Notre Dame De La Garde Depuis Le Mucem
Our itinerary suggestions for

Visiting Marseille in one day

You only have one day to visit Marseille and you want to discover the must-see things not to be missed? We give you ideas of routes to visit Marseille in one day.

Published on 5 April 2022

A heritage day

Start your day on the ‘Vieux-Port’, at the bottom of the Canebière. Every morning the famous fish market is held there. Then take  the direction of the City Hall along the quai du port. You will enjoy a magnificent view of the boats and in the background: the ‘Notre-Dame de la Garde’ basilica.  You enter the oldest district of Marseille, le Panier. The first impressive “monument” you will see is the Hôtel Dieu, a former 18th century hospital  now transformed into a luxury hotel. The route takes you to the square of  Saint Laurent (and the church of the same name) which enjoys an exceptional panorama of the city of Marseille. Then, take the footbridge that leads you directly to the gardens of the Mucem : here, you can stroll at your ease along the many vegetated paths. And why not stop to eat your picnic or enjoy the terrace of the Môle Passedat ?

Take the opportunity to admire the architectural specificity of this monument: the concrete lace that surrounds the museum has become emblematic in Marseille. Go out of the Mucem by the J4 esplanade and head towards the  Cathédrale de la Major in the  Byzantine Roman style dating from the 19th century.

You will then find yourself in the Panier district. Going up the rue Four du Chapitre, then the rue Sainte-Françoise, you will quickly discover the charm of its small colored streets. If you have not eaten yet, it is also possible to stop in one of the many good gourmet addresses of the Panier. You must pass in front of the ‘Vieille Charité’ (Old Charity), classified as an historical monument: today it has become a museum, this 17th century architectural complex was once intended to shelter vagrants and orphans.

To end your journey in style, we advise you to take the bus 60 on the Old Port  (or the Petit Train if you want to have explanatory comments as well!)  to get to Notre-Dame de la Garde. Go up to the terminus and discover the symbol of Marseille, the “Good Mother” “Bonne Mère”. A  360° view is offered to you and allows you to appreciate and understand the extent of the city. If you want to see a beautiful sunset in Marseille, this is the ideal spot!

A day between land and sea

Get up  early and take the boat to the Frioul archipelago! Located on the Old Port, the sea shuttles allow you to spend an exceptional day off  Marseille. For culture and history lovers, head to  the Château d’If, a former old fortress built under  François 1er  and which became a state prison in the 17th century.  It was Alexandre Dumas novel “the Count of  Monte Cristo” that made it famous. Visits are self-guided from Tuesday to Sunday, with a mobile visiting app, as well as youth visit booklets  available at the entrance of the monument.

If you want to enjoy a more relaxing day, go to the  îles du Frioul , which are full of small creeks with turquoise waters. On one side, the trails of the island of Ratonneau allow you to discover the forts of Ratonneau and  Brigantin, the Caroline hospital, but also the beautiful creeks where it is pleasant to sit down and eat your picnic:  Saint Estève, Morgiret, Eoube… to name a few… On the other side of the seawall, the island of Pomègues invites you to a more natural walk to discover the aquaculture farm, the  Roche Percée and small creeks less known but just as beautiful!

Whatever your choice, we advise you to bring with you good shoes and plenty of water, which will be very useful for you to move on the trails and face the heat ( the islands have very little shade).

On your way back, enjoy the magnificent view of the Basilica Notre-Dame de la Garde, overlooking Marseille from the top of its hill. And why not end your day turned towards the  Mediterranean by enjoying a dinner on the Corniche Kennedy, with your eyes focused toward the sea?  At the  Catalans, in the Vallon des Auffes or a little further towards the Prado beaches, many restaurants offer a wonderful view on the harbor of Marseille and on the Frioul Archipelago where you will have spent the day!

A 100% culture day

Start your morning at the Mucem, the Museum of European and Mediterranean Civilizations, recognizable by its particular  architecture, and especially essential  when it comes to culture.  Indeed, it  was built for a reason in  2013, when  Marseille was European Capital of Culture!  Numerous permanent and temporary exhibitions take place there, and deal with topics related to the civilizations that constituted the Mediterranean world from prehistoric times to the present day. Among the permanent exhibitions, “le Grand Mezzé” deals with the traditional Meditarranean culinary know-how, from the fields to your plate. “Connectivités”  tells the story of the great port cities of the Mediterranean of the 16th and 17th centuries through flows, connections and exchanges.

Depending on the time you take to visit the different exhibitions, you can follow directly with the Regards de Provence Museum located just a 2-minute walk from the Mucem. Or decide to take your lunch break: on the roof of the Mucem or at the rooftop  Regards Café, restaurant of the  Regards de Provence Museum.

Then head to the  collections of Regards de Provence Museum to continue your cultural day! The foundation offers collective or individual exhibitions on themes closely or distantly related to Marseille, Provence and the Mediterranean. Spread over 4 centuries, the collection includes works by artists such as Ambrogiani, Garibaldi, Monticelli, and Verdilhan.

Once your visit to the exhibitions is over, it is time to discover an open-air museum: the famous Panier district. Indeed, you will enjoy wandering through its colourful alleys which have a rich history, as it is the oldest district of Marseille.  Moreover, street art plays an important role in the district: the walls are covered with colorful works depicting scenes of Marseille life, sometimes more abstract things. Some frescoes invite you to contemplate while others will make you smile. If you are still thirsty for culture, do not hesitate to visit the cultural center of the Vieille Charité : you will find the Museum of African, Oceanian and Amerindian Arts and the  Museum of Mediterranean Archaeology.

Finish your day on the Old Port, many restaurants offer quality local cuisine, discover our  selection of good addresses !

Marseille's must-sees