Before getting into things I wanna let people know that I am NOT a travel expert or experienced at all so, everything written in this travel guide are some tips and tricks, places to see, and other things!
For spring break I spent one week in the South of France with two of my close friends. We ended up getting a great host family for the week and seeing a lot of Marseille. We entered the city by bus and headed to la gare de Marseille-Saint-Charles. We got a quick tour of the city from the car and got a quick feel for the city. On Monday, we headed to the calanques and saw the breathtaking views, you can check that out in my other post.
Now getting into more about Marseille I want to quickly saw the easiest tool to use to get around any town in the metro/bus/tram/boat. Before coming to France I never knew how any of that worked but, now more than halfway done with exchange I’m so used to it and sometimes lazy that I take it all the time. In Marseille getting around is easy. There are two metro lines(M1 and M2) a lot less than Paris, three tram lines(T1, T2, and T3), and a lot of bus lines. Click on Marseille Transportation to get a PDF of a map of Marseille. When I took the bus around Marseille I bought my ticket right on the bus and that was about 2€. Whereas the metro I took in Marseille was about 1.60€. (ticket for 2 people was 3.20€)
Tip: If you don’t have wifi/internet in town make sure to take a bunch of screenshots of maps before you head into town. Take some zoomed in and zoomed out. This allows you to get street names and an overview of the city. This is a great way to not spend money on international data if you are traveling. Same thing with transportation maps, take screenshots before hand and plan out where you need to go and the main stops to see main attractions.
While in Marseille I recommend seeing (not in order) the Vieux Port, Palais Longchamp, Notre Dame de la Garde, Château d’If, Fort Saint Jean, L’abbaye de Saint Victor, and Port du Vallon des Auffes.
#1. Vieux Port
Here you can find lots of restaurants, shops, boat tours, bus/metro lines, and great views. With my friends we grabbed lunch and then sat on the side of the ledge, dangling our legs over the edge and having a picnic with the ocean beneath us and boats around us. Great place to take pictures and eat good food!
#2 Palais Longchamp
At this monument you will find two museums and a park behind the grand building. Great view from the top and beautiful architecture.
#3 Notre-Dame de la Garde
This stop is probably the most well known and you will find lots of tourists here. Get ready for a hike and make sure to have your camera ready. You can also grab a bus, number 60, and take it down to the Vieux Port from the Notre Dame de la Garde.
#4 Château d’If
This fortification is something that I didn’t get a chance to go inside but, if you have enough time it’s another good thing to check out while in Marseille.
#5 Fort Saint Jean
This was a fortification built by Louis XIV in 1660 at the entrance of the Vieux Port. If you want a good view and experience the Mistral wind take a walk around the Fort.
#6 L’abbaye de Saint Victor
A former monastic fondation this is another thing to place on your list of ‘sights to see’. Free entrance into the abbey which was named after a local soldier saint and martyr, Victor.
#7 Port du Vallon des Auffes
Now for a little secret… When I searched ‘Marseille’ into Google I didn’t see this come up and this was something my host dad and local showed us while seeing Marseille. This small, hidden port is a gem in disguise. Great place to take beautiful pictures and grab lunch with a great view.
Tip: If you know you are going to be using the bus/metro/etc. lines all day invest in a City Pass or an all day pass that allows you to pay once and use the lines as much as you want.
So glad I got the chance to see more of the South of France and explore a little more of this country before I have to leave. Stay tuned for more adventure and more cities!