France

Things to do in Marseille

As the second largest city in France, there are plenty of things to do in Marseille to keep you entertained when you visit.

As the oldest city in the country, you may not be surprised to know that many of the things to do in Marseille include discovering the destination’s impressive history.

Located on the sunny and sophisticated French Riviera, Marseille is a popular spot for those searching for a break that is both stylish and classy, and with a number of beaches, eateries, and a great nightlife on offer it is easy to see why so many people travel here.

It takes around 10 hours to drive from Calais to Marseille, but with places like Reims and Lyon to stop off at en route you can make an adventure out of your journey and discover a few more of France's gems along the way.

DVR

Dover Port

CQF

Calais Port

Morning

01:35

05:05

07:00

10:00

Midday

11:30

Afternoon

14:30

16:10

Evening

19:10

20:50

23:55

Vieux Port in Marseille, France

Things to do in Marseille

Explore Impressive Buildings
One of the most fascinating things to do in Marseille is to explore some of the impressive buildings that are scattered around the city. Due to its age, you will find examples of a whole range of different types of architecture from a number of periods in Marseille which make it especially interesting.

The Notre Dame de la Garde sits on top of a hill overlooking both the city and the sea, so not only is the building impressive itself, but the views it offers are simply amazing too. The interior of the basilica has been decorated with mosaics, murals, and coloured marble, plus there is a 9.7m tall gilded statue of ‘La Bonne Mère’ on a 12m-high pedestal to admire.

Marseille Cathedral, or Cathedrale de la Major, is also worth a visit as it is a national monument of France and the only cathedral built in the country during the 19th century. The building itself is fascinating as it is actually made from two buildings combined: Old Major and New Major. Old Major was built in the 4th century so has survived for many years, and the cathedral can hold 3,000 people which tells you just how large and impressive the building is.
 
Cathedral Saint Mary Major in Marseille

Marseille Port in France

Discover Marseille’s Culture

Marseille’s rich history means that every part of the city has a story to tell, and you can easily immerse yourself into its culture by visiting some of its most vibrant and energetic areas.

No trip to Marseille is complete without a trip to the Vieux Port, the old port, which is the perfect place to sit and relax while you watch the world go by. Each day you will see fishermen bringing in their haul to be sold at the seafood market, and there are plenty of lovely restaurants where you can indulge in delicious seafood dishes which have been expertly cooked for you.

Another area of Marseille where you will find lots to see and do is Le Panier, a lively and atmospheric place that claims to be the oldest urban quarter in Marseille. Spend time wandering around boutiques and craft shops, explore museums, admire impressive street art, and even see where Napoleon used to live.

Museums in Marseille

You’d expect the oldest city in France to have a number of museums to explore, and Marseille doesn’t disappoint. One of the most interesting museums in the city is the MuCEM, which covers everything you could ever wish to know about Mediterranean culture and history. The museum offers information through exhibitions, short films, and lectures, and is spread out across three buildings, the newest of which has a modern and contemporary design.

Art fans shouldn’t miss the chance to visit the Musée des Beaux Arts, which is full of paintings, drawings, and sculptures created between the 16th and 19th centuries, including work by some of the greatest Italian and French Masters. The museum also boasts a number of temporary exhibitions, and a park which is one of the few green areas in the city so can get busy during the summer months.
Parc Longchamp in Marseille

Piana Calance in France

Les Calanques

Les Calanques is a national park located along the coast between Marseille and Cassis and offers a very different experience to that of being in the city. With its limestone cliffs and picturesque bays, Les Calanques offers a great place to relax, and can only be reached via boat or kayak unless you are a confident hiker!

Nature lovers will be fascinated by the plants that have made the limestone cliffs their home, and you will be able to spot a number of different animals during your time here too. The park is closed mid-summer due to a risk of fire, but it is a beautiful place to visit any other time of the year.

With so many things to do in Marseille for history fans, seafood lovers, or those looking for a break on the French Riviera with a difference, book your Dover to Calais crossing today and discover it for yourself.

The Notre Dame de la Garde sits on top of a hill overlooking both the city and the sea, so not only is the building impressive itself, but the views it offers are also amazing

Top attraction to see in Marseille

Mucem skip-the-line entry ticket

Chamonix   .   France

Save time with a skip-the-line ticket to the Museum of European and Mediterranean Civilizations in Marseille and learn more about the history and culture of the Mediterranean basin.

Mucem Marseille
Sunset Marseille

Sunset dinner cruise from Marseille

Marseille   .   France

There’s no better way to spend an evening in Marseille than on the catamaran Le Levantin, enjoying a sunset dinner cruise. Enjoy the amazing surroundings while you savor a delicious meal.

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