48 hours in Marseille

Our city guide to discover the must-sees of Marseille in 48 hours! Whether you come for a weekend or a holiday, Marseille is a bustling city that will never cease to surprise you. We will take you on board for a sunny stopover, from the Old Port to Notre-Dame de la Garde via the Mucem and the Islands of Frioul…


Published on 8 July 2020

Around the Old Port


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 the inescapable 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 in getting on the 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 withe 19th century ex votos (ship models , paintings, military medals or simple gifts) offered for good fortune. The Notre Dame basilic ais open from 7am to 6.30pm on 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. Nice place for shopping and discover the traditional craftsmen, culture is also plainly represented with « La Vieille Charité » musuem (free of charge with the Marseille Pass) and the many street arted façades. 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 (3 boules set) at the must-see « Boule bleue » shop for an original 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 facing sister, Notre Dame de la Garde basilica, 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 building of the city. Open from 10 am to 8 pm in summer (11am to 7 pm the rest of the year), a refreshing walk on the terrace is 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 Sainte street

Marseille offers lots of restaurants ! heading to Sainte street, only a few minutes from the Old-Port, you will discover a wide range of bars and various food spots. Tapas at « La Ruche », « La cave à jambon », friendly atmosphere and an authentic one at « Pastis et olives », Provençal food at « Le Caroussel » or even bistronomic one at the « 44 restaurant ». Every taste will be satisfied ! During summer time  “La passarelle ” restaurant will offer you a dinner out in the fresh air…

From the islands to the Velodrome


A ride to the Frioul islands and  visit of If castle

Really easy to get to the islands ! In good weather conditions, you can get a 20mns boat ride with the navette maritime from the Old-Port for 11€ return ticket (or free with the Marseille Pass) and you can land on a true natural paradise offering turquoise waters, litlle creeks and secret and hidden beaches. The archipelago is made up of 4 islands : Pomègues, Ratonneau, If and Tiboulen. Like in a summer resort, you can swim, dive, picnic, fish or go to one of the small restaurants around the port. For the culture lovers, If island is accessible by shutlle boat as well. Visits are scheduled everyday (except Mondays) from 10am to 5pm during the high season according to weather conditions. For 6€ 2 hour visit, discover the secrets of the fortress built in the 16th by King François 1er, turned into a prison and finally became world famous thanks to Alexandre Dumas’ Count of Monte Cristo novel.

Lunch break at the Vallon des Auffes

Little fishermen port on the Corniche J.F. Kennedy, « le Vallon des Auffes » is a haven of peace located in the city and with a 10mn easy access taking 83 bus line from the Old-Port. In summertime, enjoy this idyllic place for a sunny lunch break on the terrasse of « Chez Jeannot restaurant, at « Fonfon’s », best bouillabaisse chef or with  a gastronomic moment at « L’épuisette ». During the summer season, share a family activity thanks to the paddle rental or the tiny beach.

Visit at the Orange Velodrome stadium

The Vélodrome stadium is the mythical spot of the famous soccer team « l’O.M ». The stadium opens for visits from 10am to 5pm on Wednesdays, Saturdays and Sundays in low season and on match days !. the visi costs 18€/adult and 12€/ 6-12 child. To be discovered, the stadium backstage, the lodges besides the history of the club.

Discovering  Longchamp Palace

Back on the Canebière street downtown to go and discover Longchamp Palace. Amazing semi-arched construction, it was built in 1862 to celebrate the arrival of water in Marseille. The palace is easily accessible by different means of transportation (metro, tramway) within 10mns trip from the Old-Port ; It is a majestic building, must-see in the centre, with magnificient fountains and designed gardens, ideal for strolling or bathing as well as family friendly. Inside the aisles , 2 important museums (Fine Art Museum and Natural Sciences Museum).

Dinning in the friendly district of Cours Julien

The ” Cours Julien” is a trendy, young friendly district of Marseille abouding in restaurants, bars and cafés. Remarkable place for all its artists and their street art works to discover during the regular dedicated visit explain by our guide Alexandra. Le « Cours Ju» is also famous for its many restaurant : « La cantinetta », italian cuisine in a super patio, « Chez Romy », « L’escalié », « la Tosca or « Le cinéma la Baleine ».

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