Last weekend we headed for a Petit Weekend in Marseille. I had heard somewhat controversial experiences about Marseille and was not sure what to expect. Maybe because of that I was very positively surprised and I can truly say that Marseille is the most interesting city that I’ve visited in France, after Paris of course… Wondering from one neighborhood to the other you find so many different things, in one district you’ll find North Africa, in one black Africa, in one hipster area with small art galleries and boutiques, then typical French city with its big boulevards and statues, and finally an ultra hippy museum district. Not to mention the amazing arid islands outside Marseille, îles du Frioul and one of the most beautiful places I’ve been, les Calanques. We must have walked close to 20 kilometres per day during the weekend, from one neighborhood to the other and hiking on the coast and in the islands.
We stayed in Mama Shelter Marseille which ended up being easy and cozy option for the weekend. The hotel is not located in touristic zone and we ended up discovering the little side streets on the way to Vieux Port and the center of the city. Notre Dame du Mont area close to hotel was lively at night with many restaurants and even more bars..
We started the weekend discovering Mucem, Museum of European and Mediterranean civilizations,and we were not disappointed. The entry is for free and you have amazing views to the sea to the harbor of Marseille on the top of the museum. You have to pay to get into the exhibitions, but since weather was good we contented to admire the beautiful architecture and amazing views.
Later in the afternoon we took an Uber to give us a ride to les Calanques. Not totally recommended as our driver got lost on the way… On the positive note he had to stop the “meter” and we got a ride close to Cassis for 30 euros, not a bad deal. We got out by the restaurant Presqu’Ile from where we set off to hiking trails. We visited two of the Calanques and took a dip in the sea in Calanque de Port Pin. Highly recommended. On the way back we walked until Cassis and took a bus there to return to Marseille.
Also Notre Dame de Garde garde church is worth visiting, if only for the amazing view over Marseille and the Mediterranean.
Since we took evening train back to Paris and still had time, we took a ferry from Vieux Port,Marseille harbour, to Iles de Frioul. Highly recommended! These arid islands allow you to totally disconnect. Bliss. In harbour there are many restaurants and cafés if you get hungry on the way.
We also liked a lot quartier du Panier, district just behind the Marseille City Hall. It is an interesting area with many art galleries, restaurants and cafés. Rue des Pistolets had a nice plaza with many terrasses, if we would have had more time we would have stayed for a verre.
All in all, I highly recommend going to Marseille! So many things to see or do. And only 3.5 hour train ride from Paris… If you have a tight budget, you can get great deals with Ouigo which leaves from Marne-la-Vallée.
That’s it for now, good night! x