France Travel Planner by Tom Brosnahan & Jane Fisher   What to See & Do in Marseille, France
Marseille is a large city with lots to see and do, from historic sites to museums and churches to the Vieux Port with its waterfront restaurants, and shopping.




With a population of over 1.5 million, Marseille (spelled Marseilles in English) is a bustling city with lots going on.

Vieux Port

The main areas of interest to tourists are around the Vieux Port, or old port. The port area has been updated and enhanced for pedestrians, and a free ferry runs regularly back and forth from one side to the other.

Fish markets and other markets are plentiful in the area of the Vieux Port. More...

Protecting the harbor are two historic forts, the Fort Saint-Nicolas and the Fort St-Jean. More...

From the port you can also take excursion boats out to the calanques, beautiful inlets along the shore, or to visit the Château d'If, made famous by Alexandre Dumas. More...


Marseille has a number of historic churches. Dominating the view from the port is Notre-Dame de la Garde, high on a hill. More...

The Cathédrale La Major is near the Panier district. This historic cathedrale dates from the 19th century and was built to replace the 11th century cathedral. More...

Panier District

The Panier district or old city, full of narrow winding streets and interesting architecture, is a great place for a stroll. More...

Marseille has a number of museums, ranging from history to fine art to local crafts. More...

  Notre-Dame de la Garde, Marseille, Provence, France

Notre-Dame de la Garde, high on a hill above Marseille.


With its excellent transportation system (airport, trains, métro, buses), Marseille is a good base for visiting other parts of Provence. Here are some distances and approximate driving times from Marseille to:

Aix-en-Provence: 32 kilometers/20 miles, 35 minutes

Arles: 91 kilometers/57 miles, one hour

Avignon: 103 kilometers/64 miles, one hour 10 minutes

Orange: 115 kilometers/71 miles, one hour 15 minutes

European Capital of Culture

For the year 2013, Marseille was selected as European Capital of Culture. Over 400 cultural events were scheduled throughout the year and across the region. In preparation, Marseille undertook some major infrastructure work, which created major challenges for visitors in the preceeding months but resulted in long-term benefits for residents and visitors alike.

About Marseille

Marseille Hotels

Marseille Restaurant Areas

Marseille Transport

Tourist Information



About Provence


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Vieux Port & Notr-Dame de la Garde Church, Marseille, Provence, France

Above, Vieux Port &
Notre-Dame de la Garde church.

Below, Château d'If and islands as seen from Notre-Dame de la Garde, Marseille.


Chateau d'If, Marseille, Provence, France
Château d'If, Marseille.

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