Marseille Nightlife

Marseille has a dynamic live music and club scene. The best areas for nightlife in Marseille are the Vieux Port, Place Thiars and the Escale Borély, a waterfront development south of the town centre (a 20-minute ride on the bus 83), right by the sea. Also worth checking out is Cours Julien, a square lined with cafés and restaurants in the La Plaine area.

For nightlife listings, check out Sortir, in local daily paper La Provence (www.laprovence.com), and L'Officiel des Loisirs, both out every Wednesday. Otherwise Vox Mag is a free fortnightly publication with listings, available from La Fnac, Virgin and many venues. A good online guide for nightlife is http://marseillebynight.com (French only).

To buy tickets for events online, try La Fnac (www.fnac.com), Virgin (www.virginmega.fr), FranceBillet (www.francebillet.com) or Ticketnet (www.ticketnet.fr). Tickets are also often available directly from the venues.

Bars in Marseille

Bar de la Marine

A centrally located nightlife institution in Marseille, on the south of the Vieux Port, Bar de la Marine is renowned for – among other things – being the venue used by celebrated novelist and filmmaker Marcel Pagnol for the card-party scenes in cult 1930s film Marius. Expect busy tables, an eclectic crowd and a lengthy drinks list.

Address:
15 quai de Rive Neuve, 1e, Marseille, France
Telephone: 04 9154 9542.
Café de la Plage

A swanky cocktail bar facing the sea near the Prado beaches, Café de la Plage is popular with a hip (and generally affluent) young surfer crowd. The view is as big a selling point as the cocktail list, while the music selection generally offers much the kind of trendy playlist you’d expect from somewhere to see and be seen.

Address:
Avenue Pierre Mendès, 8e, Marseille, France
Telephone: 04 9171 2176.
Le Canebière

Sitting just off the Vieux Port in a prime spot on La Canebière, this unpretentious bar welcomes a good mix of locals and tourists with its pavement seating and through-the-day brasserie service. It’s open seven days a week from 0600 to 0200 and broadcasts almost all major sporting events, including football, rugby and Formula One. There’s internet access too.

Address:
3 La Canebière, 1e, Marseille, France
Telephone: 04 9190 1263.

Clubs in Marseille

Le Mystik

Located more than 5km (3 miles) from the centre of Marseille, Le Mystik is a techno-centric nightspot popular with a studenty crowd from the nearby university campus. It’s open from 2300 until 0600, and the décor is the standard continental nightclub chic – it’s somewhere to come for an upbeat dance set rather than a relaxed tipple or two.

Address:
141 route Léon Lachamp, 9e, Marseille, France
Telephone: 04 9141 3885.
Le Trolleybus

Situated in what was originally a 17th-century weapons store, Le Trolleybus has been a fixture on Marseille’s nightlife scene since opening in 1989. There are four separate spaces – Whiskybar, Trollybar, Terminus and Abribus – which between them serve up a mixture of house, electro, funk, soul, pop and rock. It covers all bases, in other words, which is one of the main reasons it continues to draw good numbers.

Address:
24 quai de Rive Neuve, 7e, Marseilles, France
Telephone: 04 9154 3045.
The New Cancan

Billing itself as ‘Marseille’s best gay club’, The New Cancan is open from Thursday to Sunday and has been established for 20 years. There are regular themed nights – ranging from Halloween spectacles to anniversary celebrations – while occasional big-name musical acts add to the appeal. The owners are also responsible for MP Sauna on La Canebière.

Address:
3-7 rue Sénac, 1e, Marseille, France
Telephone: 04 9148 5976.

Live Music in Marseille

Dock des Suds

If you’re looking for an emblem of Marseille’s multiculturalism, this is the place to head. Dock des Suds specialises in world music – it’s an expansive venue showcasing artists from as far afield as Cameroon, South Korea and the Democratic Republic of Congo, and offers an affordable way of experiencing a colourful slice of the city’s music scene.

Address:
12 rue Urbain V, 2e, Marseille, France
Telephone: 04 9199 0000.
Espace Julien

With a schedule boasting everything from French music and jazz to hip-hop and local talent, Espace Julien is a theatre venue with a rich cabaret atmosphere and a lively reputation. It’s more than just a live music spot in Marseille, dedicating its space to rehearsals, lessons and other cultural goings-on on a regular basis.

Address:
39 cours Julien, 6e, Marseille, France
Telephone: 04 9124 3410.
La Caravelle

Part bar, part restaurant and part gig venue, La Caravelle is a bustling, welcoming little nightspot in Marseille, set on the first floor of one of the grand buildings overlooking the Vieux Port. It’s a firm favourite with the city’s jazz fans, with live acts every Wednesday and Friday. There’s a small cover charge. A narrow balcony provides a great vantage spot onto the harbour outside – if you’re able to bag a table, that is.

Address:
34 quai du Port, Vieux Port, 2e, Marseille, France
Telephone: 04 9190 3664.

Classical Music in Marseille

Cité de la Musique

Marseille’s Cité de la Musique is the home of several local music associations, featuring concerts of all kinds, from jazz to baroque music. There are more than 2,200 students, with eight teaching sites and nearly 200 concerts and events annually. Its three stages regularly play host to memorable performances.

Address:
4 rue Bernard du Bois, 1e, Marseille, France
Telephone: 04 9139 2828.
La Friche La Belle de Mai

A hub for artistic projects and cultural exchange, La Friche La Belle de Mai is located in a 40,000-sq-m (430,560-sq-ft) former tobacco factory. It gives space for everything from recording sessions to theatre workshops, and more than 50 staff from different cultural organisations are employed on the site, which is open to the public. See the website for more details.

Address:
41 rue Jobin, 3e, Marseille, France
Telephone: 04 9504 9504.

Opera in Marseille

Opéra de Marseille

Also known as the Opéra Municipal, the present-day Marseille opera house dates back to 1924, although the original building stood in the city since 1787 before being destroyed by fire. In its current form, its urn-shaped auditorium has enough seating for 1,800, and its calendar includes regularly changing performances.

Address:
2 rue Molière, 1e, Marseille, France
Telephone: 04 9155 1110.

Theatre in Marseille

Théatre National de la Criée

The main theatre in Marseille showcases a wide variety of productions often tending towards the edgy and contemporary. It’s set in a surprisingly ornate former fish auction house and still retains an old-time grandeur.

Address:
30 quai Rive Neuve, 7e, Marseille, France
Telephone: 04 9154 7054.
Edited by Tina Banerjee
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