Marseille is a rough-edged seaside city that exudes refinement and elegance.
Marseille, a historic city, is well-positioned to recreate the splendour of the nineteenth century when the city flourished in trade.
Nobody should be surprised that Marseille offers a lot of attractions to visit as it is a sizable French City, second only to Paris in terms of population, thus opening a plethora of Exciting Things to Do in Marseille.
Exciting Things To Do In Marseille
Below mentioned are some exciting and amazing things you can do in your visit to Marseille.
1. Go On A Boat Ride To Château d’If
The 20-minute boat ride between Marseille and Château d’If covers a distance of around 5 kilometres.
Former French naval garrison and jail, the Chateau d’If is located not far from Marseille.
The only stronghold, which was built in the sixteenth century on an uninhabited island, was created to ensure Marseille’s security making it one of the astonishing Things to Do in Marseille.
In The Count of Monte Cristo, Alexandre Dumas immortalised this renowned stronghold, which is located on a rocky island off the coast of Marseille, as the jail where the book’s protagonist, Edmond Dantes, was held until eventually escaped.
The castle was erected in 1524, and since opponents of the king’s authority were imprisoned and killed there over the years, it developed a dreadful reputation.
The wonderfully maintained Castle is one of the most remarkable ancient structures along the Mediterranean coast and one of the Best Things to Do in Marseille.
Although the island is tiny, it offers wonderful vistas, in addition to the apparent pleasant views the boat provides as it enters and exits Marseille’s historic harbour.
2. Musée d’Histoire De Marseille
In 1983, the History Museum of Marseille was established offering an inside to the great age of France’s oldest city.
It offers rare and unpublished collections that trace the city’s 26th-century history via various utensils, works of fine art, and archaeological artefacts and is one of the most fantastic Things to Do in Marseille.
This complex spans a vast amount of time, making it France’s largest urban history museum.
The Museum of History of Marseille, which is located nearby the Old Port where Marseille was established by the Phocaeans, holds the site of the ancient Port on over 3500 square metres in addition to a permanent display, a temporary exhibition space, a documentation centre, and an auditorium.
Going back in time at the museum is a crucial part of the Marseille experience.
The museum was constructed in 1888 to be the world’s most comprehensive museum of municipal history. The greatest fleet of historic ships is available for viewing.
The history museum was extensively refurbished in 2013, Marseille’s year as the European Capital of Culture, after being closed for many years.
One of the most significant museums of urban history in France and maybe the whole globe is this one.
The museum shows artefacts including a Roman ship from the second century in the outdoor park known as the Jardin des Vestiges, which was created in the 1950s to showcase the archaeological discoveries that were unintentionally discovered during an urban redevelopment project.
3. Old Port
The Canebière, Marseille’s main thoroughfare, comes to an end at the Old Port.
Since ancient times, it has served as the city’s natural harbour and is now the most visited location in Marseille.
The enormous, rectangular port of Marseille has been operating for over two thousand years and is a symbol of the whole area.
The quays contain a sizable entrance and several 18th-century warehouse structures. The majority of them are pubs, seafood restaurants, or cafés with outside seating where patrons may see daily life in this attractive city.
The harbour is a terrific area to unwind, observe people, and take beautiful pictures. Indeed, it is one of the amazing Things to Do in Marseille.
Boat rides are offered there, and there are several taverns and eateries all around the area.
It is an amazing location to visit, particularly on a bright day. With a wide variety of pubs and restaurants along the coastline all around, the marina is quite crowded.
Spend some time wandering down a few streets away from the lake, where you’ll find some great cafés and restaurants in leafy plazas.
There are several taverns on the other side of the harbour, including two Irish pubs and an English pub and a short distance from the harbour is a shopping mall.
4. Wander The Streets Of La Panier
Panier, only a few kilometres north of Vieux Port is one of Marseille’s oldest districts that has a historical history dating around 600 BC.
“Le Panier” literally translates to “basket” in French.
Initially, the town was called The “Massalia” Greek Colony. There were several immigrants here and that neighbourhood made Marseille the lively, vibrant neighbourhood it is today.
The streets feature a variety of artisan shops, independent fashion and trendy family-run cafés.
You will enjoy wandering through a wide range of sweeping avenues, sunny squares and obscure stairways and is possibly one of the most interesting Things to Do in Marseille.
Le Panier, the oldest district in Marseille, is distinguished by its paved streets, shuttered windows, and pastel-coloured houses.
The affluent first constructed their residences here, but by the 17th century, they had generally relocated in pursuit of greater room.
This city has ochre walls, stone stairways, and vast avenues of streets that open out to sunny areas.
The finest thing to do in Marseille is to stroll the narrow streets, pausing to admire the flowers in Vieux Port and the modern La Jolette Neighbourhood.
Every street corner in Panier is a mini-museum in and of itself. While some murals beckon you to reflect, others will leave you in awe.
The colourful, character-filled tiny alleyways of Marseille’s old town are made even more stunning by the city’s cultural attractions.
The ideal strategy is to simply wander the quiet, peaceful, and lovely streets until you become lost.
5. Be Amazed By Cité Radieuse
Cité Radieuse may be unlike any neighbourhood you have never heard of.
It was constructed between 1949 and 1951 by Le Corbusier and aims the transformation of a typical neighbourhood into a solid, 18-storeyed concrete building.
In Marseille, Cité Radieuse is among the top tourist attractions.
Le Corbusier had the concept to build a real hamlet. The Le Corbusier-designed duplex flats are cosy since they are made of oak wood.
It is an actual architectural idea that plays with lighting and other things in awe-inspiring ways.
This vertical garden city is made up of several separate residences that have been created as a unit. It was made utilising a revolutionary housing technique.
If you don’t know what you’re looking at, this property would seem to be just another one of a million apartment complexes, but it has an incredible history.
Le Corbusier was among the most significant architects in history, and this building reflects that.
Great shops, a café, a restaurant, and a rooftop patio with stunning views can all be found within.
When travelling with the Metropolitan Office of Tourism and Conventions, you absolutely must see the Cité Radieuse, which is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Whether you like it or not, Le Cité Radieuse is one of the most notable post-World War II architectural accomplishments in the West, and it is one of the Top Things to Do in Marseille.
6. Basilique Notre-Dame
It was built in the 1890s as a Byzantine Church for observation.
The Basilica of Notre Dame de la Garde, perched atop a hill, watches over and protects the inhabitants of Marseille.
It has long served as a religious sanctuary and a watch tower, and the lower part of the Renaissance fort also included a chapel. It is one of the city’s must-see locations.
Beginning in 1853, construction on the basilica continued until 1897. A previous chapel from the first half of the thirteenth century stood where Notre Dame de la Garde now stands.
Marseille residents may recognise the Basilica’s recognisable form from many different parts of the city.
Although getting there is quite a task. As you go there, you may immediately begin to take some fantastic pictures, even from a distance.
It is a beautiful church that is located high above Marseille and is visible from every part of the city.
Beautiful passageways, little vantage points for fantastic shots, balconies, and a crypt are all there.
It is undoubtedly one of the most pleasant Things to Do in Marseille.
7. Boulevard Longchamp
Enjoy a stroll along Boulevard Longchamp while you are in Marseille.
Henri-Jacques Espérandieu created it in 1869 to commemorate the city’s first water supply.
This street, regarded as a significant city stroll, leads you past magnificent Victorian mansions and their breathtaking gardens.
It’s also worthwhile to see the Palais. The most stunning walking paths lead you through the lovely Boulevard Longchamp, which has elegant houses from the 18th century and a towering double row of trees thus making it one of the most beautiful things to do in Marseille.
The Palais and its surrounding attractions are a homage to the construction of the Marseilles Canal, which links the River Durance to municipal sewage, and are located in the centre of Longchamp and its environs.
The intricate gardens of the Royal Palace from the 18th and 17th centuries are breathtaking.
The Musée des Beaux-Arts, Marseille’s oldest museum, is housed in the majestic palace.
The observatory is a part of the CNRS research institution and the Ministry of National Education.
In addition to doing research, the observatory welcomes visitors from all walks of life including school groups, and it often suggests astronomy-related teaching programmes, which makes it one of the nicest things to do in Marseille.
Along with Palais Longchamp, Parc Longchamp was first made public in 1869.
The Natural History Museum and Fine Arts Museum of Marseille are located within the grand baroque colonnade and landscaped grounds of the Palais Longchamp and this makes it one of the Top Things to Do in Marseille.
8. Parc National Des Calanques (Calanques National Park)
Calanques National Park is a gorgeous seaside location located on the western end of the French Riviera between Marseille and Cassis.
The Park contains over 900 different plant species, including flora that survived the ice age, making it one of the best things to do in Marseille.
Black limestone mountains in Calanques are flanked by high cliffs and streams that rise to incredible elevations before abruptly descending to the ocean.
This unique location in Europe is made possible by the vast natural Park’s more than 8,500 hectares of land and 43,500 hectares of water area.
The park is notable for its Calanques, which are 12 miles of meandering limestone bays and cliffs along the Mediterranean Coast.
From the several grains of sand and tiny pebble beaches in the park, visitors may go swimming and snorkelling.
Boating, sea kayaking, paddle boarding, diving, and other water sports are available at the park, making it one of the Best Things to Do in Marseille.
The stone from the mountains has a light grey tint that nearly seems white and amazes with its contrast to the sea’s turquoise colour on bright days.
More than 100 protected species may be found in the Calanques since it is a region with a high variety of flora and wildlife. This park is gorgeous!
The ideal approach is to board a boat and see everything from the sea. Take a whole half day if you can, although a decent journey may be completed in 90 minutes.
Numerous paths, ranging in complexity from moderate to demanding, intersect the area, thus making it one of the Top Things to Do in Marseille.
9. Explore The Vieux Port
The harbour is a terrific area to unwind, observe people, and take beautiful pictures.
It is the key event in Marseille’s history since it was here that the ancient Greek colony Massalia, which subsequently evolved into the Roman Massilia, was established.
The Old Port was renovated in 2013. Boat rides are available, and there are several restaurants and cafés around the region.
Going to Vieux-Port in Marseille’s old town and breathing in the sea air is a delightful thing to do while there, and it is without a doubt one of the nicest Things to Do in Marseille.
Spend some time going down a few streets away from the lake to uncover some wonderful cafés and diners in peaceful plazas, making it one of the most pleasant Things to Do in Marseille.
One of the magnificent Mediterranean ports is Marseille’s Vieux Port, but over time, the World Heritage-listed location has been walled off from city activity and rendered inaccessible to pedestrians.
10. Visit Marseille Cathedral (Cathédrale Sainte-Marie-Majeure)
It’s important to see this cathedral since it’s one of the biggest ones around. It has a stunning front entry and several domes in the back, which give it a fantastic exterior appearance.
The enormous, flat terrace, which once fronted a pretty busy street, now overlooks the bay, the sea, and the ferry port, making it one of the top things to do in Marseille.
It’s a gigantic cathedral! You may stroll around behind the main altar since there are several smaller altars there.
The Cathedral is situated on the outskirts of Le Panier and offers views of the ocean’s crashing waves. The church, which has been present since the 12th century, was constructed in a Byzantine-Roman Renaissance style.
This cathedral was built between the 1850s and 1896 and is still in use today.
Elements from the cathedrals of “Lucques” and “Sienne” are used to embellish the domes and railings.
The significance of the mosaic cycles is primarily responsible for the decoration’s originality.
Every day, people are drawn to it, either to visit or just to relax on the stunning sea view plaza that surrounds it.
The Cathedral is based on a network of vaults that formerly held stores from the 19th century, certainly, making it one of the greatest Things to Do in Marseille.
11. Visit Fort Saint-Jean
The earliest fort constructed by Louis XIV, The Sun King of France, is Fort Saint-Jean, which is located close to the Vieux-Port neighbourhood.
It is one of Marseille’s defining icons, situated across from Fort Saint-Nicolas and on the edge of the Old Port. This museum has a unique section devoted to Fort Saint’s history.
Jean’s Square Tower of King René, a square that serves as the entrance to the officers’ gallery, can be found in the lower half of the fort’s two-level ramparts.
The officers’ gallery, the long-demolished old barracks, and the lantern tower are all located in the top portion of the Port.
Visitors will have access to movies, educational exhibits, and more here that highlight the building’s expansions and other significant events in its illustrious history.
In 1660 Louis XIV built this fort near the entry of the port. Occupied during the Second World War by Germans and bombed by the Allies when liberated by France, Fort Jean was completely renovated.
The relatively new museum is the museum of civilizations from Europe and the Mediterranean culture.
It was opened in 2013, however, it has included several exhibitions on its history and Mediterranean cultural heritage, making it one of the top Things to Do in Marseille.
12. Le Musée des Docks
Le musée des Docks, a centre for archaeological documentation on ancient commerce, focuses on the port activities of Marseille between the sixth century before Christ and the fourth century after Christ.
A museum has been built out of the remains of an old Roman storehouse. A few old Roman artefacts are kept at the modest museum Musee des Docks Romains.
The remnants were unintentionally found after a few explosions during the war, and preservation efforts subsequently started.
The museum, which was founded in the 1960s, mostly exhibits amphoras and dolia, which are essentially what we would refer to as big jars and pots today and undoubtedly, it is among the Best Things to Do in Marseille.
These were used by the Romans to keep items like wine, honey, vegetables, dried fruit, and other goods, as well as by other people. After sealing the jars to avoid damage, they would bury them in the earth.
The pans were primarily used to prepare and keep hot meals warm.
This museum’s main exhibit is a former Roman storehouse. A sizable collection of artefacts, including salvaged shipwreck objects.
World-famous archaeologist and historian Fernand Benoit assisted in preserving some of the site’s artefacts, such as 30 sizable jars from the Roman Empire and walls and wells from mediaeval homes, undoubtedly, making it one of the Best Things to Do in Marseille.
13. Plage Bonneveine
A 500-meter length beach known as Plage Bonneveine, or Bonneveine Beach, offers warm waves, soft, fine white sand, and loads of family-friendly entertainment.
The first thing you may do when you get to the beach is to unwind by taking a stroll down the sand and soaking in the summertime atmosphere and the breathtaking sea views around you.
It takes around 20 minutes to drive from the Vieux Port neighbourhood in the old city to this beach, which is located at the end of broad Avenue Bonneville.
It provides a complete day of sheer rest or a tonne of fun and excitement and thus making it one of the Amazing Things to Do in Marseille.
The beach is a popular family holiday area with live entertainment in the evenings.
You may choose from a variety of neighbourhood eateries that provide delicious cuisine in a variety of options, from quick takeout to sit-down seafood restaurants.
Sandcastles are often seen littering the beach since the sand is perfect for sculpting.
This beach offers you a fantastic chance to escape from your routine and enjoy a vacation with your friends and family at one of Marseille’s most well-known beaches.
It is conveniently located 15 minutes south of the city centre and is readily accessible through three bus lines in the surrounding area thus making it one of the most enjoyable Things to Do in Marseille.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
These are some of the frequently asked questions.
1. Where Is Marseille Located
Marseille is a maritime city surrounded by historical areas of southern France.
Marseille is the capital and oldest city in the region.
The town lies within the region of Bouches-du-Rhône in the Region of Provence-Alpes-Cote d’Azur.
2. When To Visit Marseille
In the middle of a sweltering summer, tourists flock south to Marseille because of its Mediterranean temperature and events like Rock Island and Marsatac.
Late September is the ideal time to visit Marseille since the heat has subsided and the summer throng is still comfortable enough to stroll around the beaches.
3. Is Marseille Worth Visiting
With its ideal setting, pleasant temperature, active harbour, and contagious urban vitality. Marseille is a fantastic city that is definitely of seeing.
Marseille is a historic city with a wealth of attractions that will keep you well entertained for days.
4. How To Get Around Marseille
You may see the whole city in one day. The Vieux-Port Neighbourhood and Le Panier have several attractions that can only be reached by foot.
But, be aware that only Marseille, along with Paris and Lyon, is separated into arrondissements in France.
Along with buses, trams, and other forms of public transit, there are also the M1 and M2 Metro Lines.
Visiting Marseille is undoubtedly a place worth seeing, but it is also a large port city that is heavily populated.
Due to its lower cost and a greater variety of activities compared to other nearby cities, you are sure to enjoy your visit!