The Chateau d'If off the coast of Marseille, France
NO CLIFF HANGERS, ONLY ADVENTURE

Cruise to Provence (Marseille), France

France's oldest city, Marseille blends ancient charm with Provencal beauty. In the morning, head to the fish market Quai des Belges, where trade has been going on for more than 2,600 years — stroll along the promenades and 18th-century warehouses, and grab a cafe au lait and a melon tarte from one of the cafes on the ground floor. Cruise to Provence and check out the Basilique Notre-Dame de la Garde: Built in the 19th century in a neo-Byzantine style, its golden statue of the Virgin and Child dominates the Marseille skyline. Then, take in the modern architecture and Mediterranean cultural artifacts at the MuCEM art museum, or see the craggy limestone cliffs of Calanques National Park, a half-hour drive outside the city.
National Language French
Currency Accepted Euro (EUR)

Things To Do in Provence (Marseille)

The steps leading up to the  Notre Dame de la Garde basilica in Marseille, France

Climb to the Heavens

The steps leading up to the Notre Dame de la Garde basilica in Marseille, France

The steps leading up to the Notre Dame de la Garde basilica in Marseille, France

Climb to the Heavens

Climb the steps to 19th-century Basilique Notre-Dame de la Garde, rising 150 meters above the water. At its peak is a large golden statue of the Virgin Mary and Child, said to watch over Marseille's maritime community. The basilica incorporates a renaissance-era fort that includes a serene chapel with ornate stained-glass windows.

The Calanques D'En Vay bay in France

Natural Drama

The Calanques D'En Vay bay in France

The Calanques D'En Vay bay in France

Natural Drama

At Calanques National Park, you'll find rough, white limestone cliffs that rise sharply above the sea. You can take a relaxing boat tour or even kayak in the area. The park stretches from Marseille to La Ciotat, where you'll encounter landscapes of lime rock and red conglomerate. The park is internationally known for its sublime landscapes, biodiversity and rich heritage.

The fountain in front of the Palais de Longchamp
The fountain in front of the Palais de Longchamp

Cultural Stroll

Make your way on foot down Boulevard Longchamp, with its posh 19th-century houses, tree-lined promenade and stunning Palais Longchamp, where you'll wander into a well-manicured park with a stately colonnade and fountain. It's also home to two of the city's finest museums, the Natural Museum and the Museum of Fine Art, both of which are well worth a stop.

Blue mussels in bouillabaisse
Blue mussels in bouillabaisse

Local Cuisine

The signature dish of Marseille is without a doubt the savory bouillabaisse. This savory fish stew is packed with an array of local seafood, including clams, white fish, mussels or lobster, and the broth is flavored with fennel and pastis, a local licorice-flavored liqueur — dive in with a crusty baguette for the full experience.

Famous soap from Marseille, France for sale at a market
Famous soap from Marseille, France for sale at a market

Shopping

Le Panier, just north of the port, dates back to 600 BC. While its colored walls, narrow streets and sunny squares once made up one of the poorest districts of the city, today it's filled with trendy independent boutiques, craft shops and galleries. Cruise to Provence and look for handmade savon de Marseille, the traditional green or white soap made with olive oil that has been exported from Marseille for centuries.

Insider's Tips
Insider's Tips
1 To the north-west you'll find L'Estaque, one of the fishing villages that inspired many of France's greatest artists in the late 19th century, including Cezanne and Monticelli.
2 Musee des Docks Romains, which covers the site of one of the world's few known Roman warehouses, is where you'll find dolia, huge ceramic jugs that can store up to two thousand liters of olive oil or wine.
3 If you've read "The Count of Monte Cristo," the name Chateau d'If might ring a bell. Visit this 16th-century castle to learn about the realities of prison life at the time of Dumas's novel. You can even take a boat here directly from the port.

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