The heart of Marseille : the Old Port
For the early outters, the discovery of the fish market on the famous Old Port is a must do ! Iconic place of the city, fishermen come daily at the early morning to sell the fish at the auction. A very typical atmosphere! Looking for a great selfie spot ? Rendez-vous under Norman Foster’s « Ombrière » (shadehouse), a huge mirror ceiling inaugurated in 2013 that has now become an unmissable place.
A must-see : Notre-Dame de la Garde basilica or la « Bonne Mère » (the Good mother)
To get to the basilica, take N°60 bus line from the Old Port or choose fancier way by getting on ‘Le Petit Train’ (included in your Marseille Pass) or Hop on Hop off Cölorbus. As for sportspeople, walking up to the basilica will take a little more than 30 minutes from downtown. Once up there, the climbing is worth it ! The view over the city is breathtaking. The visit of the basilica is free of charge. Decorated with 19th century ‘ex votos’ (ship models , paintings, military medals or simple gifts) offered for good fortune, the basilica is open from 7am to 6.30pm in high season.
Lunch in Noailles
For a gourmet break downtown, new addresses in Noailles district will offer you a large range of places. « La Mercerie » restaurant for a bistronomic lunch, « Chez Sauveur » pizzeria, one of the best place to taste a pizza in the centre, « l’Epicerie idéale », perfect to eat on the go (very tasty !) or maybe « le Bistrot du Petit St Louis » with its retrochic atmosphere and tasty food.
Discovering « le Panier » traditional district
Located by the Old-Port, le Panier district is one of the most picturesque one. Tourists and locals stroll along its colourful streets all year round. It is a nice place for shopping, to discover traditional craftsmen, and to discover culture exhibitions at ‘La Vieille Charité’ museum (free of charge with the Marseille Pass) as well as the arty streets. For a sunny break, ‘le Panier’ offers plenty of nice squares with terraces such as ‘Place de Lenche’, ‘Place des 13 Cantons’ (famous for the shooting of « Plus belle la vie » TV soap opera) and ‘Place des Pistoles’. For the « pétanque » lovers, visit and buy a ‘ triplette’ (three balls set) at the must-see shop “Boule bleue” for an unusual souvenir. As for gastronomy, the Panier offers many restaurants, a lovely shop « les navettes des Accoules.” (famous traditional orange blossom flavoured biscuit). For gourmets, we highly recommend the great artisanal ice cream shop « Le glaçier du Roi » or the chocolate shop “l’Espérantine” using olive oil basis!
The Tourist Office regularly schedules guided tours of ” le Panier”.
Walking around the Major Cathedral and visit Mucem
A stone’s throw from the Panier district, do not miss this important religious building of Marseille also named « La Major ». Less famous than its sister, Notre Dame de la Garde basilica, standing opposite, the impressive building designed by Leon Vaudoyer in neobyzantine style dates from 1852. Next are public courts to play the game of « pétanque » (using your newly bought triplette set !) ; below the cathedral, shops and restaurants inside former voults will lead you to « Regards de Provence Foundation » and via the J4 Esplanade to the « Villa Méditerranée », future home to the Cosquer Grotto replica.
The Mucem (Museum of European and mediterranean civilisations) is now one of the iconic buildings of the city. Open from 10 am to 8 pm in summer (11am to 7 pm the rest of the year), you will enjoy a refreshing walk on the terrace free of charge. Sunbathe at Saint-Jean fortress and admire the magnificent view over the entrance of the Old Port.
Entrance fee to the permanent and temporaty exhibitions is 11€ and free of charge with the CityPass Marseille.
Trendy dinner in ‘rue Sainte’
Marseille offers lots of restaurants ! heading to ‘rue Sainte’, only a few minutes from the Old-Port, you will discover a wide range of bars and various food spots: try some tapas at ‘La Ruche’, or ‘La cave à jambon’, enjoy a friendly and authentic atmosphere and at ‘Pastis et olives’, some typical Provençal dishes at ‘Le Caroussel’ or even bistronomic food at ’44 restaurant’. There is something for everyone ! During summer time ‘La passarelle’ restaurant will offer you a dinner out in the fresh air…