Weekend in Marseille
Founded by the Greeks as far back as 600 BC, Marseille is the oldest city in France. A lively, sparkling city, chaotic enough and, above all, truly beautiful. Art, culture, history and gastronomy for a fantastic Weekend in Marseille.
A city that offers several unmissable views. Beautiful beaches and spectacular nature that reaches its maximum expression in the Calanchi, a wonderful coastal stretch up to Cassis, with cliffs overlooking the sea.
WHAT TO SEE IN A WEEKEND IN MARSEILLE
You say Marseille and immediately think of the sea. And it couldn’t be otherwise. Vieux Port represents the soul and the beating heart of the city. The liveliness and liveliness, the maritime vocation of the Marseillais.
The Port is the ideal place to discover the city during a weekend in Marseille. The Old Port is full of clubs, bars, restaurants. Stop by the sea and try some of the typical dishes of the city; to try the bouillabasse is an excellent fish soup, a house specialty. And, staying on the subject of gastronomy, try the Marseillaise mussels, seasoned with tomatoes. The Porto Vecchio is also the ideal place for fun. Here, people love to have fun until late hours; you are spoiled for choice between bars, pubs and discos. Do not miss, however, a nice glass of Pastis. Since 1910, the Bar La Samaritaine has become a regular appointment, a real institution in Marseille.
If you have time and desire, you can stretch out towards Rue de Bir Hakeim, with the shops and the Lafayette stores. Or on the Canabière, once the site of the cultivation of hemp, and today the main artery of the city. You will find many beautiful buildings, shops, art and culture.
From the Vieux Port, walking briefly along Quai du Port, you reach Fort St. Jean, a majestic Fort located at the beginning of the port. During the period of the Crusades, it was used to transport troops to the Holy Land.
On the opposite side you can see Fort St. Nicolas, another citadel located at the entrance to the port, born two centuries later to control the population. The two Forts were joined by a bridge which was destroyed during the Second World War. Don’t miss the Tour du Roy René and the Tour du Fanal, which formerly served as a lighthouse. From the Fort you can enjoy a wonderful view of the city.
A few steps from the Fort stands the Church of Saint-Laurent, with an extraordinary position on the Old Port. It is the oldest Christian place in the whole city, built where there were the first Greek settlements. A must see place in Marseille.
In 2013 Marseille was elected European Capital of Culture. During this time, the city has seen cultural activities and events flourish in an incredible way. Truly wonderful places and exhibits. This is the case of MuCem, the Museum of European and Mediterranean Civilizations.
It is an interesting exhibition space that is spread over an area of 45 thousand square meters, right at the entrance to the Old Port and Saint Jean. There is an important permanent exhibition and several temporary exhibitions ranging from anthropology to archeology and contemporary history. Many French museums have made their contribution through works and collections. Also not to be missed is the walk along the suspended walkway that directly reaches the Place d’Armes of Fort St-Jean.
The museum is open every day, Monday to Sunday, from 10:00 to 19:00. From June to September, from 10:00 to 20:00. In winter it closes at 18:00. Access to the walkway is allowed up to 30 minutes before closing.
The standard fare ticket costs €11. Reduced, €7.50. Very interesting is the Family Ticket which at a cost of €18 allows access to 2 adults and up to 5 children under the age of 18.
RIVE NEUVE AND PARC DU PHARO
Facing the port, on the opposite side of Saint-Jean, the Rive Neuve is another particularly lively and animated place. Between splendid squares and elegant buildings, you can stop for a break at one of the many typical restaurants. You can stop for lunch or, if you prefer, find something quick to eat. There are many supermarkets nearby; a baguette filled according to your tastes is not to be ignored. Before, or after the stop, in the nearby Place Saint-Victor, in Rue Saint, do not miss the beautiful Abbaye Saint-Victor; an ancient abbey founded in the fifth century near the tombs of the martyrs. Of the ancient complex, the beautiful church remains, which is worth a visit for its splendid interiors.
After Fort Saint-Nicholas is the splendid and historic Palace and Park du Pharo. The complex was built in the nineteenth century. at the behest of Napoleon III for Queen Eugénie. Today it is a center for congresses and events. The peaceful park offers a spectacular view of the Old Port and the city. The gardens are open every day from 07 to 21 (in summer it closes at 22).
Photo ©, François Schwarz
Le Panier, the most famous district of Marseille, once a disreputable place in a state of absolute abandonment, subsequently redeveloped. Today, among the various places, workshops of artists, painters and potters you can admire a real mix of different traditions and cultures.
In the heart of the district stands the Vieille Charité, another place not to be missed during the Marseille Weekend. The complex groups within it different multicultural Marseille structures; museums, associations, schools, cinemas and much more. Many, and excellent, proposals throughout the year including activities, exhibitions, and temporary exhibitions. The building and architecture are very beautiful. The méditerranéenne museum of archeology, housed on the first floor, exhibits objects of Egyptian and classical antiquity; on the tenth floor, you will find the musée d’arts africains, océaniens et amérindiens (MAAOA). For a short break, there is in the complex, Charité Café.
The complex is open all year round, from Monday to Sunday, in winter from 10:00 to 18:00, and in summer from 10:00 to 19:00. The ticket costs €6 at full rate and €3.00 reduced. FREE EVERY FIRST SUNDAY OF THE MONTH.
SACRED PLACES OF THE WEEKEND IN MARSEILLE
The Cathedral of St Marie and the splendid Basilica of Notre Dame de la Garde are among the religious symbols of the city, and of what to see in Marseille.
The marvelous Sainte Marie Majeure Cathedral is an impressive church built in 1896 and considered a national monument. The view of its silhouette from Quai de la Tourette is beautiful. A neo-Byzantine style church with dimensions comparable to those of San Pietro in Rome. The Marseillais like to call it simply as “La Majeure”.
It is located a short distance from the Town Hall and the Le Panier district. It is open every day, except Tuesdays, from 10am to 5.30pm, and in summer until 6.30pm.
The Basilica of Notre Dame de la Garde is one of the sacred places not to be missed in a Marseille Weekend. Built in Byzantine style, it is dominated by the statue of the Madonna and stands in a privileged position overlooking the city. The Basilica is in fact located on a 149 meter high hill, from which you can enjoy a beautiful view of the entire city. If you are around here in mid-August, do not miss the celebrations of the Assumption; the city is filled with tourists and devotees.
The basilica can be reached directly by bus, or after a nice walk to the top of the hill; give up if you are not the athletic type! By metro, you can reach Estrangine Prefecture; once you get off, you will reach your destination in just over 15 minutes on foot. The Basilica is open every day from 10:00 to 18:00. Admission is FREE.
Photo ©, Jddmano
Corniche Kennedy is the splendid promenade dedicated to President Kennedy. Another unmissable stop on a weekend in Marseille. The Corniche is the ideal place to stroll and admire the most evocative points of the city; you can see the islands, and the Port d’Orient, a monumental arch built in honor of the fallen of the First World War.
A great place to relax, stop for a swim or have lunch in one of the many clubs in the area.