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Marseille, the pearl of Mediterranean coastline of France! A city of rocky hills, endless coast and an ancient port has been captivating painters, poets and travellers since antiquity. France’s second largest city, Marseille has a pleasant, relaxed atmosphere, in full accordance with its sunny weather. Search for cheap air tickets to Marseille and you will not be disappointed. Archaeological sites and historic buildings, magical beaches, museums and theatres to satisfy every taste and a thrilling cocktail of cultures and perceptions make up a travel destination with a unique, distinctive personality. Book cheap hotels in Marseille and discover an extraordinary city, a French hymn to music, culture and gastronomy, with the dreamy backdrop of the Mediterranean deep blue!
Marseille is the second largest city of France and has a population of 850,000. It was back in 600 BC when Greek sailors decided to found the city of Marseille, on today’s location of the Old Port. During the 1rst century BC, Marseille supported Pompey on his conflict with Julius Caesar; as a result, when Caesar took over, he attacked the city in an extraordinary rage, excluding the port from the Roman trade routes.
Over the years, Marseille had to protect itself from bombings and potential conquerors, all due to its strategic location.
Today Marseille still counts its development and economic prosperity on trade, being one of Europe’s largest and most important ports.
The recent boom in arts and culture performances and activities, has led Marseille to gain the title of the European Cultural Capital 2013, while it keeps ranking among the top European travel destinations.
You will immediately fall in love with Marseille and nobody could blame you! Marseille is a destination that cultivates the mind and spirit, educates, entertains and relaxes visitors; above all though, Marseille welcomes warmly everyone visiting and never let them forget about their incredible stay in this beautiful French destination.
The airport of Marseille (Aéroport de Marseille Provence) is located 27 kilometres northwest of Marseille and can be reached by bus and railway.
Getting around Marseille
You can get around Marseille by metro (2 lines), tramway (2 lines) and buses. Fares start at 1.70€ and minimum taxi fare costs 2.00€.
Head to the Old Port of Marseille and stroll around La Canebière, Marseille’s most popular road. This road, whose name means something like “a can of beer”, was the centre of the social life of British sailors back in the 19t century and today still bustles with life and people of many different nationalities and cultures.
West of the Old Port, you’ll find the Abbey of St. Victor, the legendary monastery honouring St. Victor, built upon the foundations of an ancient necropolis. The abbey dates back to around 400 AD, during the late Roman era and has played a crucial role in the establishment of Christianity in Marseille.
Continue south of the Old Port, to the Le Panier quarter; this is the oldest neighbourhood of Marseille and, filled with cobbled streets and colourful traditional houses, is a marvellous place to spend your afternoon.
Of such beauty and charm is Le Panier, that people call it the “Monmartre of Marseille”!
At the top of Le Panier’s hill, a visit to La Vieille Charité is worth your attention. Built by sculptor Pierre Pugot in the 17th century, the building served as a shelter for the poor and now houses the Museum of Mediterranean Archaeology and the Museum of African, Oceanian and American Art.
Head to the tiny isle opposite the port and visit the Château d’If, the picturesque castle built once to reinforce the defence of the city.
Alexandre Dumas placed his hero, the Count of Monte Cristo on the Château d’If!
The Julien quarter extends over the southern side of the city and this is where you’ll find most of the cafes, concert halls, boutiques and parks. Do visit the Musée de la Faience, France’s largest porcelain museum, dedicated to a special kind of pottery named faience. The museum is housed in the Château Pastré and include collections dating back to the Neolithic era!
Your final stop would definitely be the Notre Dame de la Garde, a church-symbol of Marseille, perched on the highest point of the city. Decorated with impressive murals, this is the church of the sailors, praying for their safe passage through the sea.