Nice, Cannes, Monaco – all the snazzy French cities are well-known for weekend breaks, but Marseille is often overlooked as a vacation destination. Known as a bit rough and ready, we think this reputation is in need of an update. Sure, it’s gritty, but if you’re looking for a down-to-earth, hip and lively city with stunning views and a buzzing nightlife, this is your place.
Whether you’re fluent in French or don’t know your ‘bonjours’ from your ‘ooh la las’, you’re bound to have an incredible time if you follow this carefully selected to-do planner. Adding another unmissable French city to your ever-growing bucket list, BUCKiTDREAM reveals six reasons why you’re missing out on Marseille.
Get Inspired by Some Cool Street Art This town is as hip as it is hot, hot, hot in the summer. Wander around Cours Julien (the home of Marseille street art), which is getting a name for itself across the globe. You’ll also find some great stuff in the old town of Quartier du Panier, which features find bright, bold and garish painted walls by local artists. These works depict anything from a fisherman in Marseille harbor to a vibrant Caribbean scene.
Let Loose in Nearby Nature If you can get your hands on a car, it’s definitely worth a visit to Cassis, where you can kayak out into the sea under the supervision of a pro kayaker. He’ll take you out in a group to battle the waves, and you’ll get to see some pretty stunning coastlines. Just try not to fall in! You’ll be guided to a cool little ‘secret’ beach where you can rest your muscles for a short while, and then have a dip in the turquoise sea. Your arms are going to hurt later, but it’ll be worth it.
Instagram Tons of Sights You’ll be spoiled when it comes to selfies outside ancient buildings. Hike up the city’s summit and check out the 18th-century church, Basilique Notre-Dame de la Garde, Marseille’s famous landmark. Wander around the old town and take a break from the beating sun amongst the cool walls of Vielle Charité. You can’t miss the striped Cathedrale de la Major in the heart of the city, which overlooks the crystal blue sea.
Be Blown Away by Stunning Views The best views you’ll find are up at Basilique Notre-Dame, but if you don’t mind taking a hike in the hot heat, take a quick stroll up to lush green Jardin du Pharo. There you can catch a fantastic panoramic view of the Vieux Port and the old town. You can also catch a great eyeful of the nearby area on a boat tour. Feel the wind in your hair while checking out a ‘Marseille By Night’ boat trip to the Calanques (steep limestone formations along the coast, just down from the city). And because you won’t be able to get enough of those twinkling harbor views, make sure you check out some of the city’s epic rooftop bars.
Sit at One of Many Buzzing Rooftop Bars Known for its music scene and young crowd, Marseille is a great place to party. What better way to spend a warm evening than on a lively rooftop bar! We love R2, hidden away on the top of the Les Terrasses du Port shopping center. Come for top DJ acts and club nights. For a more chill vibe, head to the rooftop at Sofitel Marseille, where you’ll see amazing views of the old harbor, sea and city while drinking tasty cocktails. Or, come earlier for breakfast up high. This may cost you, but you can’t put a price on those sexy sights.
Save Precious Pennies Whereas the bourgeois seaside cities of Nice and Cannes come with a hefty price tag, down-to-earth Marseille comes with glorious sunny days – with a pleasant 52°F during spring and around 75°F at its peak. But eating and drinking out here isn’t as expensive as it is in France’s fancier cities. An Airbnb costs around $35 per night for a whole apartment by the sea. Along with all the exciting things to do above, it’s a real affordable bit of fun in the sun.
This should fill up your BUCKiTDREAM diary and ensure that your trip to Marseille is an unforgettable experience that you’ll want to repeat over and over again! Addicted to France and want more ideas nearby? If you’ve got some extra cash, how about these: 6 Beautifully Exotic Quick Cruises (one pit-stops in Marseille) or get back to nature while Standing in the Purple Fields of Provence.