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Things to do in Marseille

Catch a game at Stade Vélodrome

Even if you don't enjoy football, a visit to Marseille's infamous Stade Vélodrome ( will be an unforgettable experience. Opened in 1937, its famous wave-like roof makes it one of football's most prepossessing structures, while its team Olympique Marseille has long been one of France's most successful - if unpredictable - clubs.

Cooking lessons

Miramar (tel: +33 4 91 91 41 09; on the Vieux Port is one of Marseille's most famous restaurants and widely renown for its bouillabaisse. Those keen to learn the alchemy of Marseille's most famous dish can join a cookery course, in which one of the restaurant's chefs takes participants through the step-by-step process of getting your dish to restaurant quality.

Get on your bike

Marseille's le velo ( bike hire scheme has proved popular since launch and visitors can freewheel their way through picturesque urban pockets or head for the postcard-pretty coastal roads. The machines require a debit card or - for those still living in 1976 - a cheque, and costs 1€ per day.

Go diving in the Calanques

Marseille might not be famed for its diving, but those keen to explore the teal blue waters of the Calanques can arrange to be accompanied by an instructor from DUNE World (tel: + 33 4 88 66 48 13; The best time for diving is between June and September.

Take a boat to Château d'If

Château d'If is the setting for much of Alexander Dumas's classic novel The Count Of Monte Cristo, and this work of fiction has solidified the prison island's must-visit reputation. Situated just off the entrance to the city's old port, it's easily accessible by the Frioul If Express (

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Featured Hotels


Hotel Lutetia

Conveniently located in a quiet street close to La Canebière, only 200m (656ft) from the railway station, this is a charming, comfortable hotel in the heart of Marseille, with easy metro access. Many of the rooms are more stylish than you would expect from a budget hotel.

Hipark Residences

With a choice of 114 smart apartments available for short, medium-term and longer stays, the Hipark Residences are a good alternative to the usual city-hotel options. They're in the southeast of Marseille and place an emphasis on spacious, modern design. Given the levels of comfort, they're good value.

Sofitel Marseille Vieux Port

Between the rocky headland of the Pharo and Fort St Nicolas, the indulgent Sofitel Marseille Vieux Port offers a near-unbeatable panoramic view of Marseille. The hotel has a swimming pool, eight meeting rooms (the largest of which can accommodate up to 130 people), a cocktail bar, a gastronomic restaurant and a spa.

InterContinental Marseille Hotel Dieu

Sitting imperiously over the Vieux Port from its perch near Le Panier, this 18th-century former Hotel Dieu is one of Marseille's most luxurious hotels. Most of the sleek, comfortable rooms have views of the Vieux Port, and many have balconies. There's also a renowned restaurant and a Clarins spa with an indoor pool.

Hotel Pullman Marseille Palm Beach

Located by the sea between the Vieux Port and the Convention Centre, the Hotel Pullman Marseille Palm Beach offers a unique view of the Prado Bay. It has stylish, contemporary rooms and suites, all with sea views. There's also a swimming pool, sauna, hot tub, jogging course and landing stage.

Le Petit Nice Passédat

This exquisite 19th-century villa in Hellenic style is set in lush gardens on a rocky promontory overlooking the Mediterranean. There is no denying that it's pricey, but the rooms are exceedingly comfortable and beautifully decorated, the service top notch, and the restaurant one of the best in town. The views are fabulous too.