Top Experiences in Marseille

Unique things to do, curated by kimkim specialists
Provençal soaps
Explore a different art form as you learn about the region's emblematic Savon de Marseille (Marseille soap). This traditional hard soap, typically made with vegetable oils, has been around for nearly 600 years, with the first record of soap making in Marseille from 1370 CE. It was so popular and distinct that King Louis XIV copyrighted the recipe in the 17th century.A master soapmaker will teach you about this famed soap's history, along with its manufacturing process and ancestral secrets. The most traditional Marseille soap combines seawater from the Mediterranean with olive oil from Provence and alkaline ash from sea plants. It was heated for days, cooled, pressed, and cut, often taking up to one month to create a single batch of soap. Today, only a handful of the original Marseille soap ateliers remain. After you've observed the making and mixing procedures, you'll create and personalize a soap of your own. Enjoy a hands-on experience as you mix, heat, cool, and stamp the ingredients. Discover other unique experiences in Marseille.
Explore Marseille's culinary scene and end your day enjoying a delicious meal you created in a cooking class! You'll start by perusing the city's markets with a local gastronome, beginning with Vieux Port, Marseille's famed fish market. Shop here for the day's catch: red mullets, sea breams, or sea bass, depending on your preferences. Next, stroll around town and wind your way to the Capucins Market on the popular Canebière Street. Here, the smells of spices, fresh fruit, and local vegetables blend in a compelling mix. Make your selections with your host's recommendations in mind, then continue to Paradis Street to visit your host's favorite wine shop. Once you've purchased all your ingredients, gather at a family's home in Marseille for a cooking class. Spend the next two hours taking advantage of the savoir-faire and culinary skills of your passionate host, an authentic ambassador to Marseille's cuisine. But, of course, the best part of the day happens on the terrace at the end of the class. Savor your creations, take in the Southern France sunshine, and chat with your host. Discover more unique experiences in Marseille.
2 hours
Small group
Enjoy a cruise through the Port of Marseille with a stopover on the island of If to visit the mythical Chateau d'If. For 2,600 years, the Phocean city of Marseille has been the reflection of French history. As you cruise out along the port, enjoy the views of the city's host of monuments, dominated by the benevolent and emblematic Bonne Mère, the basilica of Notre Dame de la Garde, and the Lacydon (ancient Ligure divinity). You can discover the old ports, but also the Vallon des Auffres, a typical rocky inlet that sheltered fishermen coming from Genoa with their colored boats, traditionally called Le Pointu.The beautiful landscape keeps going with L'Anse de Malmousque, a very picturesque calanque (inlet) with pretty Provençal houses surrounding a little port, then the Chateau d'If that Alexandre Dumas made internationally famous through the fictional epic of The Count of Monte-Cristo.Finally, you'll reach the Archipel du Frioul, a chalky archipelago off the coast of Marseille with sharp reliefs. These numerous calanques have been used as anchorage from 49 BCE for Jules Caesar's flotilla. You'll sail by several, including Port Miou, Port Pin, En Vau, l'Oule, Devenson, l'Oeil de Verre, Suguiton, and Morgiou.Discover more unique excursions in and around Marseille.
Saint Jean Castle, in the port of Marseille
Located on the west coast of the French Riviera is Marseille. With 2,600 years of history under its belt, this is France's oldest city, and the best way to explore it is on an electric bicycle tour with a local guide. This 23 km (14-mile) circuit covers some of Marseille's most impressive and historic neighborhoods, like the colorful district of Le Panier. This is the "Old Marseille," the founding area of the city that was originally built on the site of the Ancient Greek colony of Massalia. It's a working-class enclave that is quintessentially Mediterranean, what with its old plazas, ancient churches, and the brightly colored facades of the tenement buildings. There's also street art on the walls in the form of colorful frescoes. Other stops on the bike tour include the city center, the waterfront, the hilltop basilica Notre-Dame de la Garde, and the roman monastic foundation of Saint-Victor Abbey. The tour then follows a walkway to Fort Saint-Jean, a fortification dominating the port that was built in 1660 by Louis XIV. There's even a stop-in at the fascinating Museum of European and Mediterranean Civilizations (MuCEM), a modern museum featuring permanent exhibits devoted to the history of these regional societies from ancient times to the present day. The tour ends in Vieux-Port, in the heart of the city, which is the perfect spot to enjoy a good pastis or beer as the sun goes down.

Experiences in Marseille, France

The French Alps
Top Active Experiences in France

France is an active traveler's dream, with sandy beaches in the north, the towering Alps in the southeast, several river valleys across its heartland, and a rocky southern coastline dotted with inlets, caves, and coves. You can easily spend your time cycling through vineyards and from one chateau to another, riding horses in the surf, kayaking the famous Calanques, and hiking in the mountains. Or, if you're more of a city person, add a bike tour or vineyard stroll to your exploration of hubs like Paris.

Aerial view of Marseille
Best Things to Do in Marseille

Marseille unites two very different worlds: the vibrant coastal French Riviera and the charming rolling hills of Provence. In addition, it's France's oldest city, founded by the Greeks in 600 BCE. So in just Marseille alone, you can enjoy a diverse trip strolling through the historic districts while nibbling on traditional food, discovering the renowned world of Marseille soap, sipping rosé among the lavender fields, and cruising or kayaking along the famed Calanques inlets.

Learn more about Marseille : Best of Marseille
Top experiences in popular travel destinations in France: Saint-Rémy-de-Provence · Annecy · Cannes · Chamonix · Honfleur · Provence · Avignon · Aix-en-Provence · Amboise · Bayeux · Loire Valley · Paris · Normandy · Bordeaux · French Riviera · Lyon · Nice · Mont Saint Michel
Top experiences in France