Marseille is an ancient and beautiful port city located in the southeast of France. Marseille is also the second largest city in France in terms of area. It is also considered the oldest city in France. Therefore, Marseille has a long history and impressive landmarks. So, is Marseille worth visiting, what to do in Marseille and how to plan a perfect budget trip to Marseille for the first-time? Let’s check out our Marseille travel blog (Marseille blog) with the fullest Marseille travel guide (Marseille guide, Marseille visitor guide, Marseille France travel guide, Marseille tourist guide, Marseille city guide) from how to get there, best time to come, where to stay, best places to visit, what to eat and top things to do in Marseille to find out the answer!

This port city has witnessed the harmony of people and cultures for thousands of years. Marseille shows a flashy, modern look especially from dusk to night. | marseille travel blog
| marseille travel blog

Referring to France, everyone will think of the famous Eiffel Tower in the city of love Paris. However, in addition to the fame of Paris, France is also known through the port city of Marseille – which is the first port city by the French Mediterranean and the capital of the Department of Bouches-du-Rhône in Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur region. In 2013, this city was also selected as the “European Capital of Culture” because of its long history and rich culture and identity.

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Marseille travel blog: Overview of Marseille

Marseille location on France map | marseille travel blog

Marseille is not only the first French port city on the blue and sunny Mediterranean coast, blue and sunny, but also a major commercial center of France, the second largest in area after Paris.

In addition to being appreciated by the fresh nature and charming scenery, the city of Marseille also attracts tourists by its rich history and culture alike. This place is known as one of the oldest cities in France and Europe with the age of over 2,600 years. Marseille was found in 600 BC, during this period the city was ruled by the Roman Empire. It was not until the 15th century and later that Marseille became a part of France.

Beautiful coastal city by the Mediterranean | marseille travel blog

Experiencing fierce wars, Marseille had a period of time being destroyed by the German and Italian armies by burning bombs. In the 1950s, the city was restored after the liberation of the French army in 1944, the governments of East Germany, West Germany and Italy had to pay large sums of money to support the rebuilding of Marseille. From 1950 onwards, the city of Marseille has always been vibrant with bustling ports of trade and development to this day.

This port city is surrounded by the deep blue Mediterranean to the west, the beautiful coves (Calanques) to the south, the blue coastline to the north that was brought in his paintings by painter Paul Cézanne, the son of this land. As one of the oldest cities in Europe, born 2,600 years ago, Marseille possesses ancient, ravishing architectural works, and also appears in the national anthem of France, named La Marseillaise, composed by engineer officer Rouget de Lisle in 1792.

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| marseille travel blog
| marseille travel blog

Marseille travel blog: When to visit?

Marseille is a city located in a region affected by the Mediterranean climate. Most of the year in Marseille are sunny days with relatively stable and pleasant weather and climate, with an average temperature of about 15.9 degrees Celsius.

The hottest time of the year falls in July and August, the average temperature fluctuates between 28-30 degrees Celsius during the day and about 19 degrees Celsius at night. Marseille is also known as the city with the most hours of sunshine in France with 2,900 hours per year, while the national average is around 1,950. It is very rare to see snow in the city of Marseille, about 50 years ago there was no snowfall. The atmosphere in this city is extremely cool and suitable for relaxing trips.

The rainy season starts from October to December, summer falls from June to September. Winter is the coldest, lasts from December to February. Tourists should choose to visit Marseille in spring, summer or autumn.

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Marseille travel guide: How to get to Marseille?

Marseille central station | marseille travel guide

Marseille is an attractive destination when you have the opportunity to travel to France, located about 800km southeast of Paris, but moving is not difficult. You can travel easily and conveniently by means of high-speed train or bus with only 3 hours traveling by high-speed train or 10 sitting in a car, you can set foot in this beautiful city.

Getting around Marseille

Marseille, like many other developed cities in France, has a fairly modern and convenient public transport system, Marseille is also surrounded by a system of buses, trams and metro. Marseille has: 2 metro lines M1, M2, 2 tram lines T2, T3, and nearly 80 bus lines. You can choose any kind of vehicle you like.

Marseille tramway | marseille travel guide
Tram, metro map | marseille travel guide

Tickets for buses, trams and subways you can easily buy and find at stations, cafes or can buy right on the vehicle you will take. You can buy multiple tickets at one time if you intend to travel multiple times.

The subway stop at 10:30PM on weekdays and operates until 0:30AM on Fridays, Saturdays and Sunday evenings. The tram system operates until 0:30AM throughout the week. And most bus lines do not operate after 9pm. After 9pm, you can travel by taxi or use the popular ride-share services in Europe such as BlaBlaCar or Uber, to save your budget.

By foot is also great way to explore Marseille | marseille travel guide

Operating hours:

  • Autobus: From 5am-6pm to 9pm
  • Metro: From 5am to 0:30am
  • Tramway: From 5am to 0:30am

In addition, you can register for Train Touristique at Vieux Port with 2 routes to visit Le Panier (Old Town) and Basilique Notre Dame de la Garde (I recommand the 2nd line).

Marseille travel blog: Where to go?

Old Port (Vieux Port)

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As the France’s largest port city, the ancient port of Le Vieux Port (also known as Old Port) is the anchorage of thousands of domestic and foreign ships, boats – an important economic center of the city. By the time Marseille was discovered more than 2,600 years ago, that was also the time when Vieux Port was established. During the Roman and Renaissance periods, the ancient port of Vieux Port was extended along the North Sea coast and to this day the port is mainly used as a place of relaxation for the inhabitants of the city.

The seaport is considered the heart of the city of Marseille. This is the pride of every city dweller. The atmosphere at the seaport is always noisy, bustling and busy with markets selling all kinds of different goods.

| marseille travel guide
| marseille travel guide

If you have leisure time, you can walk along the Vieux Port, watch the romantic blue beach under the bright sunlight of summer, to enjoy more of the magnificent immensity of the Mediterranean coast.

In addition, at the seaport, there is an area with many stalls selling unique souvenirs and handicrafts. You can visit and buy special souvenirs for your loved ones.

If there is anything to say about Marseille from the first words, it is the ancient port (Vieux Port) with historical stories from a long time ago. If you only have half a day to explore Marseille, it is reasonable to go around this ancient port with a route as follows.

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Vieux Port is easy to spot with a giant ferris wheel that looks like another one in Sun Park and the Hôtel de Ville stands facing the seaport. Hôtel de ville de Marseille is very special in that there are no stairs connecting the 1st and 2nd floors. If you want to go down from the 2nd floor, you will have another path through the back to go out. Legend has it that in the past, the first floor was the place to store the goods of fish traders and the second floor was for the government. These two organizations did not want to make noise, so they split up like that. Near the Ferris wheel you also notice a place where you often see bands performing. Raise your face and you’ll see a giant mirror where guests can raise their cameras to take pictures and it breathes a modern touch into this already ancient city.

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From the Office of Tourism on Rue Canebière, you will go around the historical museum (Musée d’Histoire de Marseille) with a very large courtyard full of archeological relics of the Roman, you will encounter the oldest street of Marseille (Voie historique de Marseille) with Rue de la République makes you feel like you are walking on the streets of Paris with closed architecture, windows not as wide as other houses in the South and very posh curved balconies. This road formerly connected the two ends of the South port and the North port of Marseille, including buildings designed by a Parisian architect, so it is so bold the northern style of France.

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Going from the ferris wheel to the right you’ll come across the anchor of the 130-year-old Ferry Boat where you can book for a cruise tour to sailing around the harbor. In the past it was free but now it has to be paid but not much. Nearby is the train touristique (tourist train) of the Office de tourisme Marseille that can take you along two routes: The old town of Le Panier and the Notre Dame de la Garde (I’ll talk about it later).

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| marseille blog

| marseille blog

Hôtel Dieu is now the Intercontinental Hôtel, (smaller and more modest than the branch in Vietnam, formerly a hospital and now turned into a hotel, always keeping the sophisticated architecture and when night falls, lights up beautifully.

The Palais de Justice is the house right behind the Hôtel de ville. It is a rare building with a little meticulous architecture because if you pay close attention you will see houses in the southern region because mainly of these workers, the architecture is simple, not many details.

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Today, although Vieux Port is no longer vibrant with trading activities, it has become an attractive tourist destination, always crowded with foreign tourists as well as sailing boats, fishing boats… floating on the blue water. You can see a Vieux Port with many unique and different colors, or you can choose for yourself a special experience by renting a boat, enjoying beautiful scenery and enjoying fresh seafood dishes.

How to get there: From Saint Charles take Metro 1 to the pier Vieux Port.

Calanques and beaches (Marseille travel blog)

Marseille is also famous for its deep, clear bays, surrounded by white cliffs that the French call the “Calanques”. The city of Marseille is surrounded by many Calanques. The ivory white rocks combined with the deep blue sea create picturesque scenes that make everyone dream of coming here once in their life.

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Away from the hustle and bustle of the city center, you will be able to see the beautiful blue turquoise Calanques, which from a distance are reminiscent of Ha Long Bay but are cleaner, with the whole bay. Ha Long was formed by rocks emerging from the sea, and here are rocks on the mainland that surrounds the cool and stunning dark blue sea.

The easiest Calanques to get to is Calanque de Sugiton. Going from Luminy, the complex of university, research institute, student house of Marseille, you can hike about 30-45 minutes to have a picnic at Calanque de Sugiton. Like MUCEM, it is not possible to go for a short trip, but if you have time, this is also a place you must definitely visit.

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As a coastal city, visitors can of course not ignore the harbors, beaches, rocky coves… The beaches in Marseille are always crowded with people passing by, sunbathing, playing in the Mediterranean water. It can be said that nature has favored this trading port too much.

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| marseille guide
| marseille guide

How to get there: Take Metro 1, 2 to Castellane, take bus 21 to Luminy and then start hiking.

Basilique Notre-Dame de la Garde

Address: Rue Fort du Sanctuaire, 13006 Marseille, France
Hours: 7AM–6PM

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In 1214, a priest of Marseilles built a small church dedicated to the Virgin Mary on the top of a hill 162m across from the city of Marseille.

The hill is known as La Garde, which leads to the name of the Basilique Notre-Dame de la Garde. From here you can have a beautiful view of the entire city in the sunset, can recognize the Saint Charles station from several of miles away. The church with quaint architecture is the symbol of the city and the statue of the Virgin Mary holding Jesus called Bonne Mère, is considered a sacred statue, protecting the residents here, especially the fishermen.

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| marseille visitor guide

To get to Notre Dame de la Garde church, visitors have to go up 170 steps, from which you can see the whole of Marseille.

How to get there: From Vieux Port, take bus 60 (in the opposite direction to MUCEM) and get off at the last stop Basilique Notre-Dame de la Garde.

Palais Longchamp

Address: Bd Jard. Zoologique, 13004 Marseille, France
Hours: 7AM–8PM

Magnificent architecture | marseille visitor guide

In the 19th century, Marseille fell into a serious water shortage, so a work honoring the water source was built here. It is the water tower Palais Longchamp. This fancy water tower has a semicircle shape with many magnificent stone columns. Inside is a large fountain with meticulous sculptures, stunning and impressive decoration.

If you like going to museums to explore the depths of Marseille, the Palais Longchamp is a very striking structure of the city. It houses the city’s art museum and natural history museum. The surrounding parks (Longchamp park) are considered by the French Ministry of Culture to be one of the most outstanding gardens in France. Park Longchamp opened in 1869 around the same time as the palace. The park used to house a zoo before it was later closed. This is the picnic place for the youth of Marseille every weekend.

How to get there: Metro 1 to Cinq Avenue station

MUCEM – Museum of Civilizations of Europe and the Mediterranean

Address: 1 Esp. J4, 13002 Marseille, France
Hours: 10AM–8PM

This is a must-visit museum if you want to know more about Mediterranean culture. The architecture is very fancy and modern, right next to the sea. | marseille visitor guide

I like it because the material content is very rich, intuitive, and modern. You will discover the process of making soap, olive oil, growing lavender, including how they use cows to direct irrigation water. These productions are not only in Marseille but also in the whole Provence Côte d’azur region, further is in Italy, Spain, Greece…

Note: Should not visit if you only have a little time because the museum is so big you can’t see it all.

Instead of the entrance ticket price of 8 Euros, you can take advantage of many free opening hours of all museums throughout the city such as every 2nd Sunday of the month, Journée des Patrimoines… If you have a chance, you must definitely visit!

How to get there: From Vieux Port take bus 60 to arrêt Littoral Major or Fort Saint-Jean.

Marseille’s Panier (Old Town)

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The old town of Panier was once the Greek colony of Massalia in 600 BC. The neighborhood of Panier is located on a hill in central Marseille. You can walk to the city center to admire the beautiful scenery and better understand the culture of Marseille.

Le Panier is known as the streets of art, where every year the colorful graffiti paintings on the mossy walls are replaced. That brings a youthful, liberal and modern touch very Marseille.

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In addition to such drawings, you can also easily find in the old town streets lined with   paintings by contemporary artists, second-hand bookstores, grocery stores selling soap and dried lavender, restaurants often organize acoustic music nights that resonate with the smell of food or hold you back every night no matter how cold it is. Panier Old Town is also home to many Latin dance and music festivals every summer.

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In general, I observe that all my friends who are from Marseille are very “fêtard” “en bombe” (playing hard, and drinking very well, in the old days the parties at bars and boites were never without them, regardless of the exam season or not). In this old town there is also Vieille Charité, once a place for the elderly and lonely people to live, now it’s home to 2 museums at different 2-storey: Museum of Mediterranean Archaeology and Le Musée d’Arts Africains, Océaniens et Amérindiens (MAAOA).

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The suggestion is that there is a delicious Pizzeria here with a crispy crust for about 10 Euros/one, enough for 3 people to eat for you to stop for lunch with friends. There’s nothing better than eating sausage pizza with red wine and looking at paintings in Le Panier. Ask someone to point you to Passage de la Lorette, the Pizzeria is nearby and it’s available from 12pm.

How to get there:

  • From Saint Charles take Metro 2 to Joliette then walk or take the T2/T3 tram to Sadi Carnot.
  • From Vieux Port, go to the back of the Hôtel de Ville, the Palais de Justice asks for the way to walk up.

Cathédrale de Major and Palais Major

Located right next to MUCEM, these 2 buildings will catch your attention from afar as they are both stunningly stunning, day and night, which makes this corner to be the most beautiful corner of Marseille for individuals me.

Cathédrale de Major is being remodeled but still very magnificent, Palais de Major has become a chain of luxury cafes and restaurants by the sea, breathtakingly beautiful at night under the magical golden lights, suitable if you want a romantic seaside walk. If possible, go on Wednesday night because there will be soirée salsa at the Palais de Major, you will get to see the restaurant’s very palace decoration in a reasonable way.

How to get there: From Vieux Port, take bus 60 to Littoral Major or Fort Saint-Jean

Borély Park

Address: Av. du Parc Borély, 13008 Marseille, France
Hours: 6AM–9PM

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This is a public park of Marseille city with an area of ​​17 hectares. If you want to have peace with walking, sightseeing, then choosing Parc Borély park is very suitable. At Parc Borély park, there is a large campus with lake, lawn, fountain, you can choose to rent a bicycle or walk to experience, or lie down and read a book and watch the romantic city of Marseille.

Château d’If

Address: Embarcadère Frioul If, 1 Quai de la Fraternité, 13001 Marseille, France
Hours: 10AM–6PM

If you are a fan of The Count of Monte-Cristo, you must go to the Château d’if castle because it’s the settings of the novel. With 8 Euros and 5.5 Euros for entry tickets, you will be able to board the boat to visit the Château, comfortably inhale the salty taste and see Marseille from a new perspective (from the sea). This is a castle from the time of François Ier, where political prisoners were kept. One of the most famous tourist attractions in Marseille, but it seems tourists don’t go often.

How to get there: Buy tickets at Vieux Port. You will see a point of selling boat tickets to 2 islands and have to wait in line for a long time to buy that ticket

Suggested itinerary: There are 3 itineraries, each about half a day, I suggest as follows:

  • Go from Vieux Port => Hôtel de ville => Palais de Justice + Hôtel Dieu => take a walk in Le Panier visit Vieille Charité => Palais Major = > MUCEM.
  • From Vieux Port take bus 60 to Basilique Notre Dame de la Garde and visit musée Notre Dame de la Garde.
  • Go from Vieux Port take Metro 1 to Cinq Avenue station visit museums and picnics at Palais Longchamps.

Prado Beach and Vélodrome Stadium

Many tourists only know Marseille through the Olympique de Marseille team, such people should once visit the Vélodrome stadium, which hosts many of the city’s sporting events, especially EURO 2016. You can see that Marseille is a very sporty city and this year is being selected as the European Capital of Sport (Capitale européenne de Sport)

Prado Beach | marseille travel blog

Next to the stadium is Prado beach, I often chosen to lounge in the sun, have a picnic, have a barbecue every weekend with friends… When the Vélodrome stadium was hosting the match France vs Germany, Prado beach is also the place which was installed large screens for spectators to watch from afar, helicopters buzzing overhead to control security. Overall, it was fun.

Other attractions

In addition you can also visit Marseille Opera House, Le Marché des Capucins, or the Capucins Market, St Jean Fortress, Le Cours Julien and La Plaine are quite popular places in Marseille. There are many bookshops, cafes, fountains along with dozens of places for you to stroll. Every Thursday and Saturday morning, there will be a Plaine market. This offers the best opportunities for people to shop for cheap.

Opera House
Capucins Market | marseille travel blog
Fort Saint-Jean


Like I said before, dancing is a very popular sport in Europe, and in a place of endless events like Marseille, there are many free dance bars. This is a place where you can socialize afterwork, find new friends and improve your dance skills even if you don’t know anything. Especially because Marseille is full of Africans who not only have dance into their blood, but are also very willing to teach you step by step.

Some dancing venues I often go to: Palais Major (Wednesday night from 10pm), L’Afterwork Latino Cafe (Address: 3 places de Rome )

Iron balls game

There is also a very typical hobby of the Provence region, which is the game of iron balls (pétanque). From the first days when I went to school to hang out with my French friends, my option 1 was dancing at night, and option 2 was playing iron balls during the day, making me addicted to the latin music that was turned on every time the heavy an iron ball was thrown.

To experience how to play for free, borrow equipment for free and learn about the Jeu de ballets (game with balls) in general of the people of the South, go to Maison de la Boule Marseille (Address: 4 Place des 13 Cantons, 13002 Marseille). When you visit Panier, just visit if you want.

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Marseille blog: What to buy as gifts?

Marseille soap

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Marseille is well-known for its soap making industry. Marseille soap is made from caustic soda, palm oil or olive oil. Authentic Provence soap is Marius Fabre soap handcrafted in the Salon de Provence, and its shape is a rubic cube, stamped with the Marius Fabre brand. You can search with the key Savon de Marseille to find soap shops all over Marseille.

Where to buy: 17 Rue de la Verrerie, 75004 Paris

Lavender products

Lavender products | marseille france travel guide

Includes: Dried lavender to tuck wardrobes, lavender essential oil for bathing or to apply on the head to fall asleep easier, lavender cosmetics (lotion, shower gel…). You can easily come across souvenirs such as towels, decorative stone boxes, fridge magnets with pictures of lavender fields. Looking at it, you can immediately recognize this famous Provence region.

Olive products

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Olives are a specialty of the Mediterranean. Salted Olive (as I often call it) is a fat, greasy, served with snacks, aperitifs, bottled Tapenade (I introduced it above). These 2 items can be purchased at any supermarket

Fragonard perfume

A guest once told me that he bought a lot of Channel, Lancome, but his favorite perfume is Fragonnard’s handmade perfume. I have visited the village of Grasse that produces this perfume and understand why it is so expensive, because the ingredients from thousands of flowers are almost completely natural, the scent of this year’s Fragonnard flower is the scent of dahlia. The most famous perfume line for women is the Belle de nuit line. I bought the Étoile scent, which is also very sweet and sucré, just the way I like it.

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The selling place is at Parfumerie Fragonnard Les Halles de la Major just off the Cathédrale de la Major, which is a chain of shops and restaurants. I heard you can order to cook some dishes on the spot but not too expensive.

General brand shopping place: Terrasse du port (Marseille-Fos Port, 9 Quai du Lazaret, 13002 Marseille), take tram T2 or Métro M 2 to Joliette.

Marseille travel guide: What to eat?

You should try the famous Bouillabaisse seafood soup of Marseille waters, Navette de Marseille biscuits shaped like a boat, Aioli sauce almost like mayonnaise, emulsion, this is a famous dish of Marseille said. particular and Provence in general. In addition, tasting the Pasti alcoholic beverage with the main ingredient of anise and spices also gives visitors a unique culinary experience.


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Just like Pho noodle soup in Vietnam, if you ask Marseille what specialties do you have, it will answer you this dish, a very famous dish made from Marseille’s homegrown ingredients, which are fish and typical vegetables of Provence such as thymes and romarin. This sort of thing is fish cooked in a vegetable broth with a tomato-colored sauce. Because a popular meal by the port costs 19 Euros, and in a high-class restaurant it is several times more expensive, so I haven’t tried it yet. This dish is best eaten in the spring because the fish will not be frozen fish. You can try this dish by buying it canned in the supermarket to see how it tastes, but it is certainly far behind the French dining standards by much.

Where to try: Restaurants on the coastal road Quai du Port.


Roquefort is quite a strange name for tourists from Asia. Therefore, when traveling to France, you will be attracted by these unique names. Roquefort is a very famous cheese made from sheep’s milk in Marseille. This cheese is white and slightly moist, soft and very aromatic. In particular, it has veins that make it easy to mistake it for green mold.


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This dish I ate one time, when I was treated at a student buffet, roughly it is a Provencal recipe, invented in 1880, in Marseille, containing olive oil, capers and garlic, spicy and fragrant. This dish is also an appetizer (Apéro) when served with raw vegetables (spinach, tomatoes) or bread.

Where to eat: All supermarkets


Navette is Marseille’s famous delicious boat-shaped cake, if you want to enjoy the taste of the best navette you must go to Biscuit Les navettes des Accoulés (68 Rue Caisserie, 13002 Marseille) with its traditional orange blossom navette. Eat a navette to just spread the sweetness in your mouth and spread the scent of orange blossom through your nose.

Four des navettes in Terrasse du port is also a navette brand but honestly it is far behind in terms of deliciousness because it’s just an industrial cake firm, much flour and generally less sophisticated.

Where to buy: Biscuterie Les navettes des Accoulés (68 Rue Caisserie, 13002 Marseille). When you visit Panier, buy it if you want: Terrasse du port,  Marseille-Fos Port, 9 Quai du Lazaret, 13002 Marseille.


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Few people know that Marseille is also very famous for its coffee and the best coffee is Noailles coffee. At the Torréfaction Noailles on Canebière street you will enjoy the traditional flavors of Marseille’s coffee and how they store the beans, how the coffee machine works. This is a rare French coffee shop that I like because it’s as beautiful as a Vietnamese coffee shop, the antique reminds me of Cong coffee in Hanoi.

Many Marseille people say that drinking coffee and watching the sunrise over Vieux Port is one of the experiences you cannot miss when coming to Marseille. Happiness is sometimes just as simple as possible.

Ricard and Pastis

Ricard is an aperitif, from the aromatic leaves of Provence such as anise and licorice. I tasted this drink at the WOOD bar in Aix, in my nostalgia Ricard, in addition to its very strong pungent taste, also reminds me of the image of the pink-orange street under the yellow lights and the beautiful and dreamy bars in the magical moonlight.

Pastis is the dish used in every French Apero, with a pungent leaf flavor, its soul is herbs, essential oils of seeds and licorice root.

Where to find: Maison des Pastis,  108 Quai du Port, 13002 Marseille

Marseille guide: Where to stay?

Most hotels in Marseille are a bit expensive, with prices around 50 EUR for a double room at the hotel and around 18-25 EUR per bed in a dorm room at the hostel. Below we recommend more best budget, mid-range and upscale hotels with good ratings and reviews you can refer to.

nhow Marseille

Check out more top and best hotels in Marseille via or

There are many more things to say about Marseille that I only regret that I can’t tell them all, because there are still small corners that make you have to WOW because it’s beautiful but it was never posted on TripAdvisor but can only be known when you go with old people.

Summer nights catching the bus at 10pm from Aix to Le Panier just to go dancing, weekends catching the train from Paris just to come back and hang out with friends in the city center and in Luminy can replace words for my attachment and memory for Marseille. On New Year’s Eve, I took a train from Paris to Luminy, when I arrived at Saint Charles station, the first thing I did was lift my head up to breathe in the calm, gentle air and the carefree nature of a Marseille that I’ve fallen in love with.

Some best day tours, trips, activities and transfer services, tickets in, from and to Marseille you can refer to

Read more France guide here.

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