Where to travel in January for a sunny break? Marseille, of course!

Would you like to go on vacation in January in the sun and have no idea which destination to choose? Go to Marseille without hesitation! Between the year-round sunshine, the sea, the beach and the culture of Provence, you’ll enjoy an expanding trip with your family, partner or friends in the heart of France’s second-largest metropolis.

Discovering Marseille in January in the sun: Cultural visits

Must-see places between history, culture and heritage

Culminating at 154 meters, the basilica of Notre-Dame de la Garde welcomes approximately 2 million visitors a year. Of Roman-Byzantine inspiration, it watches over fishermen, sailors and the entire population of Marseille. Locals have christened her the Good Mother, certainly in reference to her protective maternal role.

Under the Provencal sun, the Mucem is the first major national museum dedicated to the Mediterranean. As an important place of architecture and heritage, this building – imagined by Rudy Ricciotti – is a cultural city open to the sea. Mucem offers a diversity of content in its permanent and temporary exhibitions around a variety of themes (history, anthropology, archaeology, art history and contemporary art). With its village, gardens and countless little secrets, Fort Saint-Jean, an integral part of Mucem, is a enjoyable maze in which you’re likely to get lost with gusto while enjoying the sun’s rays.

Another must-see place in Marseille, the Château d’If is accessible viaa maritime shuttle that takes you right up to the island. A former state prison that attracts many visitors every year, this fortress cradled by the Mediterranean sun was made famous by Alexandre Dumas in LeComte de Monte-Cristo, the novel in which the hero is imprisoned in the castle.

A true architectural feat, the palais Longchamp was originally used to accommodate the waters of the Durance in the city. This watercastle surrounded by a garden and waterfall is made up of several entities: the Fine-Arts Museum of Marseille (in the left wing), the Natural History Museum of Marseille (in the right wing), a public garden at the rear as well as the Observatoire de Marseille. Visiting the Phocaean city in January, this glory to water of unparalleled beauty is an absolute must-see.

Bustling, authentic neighborhoods

Aside from the famous Vieux-Port, there are other atypical Marseille neighborhoods to visit during your stay in January. Such is the case of the Panier district, the oldest district in the city. Its colored and vegetated alleys, its artisan boutiques and charming restaurants are sure to please. Are you a fan of the series Plus belle la vie? You’ll feel like you’re plunging into the heart of the fictional district of Mistral. After a stroll in the sunshine, stop off at a bistro for some pistou soup or a nice glass of pastis, you won’t be disappointed!

Eager to discover an original Marseille neighborhood? Head to the Notre-Dame-du-Mont district in the 6th arrondissement, home to the famous cours Julien, a place where street musicians share their compositions in front of a warm audience. This neighborhood also showcasesstreet art via numerous colorful graffiti in the streets and on the staircases.

If you’re looking for an out-of-the-ordinary experience in the presence of Marseillais, the Orange Vélodrome stadium is the place to go. For football fans, this is a must-see matchday venue. The atmosphere is electric and festive. Olympique de Marseille’s supporters are renowned for making the atmosphere! The best plan? Visit the stadium from the inside during your stay in the Phocaean city! You’ll have privileged access to the dressing rooms, press room, preparation room and trophy display.

The city of Marseille, between land and sea

The Calanques National Park

Located between Marseille and Cassis, the Calanques National Park is a real paradise for nature lovers. Thanks to the special protection afforded them, the calanques have preserved their wild character. Venture out on a hike to discover the heritage treasures of this biodiversity-rich park. This is a place not to be missed if you’re a lover of beautiful landscapes.

La bouillabaisse, typical Provencal dish

Composed of both seafood and produce, la bouillabaisse is a traditional culinary specialty of Mediterranean cooking. Born in Marseille, it consists of a soup of fish accompanied by garlic croutons and rouille, all served with fish bits and potatoes. This dish can be found on the menus of many Marseilles restaurants. Since 1980, restaurateurs have drawn up a bouillabaisse chart in which the ingredients and the original presentation of this Provencal recipe are defined.

Why go to Marseille in January?

Many events take place during the month of January in Marseille. For example, you can attend the Pastorales, theatrical plays performed after Christmas that evoke the nativity of Christ in the daily lives of Provençal people, and the procession of shepherds to the stable in which baby Jesus has just been born. Often burlesque, Pastorales find their origin during midnight masses. This singular practice remains an unmissable Provencal cultural rendezvous during the month of January.

Every two years in Marseille takes place the BIAC – International Circus Arts Biennial – during the month of January. This is an event dedicated to the circus and its artists. For a month, circus shows suitable for all generations are offered to the public in Marseille and throughout the southern region. Without a doubt, the artists will provide strong emotions for spectators young and old.

Beyond these cultural events, Marseille manages to charm any visitor – even in winter – thanks to its historic monuments, its museums, its culinary specialties and its beaches. As a result, this city has nothing to envy from classic European destinations such as Spain, Greece or Italy. The climate in January is relatively dry, as rain rarely makes an appearance. With sunshine generally present, temperatures average around 10°C. Leaving in January is the guarantee of not finding yourself in a heavy flow of visitors. You’ll also benefit fromdiscounts on your accommodation and transportation bookings.

For a stay under the sign of culture, nature and gourmandise, the Phocéenne city fulfills this role to perfection. So what are you waiting for when you travel to Marseille in January? Plan your trip now thanks to the Marseille Tourist Office, Leisure and Convention Bureau!