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Things to see in Marseille

Tourist Offices

Office de Tourisme et des Congrès

Address: , 11 La Canebière, Marseille,
Telephone: +33 8 2650 0500.
Opening times:

Mon-Sat 0900-1900, Sun 1000-1700.

Website: http://www.marseille-tourisme.com

The tourist office has a good selection of leaflets in English covering the major places of interest in Marseille and the surrounding areas, as well as maps. There is another, smaller office at the train station.

Tourist passes

The Marseille City Pass includes free transportation (including a sightseeing train and boat trip to Chateau d'If), free entry to museums, free guided tours and discounts in selected shops. It is available for one to three days. Passes can be purchased from the tourist office or participating outlets.

Attractions

La Corniche J F Kennedy et les Plages (The Corniche and the Beaches)

La Corniche is a scenic road following the coastline from the Catalans to the enormous marble statue of David 3.5km (2 miles) further east. Keep an eye out for the Vallon des Auffes, a picturesque fishing village, before reaching the Prado beaches. The road continues to La Pointe Rouge, where more sands await.

Address: 7e, Corniche du Président John F Kennedy, Marseille,
Telephone:
Opening times:

Daily 24 hours.

Website:
Admission Fees:

No

Disabled Access: Yes
UNESCO: No

Vieux Port (Old Port)

Overlooked by Fort St Nicholas and Fort St Jean, and thronged with masts, Vieux Port is the heart of Marseille. It's a great place simply to stroll and soak up the atmosphere, especially among its many quayside restaurants. Marseille's lively fish market takes place here daily on Quai des Belges.

Address: 1e, Vieux Port, Marseille,
Telephone:
Opening times:

Daily 24 hours.

Website:
Admission Fees:

No

Disabled Access: Yes
UNESCO: No

Notre Dame de la Garde

Occupying Marseille's highest point, 147m (482ft) above sea level, the neo-Byzantine basilica was built in the 19th century. Nicknamed Bonne Mère (good mother), it is topped by a gilded statue of the Virgin, who is said to bestow protection on fishermen. The mosaics are particularly beautiful, and there are magnificent views.

Address: , Rue Fort du Sanctuaire, Marseille,
Telephone: +33 4 9113 4080.
Opening times:

Daily 0700-1900.

Website: http://www.notredamedelagarde.com
Admission Fees:

No

Disabled Access: No
UNESCO: No

Musée des Civilisations de l’Europe et de la Méditerranée (Museum of European and Mediterranean Civilisations)

Built in 2013 to celebrate Marseille's year as the European Capital of Culture, this audaciously designed gallery in the rejuvenated docks district puts on exhibits from all over the Mediterranean. Use the footbridge connecting it to Fort Saint Jean to explore the rooftop terrace before descending via the glassed-in external staircase.

Address: 2e, 1 esplanade du J4, Marseille,
Telephone: +33 4 8435 1313.
Opening times:

Wed-Mon 1100-1900 (summer); Wed-Mon 1100-1800 (winter).

Website: http://www.mucem.org
Admission Fees:

For exhibitions only

Disabled Access: Yes
UNESCO: No

Cité Radieuse

Built between 1947 and 1952 by famed architect Le Corbusier, the Cité Radieuse (literally 'radiant city') is a housing development in the southern suburbs of Marseille. For architecture buffs, it's virtually unmissable – it was the first of Le Corbusier's Unités d'Habitation and houses some 1,500 residents as well as a hotel, church and rooftop garden.

Address: 8e, Cité Radieuse de Marseille, Boulevard Michelet, Marseille,
Telephone: +33 8 2650 0500 (for tours).
Opening times:

Daily 0900-1800 (guided tours Tue-Sat 1400 and 1600).

Website: http://www.marseille-citeradieuse.org
Admission Fees:

No

Disabled Access: Yes
UNESCO: No

Parc Borély

Situated halfway between Le Prado and the Corniche, Parc Borély is a tranquil expanse of greenery complete with a duck-filled lake and rowing boats for hire. There is also a botanical garden, a rose garden and even a chateau. Cycling is allowed in the park, with bicycles for hire at the entrance.

Address: 8e, 551 avenue du Prado, Marseille,
Telephone: +33 4 9176 5938.
Opening times:

Daily 0600-2100.

Website:
Admission Fees:

No

Disabled Access: Yes
UNESCO: No

Le Panier and the Vieille Charité

The maze of narrow streets found in the Quartier du Panier, the oldest part of Marseille, lead to the Vieille Charité, a pretty set of 17th-century buildings. Today the complex is an art centre, with two museums, several art galleries, a cinema, a café, a restaurant and a bookshop.

Address: 2e, 2 rue de la Charité, Marseille,
Telephone: +33 4 9125 0107 (cinema); +33 4 9114 5880 (museums).
Opening times:

Tue-Sun 1100-1800 (Jun-Sep); Tue-Sun 1000-1700 (Oct-May).

Website: http://www.vieille-charite-marseille.org
Admission Fees:

No

Disabled Access: No
UNESCO: No

Abbaye de Saint Victor (Saint Victor Abbey)

This beautiful abbey was built in the 5th century on the burial place of Saint Victor, a Roman martyr. The abbey was destroyed several times over the years, until being fortified by Pope Urban V in the 14th century. The crypt is particularly atmospheric. The abbey regularly hosts concerts of religious music.

Address: 7e, 3 rue de l'Abbaye, Marseille,
Telephone: +33 4 9611 2260.
Opening times:

Daily 0900-1900.

Website: http://www.saintvictor.net
Admission Fees:

Yes (crypt only)

Disabled Access: No
UNESCO: No

Muséum d’Histoire Naturelle de Marseille

This natural history museum does what it says on the tin - and in some detail too. There are permanent exhibits looking at the evolution of man and fossil specimens found in Provence, but the most eye-catching element of the attraction is the Safari Museum, which showcases some 300 mounted animals.

Address: 4e, Palais Longchamp, Marseille,
Telephone: +33 4 9114 5950.
Opening times:

Tue-Sun 1000-1800.

Website: http://www.museum-marseille.org
Admission Fees:

Yes (free on Sun mornings)

Disabled Access: Yes
UNESCO: No

Stade Vélodrome et Musée de l'OM (Velodrome Stadium and OM Museum)

Football is sacred in Marseille, and an Olympique de Marseille home match is an exhilarating way of experiencing the local character in its most unbridled form. The stadium is also the setting for large-scale concerts and festivals. Next door is a museum for footie fans, with plenty of information on Les Phocéens.

Address: 8e, 3 boulevard Michelet, Marseille,
Telephone: +33 4 1364 6471.
Opening times:

See website for fixtures.

Website: http://www.lenouveaustadevelodrome.com
Admission Fees:

Yes

Disabled Access: Yes
UNESCO: No

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Featured Hotels

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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.

Le Corbusier

Architecture buffs will relish the opportunity to stay at this hotel located within Le Corbusier's post-war vision of the future: the Cité Radieuse. While many of the hotel's 21 rooms are on the small side, they are comfy enough, and the rooftop garden offers seascapes to die for.

Grand Hotel Beauvau Marseille Vieux Port

Overlooking the Vieux Port, this is one of the oldest hotels in Marseille, established in 1860. Many famous writers have stayed here, including George Sand (who eloped here with Chopin in 1839). Its air-conditioned, soundproofed rooms feature Provençal-style furniture, and many come with balconies and views of the port.