Marseille is both France's oldest city and its second-largest, after Paris. Sitting at a buzzy and historic port with centuries of immigration and trade importance, the city is a multicultural hub ready to be explored. Founded by the Greeks over 2,600 years ago, you can spend your time strolling through history, eating the region's famed cuisine, and admiring the sea views. After enjoying the vibrant and always lively coast, including the famous Calanques (fjordlike coves), head inland to explore rolling hills of lavender fields and vineyards of picturesque Provence.
Culture & Food
There might be no better way to experience a new place than with cultural and gastronomical experiences. Luckily, Marseille is full of them. From a long history of soapmaking to an agricultural paradise producing wine, lavender, and unique cuisine, you'll enjoy a little bit of everything in Marseille.
Meet a Soap Atelier
Discover the secrets behind Marseille's traditional soap making and craft your own block of the region's emblematic Savon de Marseille. With the help of a professional soapmaker, you'll learn the ins and outs of this ancestral art form, dating back about 600 years to 1370 CE. Learn the traditional recipe, which involved seawater from the Mediterranean and olive oil from Provence, and how this little square became so internationally recognized. Read More
Enjoy a Cooking Class
Spend the day discovering the unique culinary traditions of Marseille, starting with a walking tour of the city's famed markets. You'll visit the always-lively Vieux Port, Marseille's fish market, to peruse the catch-of-the-day. Next, walk through the city's twisting streets to Capucins Market on the popular Canebière Street to savor the smells of spices, fruits, and veggies mingling in the air. Grab a bottle of wine, then join your host in a family's home for a cooking class. Read More
Explore Aix-en-Provence's Gourmet Food Scene
Aix-en-Provence is the perfect place to explore the quintessential Provençal cuisine known and loved around the world. Enjoy the town's famed outdoor markets that stretch down Cours Mirabeau, a popular street lined with 17th and 18th-century private mansions and large plane trees. You'll learn about fresh regional produce, like herbes de Provence, olive oil, truffles, figs, and honey while tasting local delicacies. Opt for a food tour and take your ingredients to a country home where you'll learn to cook a few of the region's beloved recipes. Read More
Take a Rosé Wine Tour in Cassis & Bandol
Explore the vineyards of Cassis and Bandol, set in coastal Provence near the scenic Calanques National Park. The two Mediterranean villages produce high-quality wines, particularly white varietals in Cassis and red and rosé in Bandol. As you tour these two towns, you'll taste some of the best while enjoying views of the coast and vineyards. Pair your tastings with estate tours to learn a bit more about the production process. Then, end your day with a leisurely lunch in Cassis. Read More
Chat with a local specialist who can help organize your trip.
Enjoying the Seaside
Marseille straddles two worlds: a peaceful agricultural inland and a buzzy, vibrant coast. To truly understand the city, you need to experience them both. Cruise around the bay, view historic chateaus, and kayak in the region's famed Calanques.
Cruise the Bay of Marseille & View Château d’If
Get a different perspective of Marseille's historic city center by cruising through the Bay of Marseille. Not only will you catch views of the city's monuments (such as the Bonne Mère, the basilica of Notre Dame de la Garde, and the Lacydon), but you'll also scenic views of the area's famed calanques (inlets) and the island of If, known for its Chateau d'If made internationally through the fictional epic of The Count of Monte-Cristo. Read More
Kayak in the Calanques
Comprising over 100,000 acres (520 sq km) and set between Marseilles and the seaside town of La Ciotat, Calanques National Park protects both land and sea. Explore its natural beauty on a kayak excursion through its unique inlets, also known as calanques. Enjoy passing by towering limestone cliffs and gazing into crystalline waters. Along the way, take a break in the charming fishing village of Cassis. And to top off the day, savor a famous Mediterranean sunset. Read More
How to Craft the Perfect Marseille Itinerary
If you're searching for a diverse experience in France, look no further than Marseille. Even if you spend your entire trip in just this region alone, you can enjoy a variety of culture, food, and activity. As a crossroads itself, the city pairs well with a French Riviera excursion or Provence. You can go further and easily add the gastronomical hub of Lyon and the stunning French Alps to your trip. And because it's such a large hub, many travels combine Paris and Marseille and use the coastal city as a stopover on the way to the French island of Corsica.
Knowing how many days to spend in France can sometimes get a little tricky. If you'd like to stick to just the city and its surrounding coastal and inland areas, plan to spend 5 or 6 days in Marseille. If you'd like to add a few more regions to the mix, give yourself one or two weeks depending on your route.
Keep in mind that some areas, such as the French Alps, are more remote, so your travel days might be a little longer. And if you plan to take the ferry to Corsica, you'll need at least nine hours. Luckily, you can choose an overnight sailing to make the most of your time.
Past kimkim travelers have enjoyed the following itineraries that included experiences in Marseille: