Marseille Journals

Marseille - France's 2nd Largest City

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A May 2011 trip to Marseille by MikeInTown

Old Port (Vieux Port) Photo, Marseille, France More Photos
Quote: My wife’s Southern France business trip provided a sightseeing opportunity. We spent a few days in Marseille where we encountered interesting attractions, friendly people, and good'ol Mediterranean sunshine. A daytrip to Avignon contrasted our city experience with the fairy tale-like beauty of the famous bridge and the medieval Popes' Palace.

Old Port (Vieux Port)

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Attraction | "The Hub of Tourism in Marseille"

Old Port (Vieux Port) Photo, Marseille, France
Quote:
The Old Port (Vieux Port) could not have been named any better considering it was established by the Greeks in 6oo B.C.. Today, it is the major tourist district of Marseille. People and traffic constantly flow through the area. The waters are crowded with sailboats, yachts, and tour boats. Each morning, fishermen bring their catches into port and sell them on the docks. The port is surrounded by hotels, restaurants, cafes, bars, a theater, souvenir shops, ancient ruins, and more. Popular souvenirs are santons (figurines for nativity scenes) and soap from one of the many soap shops. Our first stop was the tourism office located just across the street from the port. The lady there was very ...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on June 26, 2011

Old Port (Vieux Port)
34 quai du port
Marseille, Provence
33 04 91 13 89 0

Best Western La Joliette

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Hotel | "Suited Our Tourist Agenda"

Best Western La Joliette Photo, Marseille, France
Quote:
We only had two weeks to plan the vacation portion of our trip to Marseille. As a result, we were not able to find a hotel in the tourist district that had vacancy for our entire stay. We thought we were going to have to string together stays at different hotels each night to keep us in the vicinity of the Old Port (Vieux Port). About a week before the trip, another hotel search revealed two consecutive nights at the Best Western La Joliette had become available. This was preferable to changing hotels each day so we booked it.The hotel is not situated at the Old Port proper but there are several options for getting there. We could walk there in 10 to 15 minutes. If we did not want to walk...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on June 26, 2011

Best Western La Joliette
9 Avenue Robert Schuman
Marseille, France
33 4 96 11 49 49

Chateau d'If

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Attraction | "Touring the Legendary If Castle"

Chateau d'If Photo, Marseille, France
Quote:
If Castle (Chateau d’If) sits on the island of If which is one of the four islands in the Frioul Island archipelago. The Frioul If Express tour boats depart the Old Port every 30 - 45 minutes for the castle. Our Marseille City Pass covered the cost of the tour. As recommended by the lady in the tourism office, we took the 9:45 AM boat to beat the afternoon crowds. It took about 20 minutes to reach the island.If Castle began as a fortress in the early 1500's under Francois I who ordered...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on June 26, 2011

Chateau d'If
Quai Des Belges
Marseille, Provence 13001
33 04 91 59 02 3

Basilique de Notre Dame de la Garde

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Attraction | "Amazing Overlooks and Awesome Basilica"

Basilique de Notre Dame de la Garde Photo, Marseille, France
Quote:
Notre Dame de la Garde is Marseille’s iconic basilica. It is the highest point in the city. Crowning this magnificent basilica is a golden statue of Mary holding Baby Jesus. The statue is known as "The Good Mother" (La Bonne Mère). The church is especially spectacular at night when it is all lit up. We could look up and see this spectacle at nighttime as we were walking back to our hotel or dining outdoors.For our visit to Notre Dame de la Garde, we arrived via the tourist train (Le Petit Train). The basilica began as a chapel in the 13th century, was converted to a fortress by the 16th century, and was well on its way to becoming the basilica of today by the 19th century.The m...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on June 26, 2011

Basilique de Notre Dame de la Garde
Rue Fort-du-Sanctuaire
Marseille, Provence 13281
+33 4 91 13 40 8

Les Petits Trains de Marseille

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Attraction | "Marseille City Tour"

Les Petits Trains de Marseille Photo, Marseille, France
Quote:
Marseille offers tours of the city via a tourist train (Le Petit Train). The train does not actually run on a track. It has tires and rides the same streets as the cars, trucks, and buses. Our Marseille City Pass allowed us to choose one of the train’s two tour circuits: an hour Old Town tour which travels the narrow streets of the Panier District and makes a stop at the famous Vieille Charité hospital or an hour fifteen-minute city tour that includes a stop at the city’s iconic hilltop basilica, Notre...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on June 26, 2011

Les Petits Trains de Marseille
Old Port
Marseille, France
04 91 25 24 69

La Cuisine au Beurre

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Restaurant | "Our Bouillabaisse in Marseille Experience"

La Cuisine au Beurre Photo,
Quote:
Being a port city, it is no surprise that seafood is abundant on menus in Marseille. Each morning fishermen sell their catches at the docks of the Old Port to restaurants and other patrons. Marseille’s signature dish is a mildly spicy seafood soup called bouillabaisse (pronounced boo-ya-bess). I got the impression that visiting Marseille and not having a bowl of bouillabaisse is like visiting Venice and not doing a gondola ride. Therefore, Thursday night, my wife and I perused the posted menus of the Old Port restaurants trying to decide where we would have our ‘bouillabaisse in Marseille’ experience.We soon discovered this was probably going to be the most expensive bowl of soup we...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on June 26, 2011

La Cuisine au Beurre
72 Quai du Port
Marseille, Provence 13002
04 91 90 95 29

Outdoor Dining Hazards

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Story/Tip

Quote:
Most of the dining in the vicinity of the Old Port (Vieux Port) is outdoors. With the mild evening air, the city lights, and sight of the boats bobbing in the harbor, dinner can be one of the most enchanting Marseille experiences. On the other hand, outdoor dining in Marseille is not without challenges. Smoking is still allowed in public in France. Chances are good that someone is going to light up at a table near you.We were made aware of one of the other hazards of eating dinner outside in Marseille - more so after dark. While we were waiting for the waiter to bring our food my wife screamed and almost kicked our table over. I looked up to see what the problem was and caught the glimpse ...Read More

Croisieres Marseille Calanques tour boats

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Attraction | "Viewing Cliffs and Secluded Beaches"

Croisieres Marseille Calanques tour boats  Photo, Marseille, France
Quote:
The Calanques (pronounced ka-lunk) are a series of coves nestled along the coast. They are often surrounded by tall rocky cliffs. The Croisieres Marseille Calanques tour boats depart from the Old Port and take visitors on a 1-hour, 2.5-hour, or 3.5-hour tour to see these scenic hideaways. The difference between these excursion is basically the number of calanques you see. Our Marseille City Pass gave us a 10% discount on the price of the 3.5-hour tour. We arrived a...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on June 26, 2011

Croisieres Marseille Calanques tour boats
Kiosk At The Marina
Cassis, France

Best Western Marseille Aeroport

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Hotel | "Airport Convenience but Issues with Nighttime Staff"

Best Western Marseille Aeroport Photo, Marseille, France
Quote:
This Best Western Aeroport hotel is convenient for those have an early flight out of Marseille Provence Airport (MRS). We had booked two nights at this hotel because we could find no weekend vacancies near the Old Port when we began reserving our trip 2-weeks prior. Therefore, we had to check out of our downtown hotel Friday and take the shuttle (le Navette) from Saint Charles Station out to the airport. Our arrival at the Best Western Aeroport hotel did not go as smoothly as we had hoped. The hotel has courtesy phones located in the airport for passengers to call for the hotel’s complimentary shuttle. We called several times but got no answer. I could see the hotel from the airport and it...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on June 26, 2011

Best Western Marseille Aeroport
Couperigne
Marseille, France 13127
33-4-42155400

Daytrip to Avignon

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Story/Tip

Avignon Ramparts Photo, Avignon, France
Quote:
For our last full day in France, we decided to do a daytrip to the town of Avignon. At this point in the trip, we had moved to an airport hotel since there were no vacancies in the city that weekend. To get to Avignon, we needed to take the airport shuttle bus (le Navette) downtown to St. Charles Station and then take a train to Avignon. We bought roundtrip tickets for the regional TER train.Central Avignon consists of a quaint village with narrow streets, shops, restaurants, and small hotels. One of the major draws of the town is the Popes’ Palace (Palais des Papes). Before the Vatican became the home of popes, this large impressive medieval fortress in Avignon was the home of popes from ...Read More