Balade en vélo avec Fada Bike- Esplanade St Laurent à Marseille

Discover Marseille on an electric bike

Today I decided to (re)discover my city!  But this time it’s on an electric bike that I’m going  to conquer the must-see places in Marseille.

Published on 10 June 2021

Marseille by Bike

With the clear-sky days and this radiant sun, nothing is better than a bike ride around the city. Not being a very sporty person, it is on an electric bike that I chose to visit, for nearly 3.30 hours, Marseille and its heritage.

This course “the fada’s tour” (the crazy’s tour) promises the essentials and is adapted to families, it shouldn’t be too difficult…

The Rendez-vous is set, at the beginning of the afternoon. Our guide, Emmanuel, is waiting for us and welcomes us warmly. We are 6 people, most of whom don’t know Marseille. After a quick briefing on the tour that is waiting for us, a reminder of security rules and how the bikes work, we chose our ‘ride’.
We are finally ready, sunglasses on, helmet attached and here we go!

The bicycle is one of the rare human inventions that is only used for good.

Paul Guth

From the Vieux-Port to Noailles

The stroll starts out strong with a direct immersion in the Marseille traffic. A bit hesitant and not really reassured, I rush like the rest of the group on the ” Quai de Rive Neuve”, the participants seem pretty at ease and we  arrive very quickly under the “Ombrière Foster” of the  Vieux-Port (old port).

After some historical facts on the foundation of Marseille, we continue the tour and go up the ‘Canebière’, pedestrian area for more than a year now, to meet the lively borough of Noailles. A total immersion in the cosmopolitan and popular suburb where the smell of spices, condiments, pizza and many others mingle.

We leave this effervescent district to reach the ‘Panier’ suburb,  inhabited for more than 2600 years.

Let’s go to the Panier and the J4

We are then heading to the Panier, suburb, a historical area of the city, firstly passing through the vestiges garden. Before entering the heart of the Panier, our guide brings us on the esplanade of ‘la Tourette’ to contemplate an incredible view of the ‘Notre-Dame de la Garde basilica’ and the ‘St Victor Abbey’.

We continue our visit by stopping for a few seconds in front of the Nouvelle Major Cathedral before going back on the road to circle around the Mucem (European and Mediterranean civilisation museum). On-site, we can admire this out of the ordinary and unique architecture created by the architect Rudy Ricciotti.
Emmanuel, as a perfect guide, tells us the story of each site that we go through and a lot of anecdotes.
Just before going up to the Panier (suburb built on small hills), he offers us a gourmet stop in the “l’Espérantine” boutique that suggests olive oil flavoured chocolate, surprising and delicious! But we don’t have the time to linger on and leave to discover the so typical narrow alleys. But our tour is still long, we direct ourselves this time on the other side of the Vieux Port towards the Palais du Pharo.

The seaside, from the Pharo to the Corniche

We are now in the gardens of the Pharo and even if I have been here before, I can’t get enough of this spectacle. This magical view that is standing in front of us is incredible. The Mucem, the Vieux Port, the Saint-Victor Abbaye, the Notre Dame basilica, and even the the ‘Côte Bleue’ ….

We take a few pictures and appreciate this break to admire the Vieux-Port in its ensemble and the boats going back and forth.
We leavethe park to head back to the traffic,  quickly reaching the Corniche. A small tour by the Catalans beach (which is the first sand beach that we meet when leaving the Vieux Port). We then go to the small Vallon des Auffes port. A jewel in the heart of Marseille. This typical small port is a must-see, with its small fishers’ huts.

Emmanuel then brings us to a discreet and secret corner, located just below the famous restaurant”Le Petit Nice Passedat” (run by the starred chef “Gérald Passedat”. We discover the ‘Anse de Maldormé’, a well-kept location where locals come and dive from the boulders and enjoy the sun.

The way up to the Notre dame de la Garde

They warned us from the start, we will have to pedal in the hill up to Notre dame! Despite our electrical bikes, we have to make some efforts, the hill of the ‘Notre-Dame de la Garde’ is the highest of the city and the basilica peaks at a height of 157m. After some effort, we finally arrive at the foot of ‘la bonne mère!

With a 360° view of the entire city and a breathtaking spectacle, life seems so calm! Here we are under the caring eye of “La Bonne Mère” (The Good Mother), an important symbol of Marseille.
After a quick visit to the basilica we get on our way back, we go back down to our starting point.

The end of the visit

It is the end of the tour, we are back after exploring more than 23km across the city (that’s pretty good and yes we did!)
We give the bikes and our helmets back to Emmanuel and have a little debrief on the ride,  everyone seems to be delighted!

As for me, I loved rediscovering my city in this new ludic and cultural way. Emmanuel is a passionate and listener guide. Not being a sporty person (at all), the tour was easy and can be done without any problem. If like me you are a bit scared of the traffic in Marseille, don’t worry, the tour is also feasible in the morning when the traffic is much less dense.

Fada Bike also offers other tours, my next choice, the Calanques of Marseille!