As the second largest city in France, Marseille offers a completely unique experience to Paris. Marseille is located in the south of France, right on the Mediterranean Sea. With gorgeous architecture, sea views, and a laid-back atmosphere, Marseille is the perfect place to start a holiday through the Mediterranean. Marseille experiences almost year-round sunshine, making it the ideal city for walking around and experiencing the outdoors. Over the years, Marseille has been influenced by a variety of cultures. In addition to French culture, Marseille has been influenced by Ancient Rome and Northern Africa throughout history. Today, you can still witness examples of Marseille’s diversity all throughout the city. Marseille has an interesting combination of history and edge to it between its ancient architecture and gritty street art, offering a completely unique experience to anywhere else in France. Due to its location between the Mediterranean and countryside Provence, visitors to Marseille can taste some of the Mediterranean’s best seafood and rose wine. With so much to experience, booking a cruise out of Marseille is the perfect way to begin your Mediterranean adventure.
When planning cruises from Marseille, your options on where to go are endless. The most popular route lasts seven days, travelling through France, Italy, and Spain. Some popular ports of call on this route include Genoa, Rome, Malta, Valencia, and Barcelona. If you are interested in going further afield, there are also cruises lasting up to twelve days. Head further east with cruises through the Greek Islands or make your way west with a cruise stopping in Portugal and the Canary Islands. All of the cruises departing from Marseille are through MSC Cruises. This cruise company offers four different ships, which each travel a different route through the Mediterranean.
Marseille’s cruise terminal is located north of the Old Port. Some smaller cruise ships dock in the city’s Joliette neighbourhood, which is a short distance from the Old Port and the city centre. The terminals for larger cruise ships are located a little bit further up the coast in a large docklands area, which also accommodates ferries to Corsica, Sardinia, and Northern Africa. In order to reach your cruise ship on public transport, catch the metro to the Joliette stop. From there, you can board ships docked in Joliette. To reach the larger cruise terminal, board the number 35 bus toward L’Estaque and get off when you reach Littorel Gourret. If you are driving, large car parks are available at each of the cruise terminals.
For convenience on the morning of your cruise, you could arrange to stay in a nearby hotel the night before. If your ship is departing from the Joliette terminal, you’ll be spoilt for choice on hotel options. Just beside the terminal, there are several budget-friendly hotels, including Ibis Marseille Centre, B&B Hotel Marseille Centre La Joliette, and Novotel Suites Marseille Centre. If you are departing from the main cruise terminal, you’ll have easy access to your ship from B&B Hotel Marseille Les Ports and Appart’City Marseille.
Sat atop a tall hill overlooking the city, this basilica is often seen as a symbol of Marseille. The hill has been home to a chapel for almost 1000 years, but construction on the current basilica began in 1852. Notre Dame de la Garde was designed in a Roman-Byzantine style, complete with elaborate domes, mosaics, and accents of gold. While visiting, take a walk through the basilica’s interior and walk around the outside. From Notre Dame de la Garde, you’ll be rewarded with a stunning view over Marseille and the Mediterranean.
Like most European cities, Marseille has an Old Town that is dedicated to its history. Le Panier is located in the centre of Marseille by the Old Port and is the city’s oldest neighbourhood. It is located on some small hills and is made up of narrow winding streets, pedestrian squares, and quaint colourful houses. Although Le Panier is right in the heart of Marseille, it offers the feeling of being in countryside France. As an interesting contrast to the history of Le Panier, the neighbourhood is also becoming a popular area to view bright and cheerful street art.
The Chateau d’If is located on its own island off the coast of Marseille. It was built in the mid-1500s as a fortress to defend the city from invasion. During the 1800s, the fortress also served as a prison, influencing Alexandre Dumas’s famous novel The Count of Monte Cristo. Today, visitors can explore the Chateau d’If to learn about its fascinating history and see the cell that inspired The Count of Monte Cristo. The Chateau has both an eerie and beautiful atmosphere to it and offers a unique perspective of Marseille.
Also referred to as the Vieux Port, this landmark is at the heart of Marseille. The Port dates all the way back to 600 BC when Marseille was founded as a trading port by the Ancient Greeks. The Old Port remained a major part of Marseille even as it changed throughout history, being influenced by the Romans, then the medieval period, and the Renaissance. Today, the Old Port is one of Marseille’s most-loved features. It is filled with sailboats and surrounded by restaurants, cafes, bars, and narrow cobblestone streets. The Old Port is beautiful and charming, and you will likely find yourself returning over and over during your time in Marseille.