Marseille
© Joseph Sohm
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Marseille

By Dmitry Petrounin Dmitry Petrounin Section editor Profile

Our Editorial team's advice

There are cities whose name alone is enough to warm the heart. We have to say that Marseille's sunny weather isn't just the stuff of legends. Nor is its football club, its pastis or its bouillabaisse either. However, in addition to these warm-hearted clichés, the Phocaean city has much more to offer. Marseille is no longer just a city for business trips.
The megalopolis has actually been chosen as the 2013 European Capital of Culture and will be a host city for the 2016 European Football Championship. In order to celebrate these events with the dignity they are worthy of, Marseille has cleaned itself up and improved its streets. As evidence, part of the Old Port has been pedestrianised, a number of new hotels have popped up and a huge national museum is scheduled to be opened.
But even without these new additions, Marseille can still count on its age-old assets: an adorable old port, a neighbourhood in the Panier district that is ideal for strolling around in, lively café terraces, beautiful rocky inlets, beaches close-by, a vibrant nightlife in a trendy district, etc.
It's easy to bet that we'll be hearing a lot about Marseilles over the next few years and that it will finally be taken more seriously by the rest of France, after having been considered as merely a port-side city all these years.

To see

If you find you already love the view of the small port of Vallon des Auffes from Corniche, we recommend you go down the steps to get an even better look.
More famous for its rocky inlets than for its works of art, the city nevertheless has a strong cultural offering thanks to the many museums that fill its streets. Don't pass up the chance to visit the Museum of Civilisations from Europe and the Mediterranean, the first national museum to open outside of the capital.

To do

Take a car, train, scooter or use your feet to get to the top of the hill where Notre Dame de la Garde stands proud. In addition to the 360° views over the city, you can admire the interior and particularly the choir of what the local inhabitants also commonly refer to as 'la bonne mère' ('the good mother').
Getting lost in the maze of streets of the Panier district.
Trying out the bars, cafes and restaurants in the trendy district of Cour Julien.
Strolling along the Old Port while keeping in mind that the area is ultra-touristy and that the prices are quite hefty compared to the other districts.
Visiting the famous Vélodrome stadium, whether you are a fan of football or not. Football in Marseille is more than just a sport, it is a way of life.

pros

  • +  There is constant sunshine for a good part of the year
  • +  The opening of a large national museum
  • +  The metamorphosis of the city

cons

  • -  The mistral
  • -  The construction going on in the city
  • -  The traffic in the city centre

To think about

In addition to your bathing suit, remember to bring a windcheater (and a jumper): the mistral can be dreadful.
If you are planning on hiring a vehicle on the spot, consider a scooter instead of a car. It will be a lot less expensive and also a much more convenient way to get around Marseille.

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To avoid

As in any large city, avoid displaying your valuables, which includes your camera. Also, we recommend you ask for permission before taking photos of strangers.

To try

Don't leave without having tried the 'navettes'; biscuits in the shape of a boat. There is also an overwhelming choice of pastries here, with various specialities that come from neighbouring cities, like the 'calissons' (an almond paste) of Aix-en-Provence.
In addition to the famous bouillabaisse (which we don't recommend trying just anywhere), Marseille specialises in pizza!

To bring back

A large (or small) bar of real 'Savon de Marseille'.
One (or more) bottles of pastis.
An Olympic de Marseille team shirt (or any other item with the team's logo), unless you are a supporter of the opposing team!

Weather Marseille

These indicators are used as a set of criteria to predict overall weather conditions in Marseille . The different indicators are there to help you prepare for your trip to Marseille so you can make plans based on the weather forecast, whether it be a trip to the beach, walking, visiting attractions and museums or winter sports... Here you'll find a precise, overall weather score for each week in Marseille , which takes into account temperature indicators, bad weather predictions, sunshine levels and wind speeds.

Overall rating 83/100
  • Temperature indicators 94% Optimal

    Maximim temperature between 22°C and 24°C, the perceived temperature is <30°.

  • Bad weather indicators 86% Dry / Optimal

    Little or no rain (less than 1.5mm per day).

  • Sunbathing indicators 78% Good weather

    Mostly sunny (60% to 80% sunshine).

  • Swimming indicators 62% Pleasant

    Pleasant air temperature (between 20°C and 24°C). Sea temperature between 22°C and 24°C. Slight winds (speeds between 2 mph and 4 mph).

  • Wind indicators 66% Light wind

    Light winds (between 6mph and 12mph).

  • Humidity indicators 72% Normal

    Slight feeling of discomfort due air humidity registering higher than 65%.