseille centre. There are also Taxis available at the Pier.The shuttle bus drops you in the old port area.
It is nice for a walk around the old port. The marina is surrounded by restaurants, get there before 13:00 and the fish market is amazing, or better still, have lunch in one of the restaurants and pay a fortune for a lunch of Bouillabaisse
The petit train is worth a ride up to the Basilique Notre Dame de la Garde building on the hill. This is really spectacular and well worth going there and is a must see for all travellers going to Marseilles. The Basilique has a 360 view of the whole of Marseilles. However, get a seat at the back of the petit train if you can, the fumes from the engine can be a bit overpowering in the front. There are 2 prices one for 45 mins ride €8pp and one for 1 hr 15 mins for €10pp (2017). It includes 2 stops for picture taking.
There is also an opened topped sightseeing bus for €10pp.
Fort Saint-Jean; Either get in from the bottom from the seafront or up the steps and over the bridge. Lots of nooks and crannies to explore but it helps to have some French to understand the signs (or, I’m told, the tours) and there’s lots of steps. Some good views and a decent cafe before you cross the bridge to MUCEM.
If you fancy a small boat trip the Château d’If on the island of If just outside the port is for The Count of Monti Cristo and the Man in the Iron Mask fans. Boats leave from Quay at Vieux Port and won’t break the bank.
If you are looking for somewhere to eat then a local restaurant near the fish market, Local Vin Rose de Provence is recommended.
By Peter Dagnall
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