ESCAPE TO MARSEILLE, IN THE HEART OF THE CITÉ PHOCÉENNE
Today, we are offering you a little getaway to our beloved neighboring city of Marseille. Take a break after your French lessons and explore the city of Marseille. With its seaside, its cultural addresses and its bright sunshine, Marseille is a trip you won’t ever forget !
You are probably wondering why it is called the Phocaean city? In fact, it is because the port of Marseille was created around the year -600 BC by Greek sailors from the city of Phocée who were fleeing the Persian invasions of the time. The name of Marseille was given by the Romans centuries after. Nevertheless in the minds of the people of the south, the nickname given by the sailors remains anchored in the memories.
What to do in Marseille?
This pretty town in the south of France is full of wonders that are well worth discovering. Here’s a brief overview of our favourite sights:
Discover the ‘Mucem’, the ‘Fort Saint-Jean’ and the ‘Vieux-Port’
The Mucem – Museum of European and Mediterranean Civilizations – was built on the exceptional site of Fort Saint-Jean. Because of its construction and its facades made of laces of concrete, the museum is a real architectural feat. In addition, the building’s perfect alignment with Fort Saint-Jean creates a truly unique view. In addition to the exhibitions, you can walk freely in the outdoor spaces and gardens of the Mucem or have a drink on the terrace which offers a magnificent view over the Medditeranean.
Discover the artists’ district of La Plaine and Cours Julien
We continue the stroll to the temple of street art, in this atypical district where street art is everywhere on the walls. Here at “Cours Ju” – as the people of Marseille say – reigns an authentic and local vibe. Here you will find many bars and gourmet addresses, thrift stores, second-hand shops, independent bookstores, artisan bakeries, musicians and creators of all kinds.
Wander through the oldest district of Marseille, the Panier
After this first visit, we recommend a walk in the charming narrow streets of this district with facades adorned with tags and graffiti. This popular and typical district of Marseille, where conviviality reigns supreme, testifies to the ancient history of the city. For example, visitors can visit the Hôtel Dieu, the Eglise des Accoules, the Cabre pavilion, the Diamond House or the Daviel pavilion, a former courthouse. Here in the old town of Marseille, you will also find many local products stores and small designer boutiques.
Go up to the Basilica of Notre-Dame de la Garde
You can’t miss it. Wherever you are in the city, you see it: the « Basilique Notre-Dame »! This Romano-Byzantine style basilica – also called the “Bonne-Mère” – has become the true emblem of the city. From the top of its hill, it offers a 360 ° panorama of the city and the surrounding mountains. In our opinion, the best time to take in the view is at the end of the day, around sunset, when the light is truly magnificent!
Le Mucem: musée des civilications de l’Europe et de la Méditerranée
La Basilique Notre-Dame, appelée Bonne-Mère
Take the boat and discover the islands of Frioul
The Frioul Islands form an archipelago of four islands among which three can be visited: Pomègues, Ratonneau and If. Besides the turquoise waters, what makes the charm of these islands is the wild and authentic side. You will be able to walk for long hours on the stony paths, visit the port of Pomègues and its aquaculture farm or the castle of If made famous by the story of the Count of Monte-Christo by Alexandre Dumas. For all information concerning access to the Frioul Islands, consult the maritime services website.
Take a hike in the calanques of Marseille and swim in the turquoise waters
It’s impossible to talk about Marseille without mentioning its famous creeks. With its sumptuous landscapes, unspoiled nature and wild flora, the Calanques National Park is sure to captivate you. We love to walk, so we recommend that you go hiking there, but it is also possible to discover the creeks by boat thanks to the many organized tours. The paths are sometimes rocky and steep, so it is essential to be well equipped (walking shoes, water, and sunscreen in summer).
Marseille gastronomy is loved by all. And for good reason, it is made up of only good things: olive oil, tomatoes, Provence herbs, garlic, fish and vegetables. These are found in many culinary specialties such as the essential bouillabaisse or the famous aioli. For dessert, sample the famous « navette », these delicious cookies with orange blossom. All accompanied, of course, by a refreshing pastis.
How to get there from Aix-en-Provence?
To get to Marseille from Aix-en-Provence, you have two options. You can choose to get there by bus or train, but the bus being the fastest and cheapest option, we naturally recommend this one. Transport is from Aix-en-Provence bus station which is a 2-minute walk from the main square in the city center. The bus drops you off at Marseille Saint-Charles bus station.