Marseille tourist information.
Marseille, the biggest Mediterranean port and the economic hub of the Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur region, has been a crossroads of immigration and trade since its founding by the Phoenicians in 600 B.C.E. It’s a place of tranquil squares and stepped streets, bustling 19th-century avenues and souklike markets. At its heart is the Vieux Port, where fishmongers sell their daily catch along the boat-lined quayside. La Canebière, the main thoroughfare, runs east from here.
Le Vieux Port
A Ferry Boat crosses the Old Harbour (Vieux Port). It is a tourist attraction in itself known as the shortest commercial boat ride in Europe. Several other ferries propose connexions with L’Estaque, Les Goudes, La Pointe-Rouge and Le Frioul. They cost 10€ return trip but a 1 week RTM transportation pass (13€) comprises them (except Frioul island) which is very interesting. Also there are several companies proposing boat tours of the Calanque, like mini-cruises.
The Panier district
Once gritty and run-down, the increasingly trendy Panier district in the heart of the city is delineated by the 17th-century Fort Saint-Jean at its southern tip, and the unmissable Museum of European and Mediterranean Civilisations (MuCEM). The museum can be reached by a walkway that connects the fort to the roof and terrace of the modern building – mixing the old and new has become a leitmotif of the city.
Notre Dame de la Garde
Basilique de Nôtre-Dame de la Garde is the big church which overlooks the city. Old fishermen used to have their boats blessed in this church. You can still see many boat models hanging around in the church. From there it is one of the nicest view of the city. You can use the tourist train from the Vieux Port to reach the church – you can get off the train, look around and board a later train back to the port.
Le Chateau d’If
Located on the island of If, Le Chateau d’If is France’s very own Alcatraz, built in 1527 and used as a prison in the 17th century. The “château” is a square, three-story building 28 m (92 ft) long on each side, flanked by three towers with large gun embrasures. This place was the inspiration for Alexandre Dumas’ novel, “The Count of Monte Cristo”.
Several beaches exist in Marseille. The most typical are Catalans, Prophètes, Pointe-Rouge and Corbières. However, after a big rain, some of them might be polluted and then closed. Nice places to swim and relax on the sea are also to be found on the Corniche, on the rocks ahead of Vallon des Auffes, and next to the military camp in Malmousque.