A Weekend In Marseille

A Perfect Getaway to Marseille, France

Marseille Seaside
A seaside stroll in Marseille

Writing about my Spain story reminded me of our wonderful weekend in Marseille, France. While our flight was canceled the first time we tried to go (resulting in Ale’s beach proposal), we were able to reschedule the trip for one month later.

Marseille makes a fantastic weekend getaway from Spain (or anywhere else in Europe!) and I would absolutely recommend it. What I loved most about Marseille was the fact that being a lesser known destination compared to other European cities, we didn’t feel pressured to see a million things. We didn’t have many expectations of Marseille, and that allowed us to have a wonderful weekend.

Marseille train station
Marseille's gorgeous train station

5 Essential Tips For Enjoying A Weekend In Marseille

1. Visit the Old Port

Marseille’s Old Port is gorgeous and especially lively in the morning, when fishermen have set up their stands and are selling their catch of the day to professional chefs and housewives alike. It is a great place to see the townspeople interact and, although smelly, is quite picturesque. If you’re staying in a hostel or apartment with a kitchen, be brave and take some fish home for lunch!

Marseille old port
The Old Port of Marseille

2. Check out the the Market at Noailles

This lively market known in French as either Le Marché de Noailles or Le Marché des Capucins, is located really close to the Old Port and is bursting with color and people. It follows a sort of organized chaos typical of many wonderful markets around the world. This section of town has a heavy North African influence and this market feels like you have  suddenly entered a souk in Tangier or Morocco. Here you can find just about any spice you are looking for (perfect for the fish you bought earlier!) and I encourage everyone to try a delicious mahjouba or M’ssaman, enormous square shaped crepes eaten plain or filled with cheese, honey, or sauteed vegetables.

Market Marseille
Spices and Arab Crepes

3. Hike up to the Notre Dame Basilica

Avoid the tourist route and hike up to the Notre Dame Basilica from the back. The hike is about a half an hour and slightly strenuous, but it is worth it for the amazing views of Marseille and the ocean. When you arrive to the top you are rewarded with a visit to one of the most beautiful Basilicas in the world and a stunning view from the highest point in Marseille.

view Notre Dame Marseille
The view from the hike up to Notre Dame

4. Eat a Menu of the Day

There are countless restaurants to choose from in Marseille, each ensuring visitors to offer the best and most authentic fixed price menu in the city. Do your research and venture away from the Old Port, as many of them are known tourist traps. But you can’t leave Marseille without trying a typical French Bistro. I highly recommend what I consider to be one of the best restaurants in Marseille for its price, L’Aromat. A delicious 3 course lunch with drinks will cost you about 25€ per person.

french food
Delicious lunch at L'Aromat

5. Have a Pastry (or two)

From sweet to savory, the pastries in Marseille are to die for! I made it a point to stop in any pastry shop that caught my eye, sampling freshly baked croissants, pain de raisin, brightly colored macarons, and creamy quiches. On my trip I prefered to take advantage of these delicious treats as opposed to dining out most days. Everything was outstanding and a lot easier on the wallet too!

pastry shop
Outside a wonderful pastry shop
Bakery display
Inside a Marseille pastry shop

I would encourage anyone looking for a weekend escape or another city to add to their travel route to consider visiting Marseille. It is a lively city with great food and seemingly lower prices than elsewhere in France. What more could you ask for?

marseille street art
The fun painted storefronts in Marseille

Have you been to Marseille? What did you think about it?

Comments

  1. Unfortunately the only time I was in the area, I drove through Marseille – only stopping to admire their huge port. I love the view from the Notre Dame Basilica!

  2. Oh now I’m hungry – thanks for that! I love wondering around towns just exploring, the nicest towns in Europe are the ones with “nothing to see” LOL

  3. Hi, I’m new to your blog. Love your writing, the style of the blog, and the beautiful pictures! I’ve been to Marseille twice myself, and I was not impressed. But now I really wish I’d read your post before I visited this city! Marseille to me was dirty and kind of sketchy- but you completely changed my mind! I’m actually considering giving it a 3rd chance…haha. Thanks for the post!

    PS: And yes, we did eat at a restaurant (biggest tourist trap ever!) near the Old Port!

  4. Thank you! I was recommended Marseille after our stop in Barcelona (this coming Sept), and the intent was to continue the journey eastwards to Nice and Naples. I was having a headache planning what to do on the trip – like how many days at Marseille and what to dol. The 5 essential tips are definitely helpful in planning a day or 2 at Marseille!

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