Boasting 300 days of sun per year, pack your shades and hit the historical streets of one of France’s biggest cities. Here’s how to make the most of 24 hours in Marseille.
Ideally located right in the heart of the bustling city, find Hotel Mercure sitting in the middle of the famous La Canebiere. A stone’s throw from the Old Port, Noailles Market and St Charles train station, the modern rooms of the hotel are the perfect place to recharge your batteries after a packed day of sightseeing. Featuring three suites with incredible panoramic views, two meeting rooms, a co-working space and 90 ultra-chic comfortable rooms, Mercure caters to every need. Taste the local cuisine at Brasserie Le Capucin on the lower level and head out for a nightcap in one of the lively bars right on your doorstep.
Hôtel Mercure Marseille Canebière Vieux-Port - 48 La Canebiere
1. Cours Julien
Covered from head to toe in eye-catching graffiti, Marseille’s coolest neighbourhood has so much more to offer than just great Instagram content. Spend the morning browsing the stalls at the local produce market, go hunting for gems at the flea market and stop for a coffee at one of the many cafés scattered throughout the area.
2. Mucem – Esplanade du J4
Free to enter, the Mucem not only features one of the best exhibitions in Marseille but also has spectacular views over the Vieux Port and the buildings of the business district. Dedicated to showcasing the cultures of the Mediterranean, the museum is the first of its kind to be connected by a bridge to the nearby Fort Saint Jean, so you can take in two of the city’s iconic sights in one go.
3. Basilique Notre Dame de la Garde – Rue Fort du Sanctuaire
Keeping watch over the city, the Basilique Notre Dame de la Garde is a must-see when visiting Marseille. Dominating the hill of the same name, the basilica is a symbol of the city and boasts 360-degree views that sweep from the northern l’Estaque to the Calanques in the south. Elaborately decorated in gold accents and colourful mosaics, the interior is a real sight for sore eyes. Brave the steep uphill hike or hop in the car and experience one of the best attractions the city has to offer.
4. Boat trip round the Vieux Port
What better way to experience the harbour than to board a boat and set sail around the city’s edges? Localanque and their collection of tour boats offer a unique experience as the sun sets over the Marseille skyline. Book a tour and watch as the city turns from day to night from the best seat in the house. Look back on the city from the calm waters, sip some local rosé and take in the history of Marseille straight from the mouths of natives.
5. Cite radieuse Le Corbusier
Marseille’s UNESCO heritage site and another one of the city’s prime viewing spots, Le Corbusier Unite d’Habitation is another thing to add to your list of what to see when visiting Provence. Here you can wander through the entrance hall and take the lift up to the roof terrace for the best view of the Orange Velodrome.
6. Savonnerie Marseillaise de la Licorne factory – 34 Cours Julien
Take a step back in time and pay a visit to the city’s main soap factory. Synonymous with the city, look on in awe as you witness the moulding process from start to finish. After the tour, spend some time in the factory shop and take home a slice of Marseille’s heritage in the form of a delicious smelling colourful block of soap.
La Halles de la Major – 12 Quai de la Tourette
A glorious mismatch of world cuisine, enjoy a relaxing meal at this lunchtime hotspot. Grab a bench on the quayside and indulge in everything from fresh seafood to gourmet pasta and cakes that taste as good as they look. Mingle with locals and embrace the Provencal way of life at this unique dining experience.
Miramar – 12 Quai du Port
Taste the city at this local restaurant looking out over the stunning Vieux Port. Specialising in bouillabaisse, a traditional Marseillaise dish made from five types of fish served in a soup, this is the place to eat if you want to dig in to some authentic cuisine.
Paule et Kopa – 42 Place aux Huiles
Another local favourite, tucked away in the quaint backstreets Paule et Kopa offers some of the best flavours of the ocean washed down with a cold glass of red from the region’s critically acclaimed vineyards.
Flights to Marseille