Marseille is the second largest city in France and is located on the Mediterranean Coast in the Provence-Alpes-Cote d'Azur region. The city is a great place for a European City Break and offers the tourist much to see and do in both the city itself and the surrounding region. The city may not have the immediate attractions of Paris but is a cultural melting pot with a large North African influence and as such is a lively and vibrant city to explore.
Air: Marseille - Provence International Airport (MRS) is around 30kms from the city. The airport has a specialist terminal for budget airlines which opened in 2006. The budget airlines flying to Marseille include the following: Ryanair from Birmingham, Bournemouth, Edinburgh, Dublin, Glasgow (Prestwick), Manchester, Stansted as well as many other European airports. bmibaby fly from Birmingham and easyJet from Bristol and Gatwick. The airport is also served by the flag carriers including BA and Air Lingus.
Bus and taxi give the best options for transferring to the city or the surrounding region. There are departures every half hour to Aix-en-Provence as well as very frequent services to Marseille.
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Rail: The main station is Marseille St Charles which has TGV connections to Paris, Nice and Brussels.
Ferry: Ferries connect Marseille to Ajaccio, Bastia, Porto Torres, Porto Vecchio and Propriano.
What to See and Do
Marseille's numerous attractions include the following:
Le Vieux Port: The Old Harbour has some great things to see. Watch the local fishermen unloading their catch or relive the scene from The French Connection movie!
Stade Velodrome: The home to football club Olympique Marseille, the stadium was buit in 1937 for the 1938 World Cup. It was enlarged for the World Cup in 1998 and currently holds 60000 spectators making it the second largest stadium in France.
Palais Longchamp: The Palace is on the Boulevard Longchamp and can be easily reached by Metro. The grounds and gardens are well worth a walk with numerous waterfalls to view. The palace itself houses a Fine Art Museum and the Museum of Natural History.
Parc Borely: This is a large (54 hectare) park to the south of the city. There are many water features and an 18th Century Country House stands in the centre of the park. Make time to visit the Botanical Gardens which include a tropical greenhouse and rose garden.
Public transport does not have the best of reputations in Marseille. You are best to buy multi trip tickets if you will be in town for several days as these present better value.
Subway: The subway closes early during the week at around 2100 but it opens later to 0030 on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. There are two lines which present an easy way of getting around.
Tram : The tram opened in the city in 1876 and continues to operate although it has been modernised several times. A new network is currently underconstruction and the first phase is already open.
Ferry: Take the ferry across the harbour for great views of the Vieux Port.