things to do in marseille france bakery

Our list of the best things to do in Marseille France will give you a good understanding of this city.

Believed to be the bridge between North Africa and Europe, Marseille is a melting pot of cultures.

Here are 5 of the Best Things to Do in Marseille France

Travel Tip – Get the Marseille City Pass for free access to several museums, a guided tour and free access to public transport. This pass is a good option to cover the best things to do in Marseille in one day.

The list below also covers the best things to do in Marseille cruise port if you only have a couple of hours to spare.

1) Stroll around the Vieux Port

Best things to do in Marseille France Vieux Port
One of the best things to do in Marseille France is to stroll around the Vieux Port (Old Port)

The Vieux Port (Old Harbour) is the beating heart of Marseille. If you stroll down here early morning, you may see the freshly caught fish being sold by small vendors in front of the port.

It’s a fantastic photo opportunity and a great place to watch locals shop and barter for the freshest seafood.

From here, you are in the centre of the city’s old town, an ideal location to then make your way to the city’s main attractions.

If you’re up for it, return here in the evening for the spectacular sunsets during summer.


2) Eat Bouillabaisse

Things to do in Marseille Eat Bouillabaisse
Things to do in Marseille – Eat Bouillabaisse, the famous seafood soup

This is Marseille’s renowned and traditional dish, hard to pronounce, but a dish that packs loads of flavour! Seafood lovers adore this soup and combined with world-class French cooking techniques and the freshest seafood arriving each day at the port, you can bet this dish will please.

Ingredients to prepare bouillabaisse range from numerous types of seafood. Fish, crab, shrimp, lobster, mussels, or whatever is caught fresh that morning. A medley of vegetables and seasonings such as onions, garlic, and fresh herbs and added to create more layers of flavour.

We are crazy about all the food in Europe; we even created this Food Map of Europe that highlights the food of each country on the old continent.

Enjoy a steaming bowl of bouillabaisse, a basket of freshly cut baguettes, and a glass of wine by the port. Without a doubt, one of the best things to do in Marseille France.

3) Visit the oldest district in Marseille, Le Panier

things to do in marseille france Le Panier
Best things to do in Marseille France – Wander around the old district of Le Panier

Snuggled between the Vieux Port and the neighbourhood of La Joliette is Le Panier. One of the best things to do in Marseille is simply to wander around this district to admire the frescoes on the buildings as the roads curl around to reveal another cute street.

Photographers love this area for its colours and character. It gives you a good perspective of how Marseille used to be back in the day, remembering that this is France’s oldest city. 

I’d recommend walking through the north side of the Vieux Port harbour at the Quai du Port, then continuing up La Canebière, a lively boulevard that hums with activity. This neighbourhood was one of my favourite things to see in Marseille.

Discover gourmet food spots, quaint art galleries, and local boutique shops. If you’re interested in trying some authentic Algerian cuisine, there are some great little restaurants around here to serve you the real deal.

If you’re not too sure what Algerian food is all about, I wrote a post about 10 delicious Algerian dishes you must try after spending several weeks exploring this highly underrated country.

Once you’ve finished taking in all the charm of Le Panier, head towards Cathedrale La Major (Marseille Cathedral).  

Did you know that Marseille is a hub for cheap flights in/out of Algeria? It makes sense as it’s quite close by. We scored some cheap flights with Volotea airline by booking them on Skyscanner. 

Check out the Algeria Page on our travel blog for more blogs posts on what to see, do and eat in Algeria if you decide to visit.

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4) Visit Marseille Cathedral 

things to do in marseille france Marseille Cathedral
Best things to do in Marseille France – Visit Marseille Cathedral

This is one of the city’s most significant buildings, and the cathedral is beautiful. Looking out to the Mediterranean sea, views from here are spectacular.

The Cathedral is constructed by multiple domed towers, the highest tower reaching 16m tall. The mosaics and murals are striking. Built between the 12th and 19th centuries, the white and green limestone pattern on the exterior reminds me of one of my favourite structures in Italy, the incredible Duomo in Florence. 

This Cathedral is an architectural jewel, you shouldn’t miss it. Another bonus for visitors to the Cathedral is that entry is FREE. See, the best things to do in Marseille France don’t need to break the bank.

5) Visit Palais Longchamp, the oldest museum in Marseille

best things to do in Marseille France Palais Longchamp
Best things to do in Marseille France – Visit Palais Longchamp

The stunning Palais Longchamp is the site of the oldest museum in Marseille, Musée des Beaux-Arts (museum of fine arts). The gallery is home to an outstanding collection of 17th and 18th-century paintings, sculptures, and drawings.

In addition to the captivating art, the palace also has a magnificent park that locals frequently visit to appreciate the green gardens. It’s one of the only places like this in the city.

The best approach is to go from Canebière station up towards Palais Longchamp.

I’d recommend it as one of the best things to do in Marseille France, whether travelling solo, with friends or family.

Where to Stay in Marseille

Now that you know what to do in Marseille, France, let’s suggest where to stay in Marseille.

Marseille is quite a pricey city in terms of finding decent accommodation. As with most of France, rooms are generally small unless you’re prepared to splash out a little and pay more.

We’ve included our recommendations below for any budget for the best-rated hotels in unbeatable locations. 

Budget Hotel: Meininger Marseille Centre la Joliette– Comfortable, affordable, friendly staff and in a great location – this hotel offers good value for money.

Mid-Range Hotel: Hôtel Maison Saint Louis – Vieux Port – Well located in central Marseille, just 400m from the Old Port. This hotel was fully renovated in 2019 and offers guests a comfortable stay in Marseille.

High-End Hotel: Maisons du Monde Hôtel & Suites – Overlooking the Old Port, this classy hotel is in an excellent location, right in the heart of Marseille. Boulevard La Canebière is just 400m away, where public transport is available to all of Marseille’s attractions.

View ALL Accommodation Options in Marseille

Recommended Tours in Marseille

If you’re short on time or want someone else to take the reins and show you the best things to do in Marseille, then check out these popular tours below.

Of course, there are more things to do in Marseille; however, we hope this list lets you discover this exciting city. What would you add to our list of things to do in Marseille, France?