52 Best Places and Things To Do in Marseille, France

Marseille, located on the southeastern coast of France, is a vibrant and diverse city known for its rich history, stunning coastal landscapes, and vibrant cultural scene. With its unique blend of old-world charm and modern attractions, Marseille offers a wide array of experiences for visitors. Here are some of the best places to visit and things to do in Marseille:

1. Vieux Port (Old Port)

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Start your journey in Marseille at the iconic Vieux Port. This bustling harbor has been the heart of the city for over 2,600 years. Take a leisurely stroll along the waterfront, admire the colorful fishing boats, and indulge in some fresh seafood at the local restaurants.

2. Basilique Notre-Dame de la Garde

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Perched on top of a hill, the Basilique Notre-Dame de la Garde offers breathtaking panoramic views of Marseille. This magnificent basilica, with its ornate interior and stunning mosaics, is a must-visit attraction. Climb up the hill or take a small tourist train to reach the basilica.

3. Le Panier

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Marseille’s oldest neighborhood, Le Panier, is a charming area with narrow streets, colorful houses, and a vibrant arts scene. Explore the local shops, art galleries, and trendy cafés. Don’t miss a visit to La Vieille Charité, a beautiful historical monument that houses museums and cultural exhibitions.

4. MuCEM

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The Museum of European and Mediterranean Civilizations (MuCEM) is a striking contemporary building located at the entrance of the Vieux Port. It showcases the cultural heritage of the Mediterranean region through a diverse range of exhibits. Explore the museum’s collections, stroll through its beautiful gardens, and enjoy the stunning views of the sea.

5. Calanques National Park

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Just outside the city, you’ll find the Calanques, a series of stunning rocky inlets and fjords along the Mediterranean coast. Take a boat tour or go hiking to discover the natural beauty of this national park. Enjoy swimming in the crystal-clear waters, explore hidden caves, and admire the breathtaking cliffs.

6. Marseille Cathedral

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Known as Cathédrale Sainte-Marie-Majeure de Marseille, this impressive Romanesque-Byzantine cathedral is a notable landmark in the city. Explore its grand interior, admire the intricate detailing, and learn about its rich history.

7. Palais Longchamp

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This majestic monument, built in the 19th century, is home to the Museum of Fine Arts and the Natural History Museum of Marseille. Wander through the landscaped gardens, visit the museums to explore their extensive collections, and enjoy a peaceful picnic in this beautiful setting.

8. Château d’If

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Situated on a small island off the coast of Marseille, the Château d’If is a former fortress turned prison made famous by Alexandre Dumas’ novel “The Count of Monte Cristo.” Take a short boat ride to the island and tour the fortress, which offers stunning views and an intriguing glimpse into the history of the area.

9. Street Art

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Marseille has a thriving street art scene, with colorful murals adorning many buildings throughout the city. Take a street art tour to discover hidden artworks, explore the Cours Julien neighborhood known for its vibrant street art culture, and appreciate the creativity of local artists.

10. Local Cuisine

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Marseille is a culinary delight, renowned for its Mediterranean flavors and fresh seafood. Sample the city’s signature dish, bouillabaisse, a traditional fish stew. Explore the local markets, such as the Marché de la Plaine, to discover fresh produce, regional specialties, and indulge in Provençal delicacies.

11. La Corniche

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Take a scenic drive or leisurely stroll along La Corniche, a picturesque coastal road that offers breathtaking views of the Mediterranean Sea. Stop at one of the cafés or restaurants along the way to savor the beauty of the coastline while enjoying a refreshing drink or a delicious meal.

12. Palais du Pharo

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Visit the Palais du Pharo, an elegant palace built by Napoleon III. The palace is set on a hill and offers splendid views of the Vieux Port and the sea. Explore its well-manicured gardens and soak in the regal ambiance of this historic site.

13. Museum of European and Mediterranean Civilizations (MuCEM) Rooftop

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Head to the rooftop of the MuCEM for a unique perspective of Marseille. The open-air terrace provides panoramic views of the city, the Vieux Port, and the surrounding areas. It’s an ideal spot to relax, enjoy the sunset, and capture memorable photos.

14. Stade Vélodrome

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If you’re a sports enthusiast, don’t miss the opportunity to experience the vibrant atmosphere of Stade Vélodrome, the home stadium of Olympique de Marseille, one of France’s most successful football clubs. Catch a match or take a stadium tour to learn about the team’s history and immerse yourself in the passionate football culture of the city.

15. Les Terrasses du Port

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Indulge in some retail therapy at Les Terrasses du Port, a modern shopping center overlooking the sea. With a wide range of fashion boutiques, international brands, and trendy cafes, it’s a great place to shop, relax, and enjoy the stunning views.

16. Marseille History Museum

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Dive into Marseille’s rich history at the Marseille History Museum, located in the Centre Bourse. This museum offers a fascinating journey through time, with exhibits showcasing the city’s evolution from ancient times to the present day. Gain insights into Marseille’s maritime heritage, archaeological discoveries, and cultural heritage.

17. Les Docks Village

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Discover the rejuvenated Les Docks Village, a former industrial building transformed into a vibrant shopping and dining complex. Wander through its stylish boutiques, artisan shops, and gourmet restaurants. The hip and trendy atmosphere of Les Docks Village makes it a popular spot for locals and visitors alike.

18. Prado Beaches

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Enjoy the sun, sand, and sea at the Prado Beaches, a series of sandy stretches along Marseille’s coastline. Relax on the beach, take a refreshing dip in the Mediterranean waters, or engage in water sports like paddleboarding or jet skiing. With its lively beach clubs and vibrant atmosphere, it’s a fantastic place to unwind and soak up the coastal ambiance.

19. Marseille by Boat

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Explore Marseille from a different perspective by taking a boat tour. Cruise along the coastline, admire the stunning cliffs, and discover hidden coves and beaches. You can also take a boat trip to the Frioul Islands, a small archipelago located just off the coast, and explore its pristine natural beauty and historic sites.

20. Marseille Opera House

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Immerse yourself in the world of performing arts at the Marseille Opera House. Located in a stunning historical building, this cultural institution showcases a diverse range of ballets, operas, and concerts throughout the year. Experience the grandeur of a live performance in this beautiful venue.

21. Vallon des Auffes

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Discover the picturesque fishing village of Vallon des Auffes, a hidden gem tucked away from the bustling city center. This charming harbor is lined with colorful fishing huts and traditional boats, creating a quaint and peaceful atmosphere. Enjoy a leisurely meal at one of the waterfront restaurants and soak in the authentic maritime ambiance.

22. Street Markets

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Marseille is renowned for its vibrant and bustling street markets that offer a sensory feast of sights, sounds, and aromas. Visit the Marché de Noailles, a bustling market with stalls selling spices, exotic fruits, and international delicacies. The Marché aux Puces de Marseille is a must-visit for antique enthusiasts, offering a treasure trove of unique finds.

23. Fort Saint-Jean

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Explore the historic Fort Saint-Jean, located at the entrance of the Vieux Port. This 17th-century fortress is now part of the MuCEM complex and offers a captivating blend of history and modern architecture. Walk across the footbridge connecting the fort to the museum and enjoy panoramic views of the harbor.

24. Cité Radieuse

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Architecture enthusiasts should not miss a visit to Cité Radieuse, a modernist residential building designed by renowned architect Le Corbusier. This iconic structure is a prime example of Brutalist architecture and houses various amenities, including a hotel, restaurant, and cultural center. Take a guided tour to learn about its innovative design principles.

25. Château Borély

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Spend a leisurely day exploring Château Borély and its surrounding park. This elegant 18th-century mansion now houses the Museum of Decorative Arts, Fashion, and Ceramics, offering a fascinating glimpse into the world of design and craftsmanship. Enjoy a picnic in the park or rent a bike to explore the extensive grounds.

26. Marseille Football Club Museum

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If you’re a football fan, visit the Marseille Football Club Museum, located at the Stade Vélodrome. Dive into the history of the club, explore its trophy collection, and relive iconic moments in Marseille’s football legacy. Interactive exhibits and memorabilia make it an engaging experience for sports enthusiasts.

27. La Friche Belle de Mai

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Delve into Marseille’s contemporary art scene at La Friche Belle de Mai. This former tobacco factory has been transformed into a vibrant cultural complex, featuring art galleries, performance spaces, and creative studios. Explore the exhibitions, attend live events, or simply soak up the artistic atmosphere in this dynamic hub.

28. Marseille Street Food

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Sample the diverse and delicious street food scene in Marseille. From savory socca (chickpea pancakes) to mouthwatering panisses (chickpea fritters) and freshly made bouillabaisse, the city offers a plethora of culinary delights to tantalize your taste buds. Explore the local food markets or follow the aroma of delectable street food stalls to savor the flavors of Marseille.

29. La Canebière

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Take a stroll down La Canebière, Marseille’s iconic boulevard. This bustling street is lined with shops, cafés, and historic buildings, and it serves as a lively hub of activity in the city. Explore the local shops, stop for a coffee at a sidewalk café, and soak in the vibrant atmosphere of this famous thoroughfare.

30. Jardin des Vestiges

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Step back in time at the Jardin des Vestiges, an archaeological site located in the heart of Marseille. This open-air museum showcases the ancient Greek and Roman remains, including fragments of city walls, a marketplace, and thermal baths. It’s a fascinating glimpse into Marseille’s ancient past.

31. Les Calanques

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Embark on an unforgettable adventure to Les Calanques, a series of stunning limestone cliffs and coves that stretch along the Mediterranean coast. Hike along scenic trails, swim in turquoise waters, and bask in the natural beauty of this protected national park. Calanque de Sormiou, Calanque d’En-Vau, and Calanque de Morgiou are among the most picturesque calanques worth exploring.

32. Musée d’Histoire de Marseille

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Delve into Marseille’s fascinating history at the Musée d’Histoire de Marseille. Located in the Centre Bourse, this museum takes you on a chronological journey through the city’s past, from its ancient Greek origins to modern times. Discover artifacts, immersive exhibits, and multimedia presentations that bring Marseille’s history to life.

33. Marseille Soap Factories

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Marseille is famous for its traditional soap production. Visit one of the soap factories in the city, such as the Savonnerie Marseillaise Fer à Cheval, to learn about the traditional soap-making process. Discover the history and craftsmanship behind these iconic Marseille soaps and pick up some authentic souvenirs.

34. Villa Méditerranée

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Explore the Villa Méditerranée, a striking contemporary building that serves as a cultural center dedicated to promoting Mediterranean cultures and dialogue. Enjoy the panoramic views of the sea from its rooftop terrace, attend exhibitions, conferences, or simply appreciate the modern architecture of this waterfront landmark.

35. Vallée de l’Huveaune

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Escape the city and venture into the picturesque Vallée de l’Huveaune, a scenic valley located just east of Marseille. Explore its charming villages, lush landscapes, and the river that runs through it. Enjoy hiking or biking along the trails, picnic by the water’s edge, and immerse yourself in the tranquility of nature.

36. Fort d’Entrecasteaux

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Discover Fort d’Entrecasteaux, a historic fortification that offers panoramic views of Marseille and the surrounding area. This well-preserved fortress dates back to the 17th century and provides a glimpse into Marseille’s military past. Take a guided tour to learn about its strategic significance and enjoy the stunning vistas.

37. Musée Regards de Provence

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Immerse yourself in the art and culture of Provence at the Musée Regards de Provence. Housed in a former maritime health clinic, this museum showcases a diverse collection of artwork that celebrates the region’s heritage, landscapes, and artistic traditions. Explore the exhibits, admire the contemporary architecture, and gain a deeper understanding of Provence’s creative spirit.

38. Les Goudes

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Visit Les Goudes, a charming fishing village located on the outskirts of Marseille. This quaint neighborhood offers a peaceful retreat with its small harbor, traditional houses, and stunning coastal views. Enjoy a seafood meal at one of the local restaurants, go for a swim in the crystal-clear waters, or embark on a boat trip to explore nearby coves and beaches.

39. Musée des Civilisations de l’Europe et de la Méditerranée (MUCEM)

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Expand your cultural horizons at the Musée des Civilisations de l’Europe et de la Méditerranée (MUCEM). This renowned museum showcases the cultural heritage of Europe and the Mediterranean through a wide range of exhibits, including art, photography, historical artifacts, and multimedia installations. Explore the thought-provoking displays and engage in conversations about the complex identities of the Mediterranean region.

40. Château Pastré

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Take a leisurely stroll through the beautiful Parc Pastré and visit Château Pastré, a stunning mansion turned cultural center. The park’s serene landscapes, adorned with tall pines and picturesque paths, provide a tranquil escape from the city. Explore the exhibitions and cultural events hosted at Château Pastré, and unwind in the peaceful surroundings.

41. Notre-Dame de la Garde by Night

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Witness the enchanting beauty of Notre-Dame de la Garde illuminated at night. The basilica, perched atop the hill, offers a breathtaking view of Marseille’s twinkling lights and the glittering sea. Take a nighttime visit to experience the tranquility and captivating atmosphere that radiate from this iconic landmark.

42. Marseille International Film Festival

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If you visit during the Marseille International Film Festival, immerse yourself in the world of cinema and attend screenings of international and local films. This annual event celebrates the art of filmmaking and brings together filmmakers, actors, and film enthusiasts from around the world.

43. Marseille’s Cultural Festivals

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Marseille hosts a vibrant array of cultural festivals throughout the year, showcasing music, dance, theater, and more. From the Fiesta des Suds, a celebration of world music and contemporary arts, to the Festival de Marseille, which presents cutting-edge performances, these events offer a unique opportunity to engage with Marseille’s dynamic cultural scene.

44. Musée Cantini

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Visit the Musée Cantini, an art museum located in a beautiful 17th-century mansion. The museum features a collection of modern and contemporary art, showcasing works by renowned artists such as Picasso, Matisse, and Warhol. Take your time to appreciate the diverse range of artistic styles and immerse yourself in the world of modern art.

45. Fort Saint-Nicolas

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Visit Fort Saint-Nicolas, a historic fortress located near the Old Port. Built in the 17th century, this impressive structure offers panoramic views of the city and the sea. Explore the fort’s architecture, wander through its courtyards, and imagine the military history that unfolded within its walls.

46. Les Halles de la Major

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Indulge your culinary senses at Les Halles de la Major, a vibrant indoor food market located near the Cathédrale de la Major. Sample a variety of fresh local produce, regional specialties, and gourmet treats from the many food stalls and vendors. It’s a paradise for food lovers and a great place to experience the flavors of Marseille.

47. Plage du Prado

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Located in the southern part of the city, Plage du Prado is one of the most popular and accessible beaches in Marseille. With its fine sand, clear blue waters, and a wide stretch of shoreline, it attracts locals and tourists alike. The beach is well-equipped with facilities such as showers, restaurants, beach bars, and sports activities like beach volleyball and water sports.

48. Plage de la Pointe Rouge

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Situated in the picturesque fishing village of La Pointe Rouge, this beach offers a relaxed and laid-back atmosphere. The sandy beach is surrounded by charming cafés and restaurants, where you can savor fresh seafood and local delicacies. The crystal-clear waters are ideal for swimming, snorkeling, and diving. Boat rentals and water sports equipment are available for those seeking a more adventurous experience.

49. Calanque de Sormiou

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For a truly breathtaking and natural beach experience, head to the Calanques. Calanque de Sormiou is one of the most stunning coves in the area. Nestled between towering cliffs, this secluded beach can be reached by a hiking trail or by boat. The turquoise waters and untouched surroundings create a serene and picturesque setting that is perfect for swimming, sunbathing, and picnicking.

50. Calanque d’En-Vau

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Another magnificent calanque, Calanque d’En-Vau, is known for its mesmerizing beauty and clear waters. Surrounded by limestone cliffs, this hidden gem is accessible by a challenging hiking trail or by boat. The pristine beach, with its pebbles and crystal-clear waters, offers a tranquil escape from the city. It’s a favorite spot for nature lovers, hikers, and those seeking a peaceful and unspoiled beach experience.

51. Plage des Catalans

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Located near the Old Port, Plage des Catalans is a small but charming beach with a local vibe. This family-friendly beach is easily accessible and has a range of facilities, including showers, lifeguards, and beach volleyball courts. Its shallow waters make it suitable for children, and there are plenty of cafés and ice cream shops nearby to grab a snack or refreshment.

52. Plage de l’Épluchures

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For a unique and alternative beach experience, visit Plage de l’Épluchures. Situated on the Frioul Islands, a short ferry ride from Marseille, this beach is made up of pebbles and seashells rather than sand. Despite its unconventional texture, the beach offers stunning views of the turquoise waters and the surrounding islands. It’s an excellent spot for sunbathing, swimming, and snorkeling.