Marseille City Centre is hip, historic and down-to-earth. The port city has been settled since ancient times and combines a proud maritime past with a passion for art, culture and cuisine. Explore trendy neighbourhoods, stroll around the ancient harbour and visit one of the most beautiful churches in France.
Things to do in Marseille City Centre
Perched on a hilltop, Basilique Notre Dame de la Garde is the highest point in Marseille. The Byzantine Revival church commands 360-degree views over the city and the Mediterranean Sea. Step inside to see the dazzling interior decorated with murals and mosaics.
Vieux Port is the beating heart of the Marseille City Centre. The port has been a shipping hub since ancient times and is framed by a pair of centuries-old coastal forts. Cafes and bistros dot the waterfront and will lure you in with specialties like “bouillabaisse” seafood soup.
Get lost in the enchanting Le Panier quarter. It’s one of the oldest neighbourhoods in Marseille and features narrow lanes lined with centuries-old houses. Sip coffee in cobblestone squares and shop at trendy boutiques and artisan studios. La Vieille Charité is the centrepiece of the Le Panier quarter. Iconic French artist Pierre Puget designed the complex, which features an elegant central courtyard anchored by a Baroque chapel. Within the complex are several museums covering topics like African art and Mediterranean archaeology.
Bars and brasseries spill onto Cours Julien, the city’s palm-lined main square. Side streets branch off the square and conceal independent bookshops, galleries and other hidden gems. Peer into patisserie windows filled with towers of “madeleine” almond cakes and “navettes” orange biscuits. Markets pop up on Cours Julien several times a week, where you can buy everything from fruit, vegetables and flowers to antiques.
Getting around Marseille City Centre
Marseille City Centre is pedestrian-friendly and easy to get around on foot. Use public buses, trams and trains to cover longer distances. Marseille Provence Airport is a 20-minute drive away.