Ooaj Travel Guide, tourism, hotel reservation, residence, plane, cheap pension for you holidays in marseille
Free Travel guide Ooaj.com A free travel guide for holidays. Hotels in marseille, Bed and Breakfast!
Marseille (Latin: Massilia) is the third largest city of France and the economic center of the Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur region.
Let's say it first : Marseille is a complicated city! Founded by the Phoenicians in 600 B.C. it is one of the oldest cities in Europe. The town is a far cry from the Cézanne paintings and Provençal clichés of sleepy villages, "pétanque" players and Marcel Pagnol novels. With around one million inhabitants, Marseille is the third largest city in France in terms of population and the largest in terms of area. Its population is a real melting pot of different cultures. A famous saying states that Marseille is the first Arabic city in the Paris-Dakar race, because it has a very large population of North African immigrants. It is also said that there are more Comorian people in Marseille than in Comoros! Indeed, the people of Marseille have varying ethnic backgrounds, with a lot of Italians and Spanish having immigrated to the area after the second world war.
Marseille is perhaps not the kind of city you will fall in love with your first day there. It is not Paris; there are few obvious "things to do" along the lines of the Louvre museum or the Champs-Elysees. However, for people not afraid to discover a real place with real people (and not a tourist park like Paris), Marseille is the place. From colourful markets (like Noailles market) that will make you feel like you are in Africa, to the Calanques (a natural area of big cliffs falling into the sea - Calanque means fjord), from the Panier area (the oldest place of the town and historically the place where newcomers installed) to the Vieux-Port (old harbor) and the Corniche (a road along the sea) Marseille has definitley a lot to offer.
Forget the Canebière, forget the "savon de Marseille" (Marseille soap), forget the clichés, and just have a ride from l'Estaque to Les Goudes. You will not forget it.
Marignane airport has flights to many French and European cities.
Marseille has a TGV line to Paris (3 hours) and Nice (2 hours).
Marseille is very well connected to most French cities through numerous highways. As always in France those highways are expensive but practical, comfortable and fast. Marseille is around 8 hours from Paris by car, 2 hours from Nice, 1h30 from Montpellier, 4 hours from Toulouse and 3 hours from Lyon.
Marseille has a big harbour. There are boats to Corsica, Algiers, ... .
By bus, tramway, subway
There are 2 subway lines (http://www.mairie-marseille.fr/vivre/transpor/metro.htm) and 79 lines of bus and tramway.
No public transport on May 1st - Workers Day.
A Ferry Boat allows to cross the Old Harbour (Vieux Port). It is a tourist attraction in itself known as the shortest commercial boat ride in Europe.
People are notorious for crazy driving. Avoid taking your car if you can.
- le Vieux Port (old harbour): watching fishermen selling their stock by auction is a must. Arriving to Marseille in the Vieux-Port on a summer evening is something you will never forget... You can watch this show by going to Frioul islands or Chateau d'If and going back late in the afternoon. there is also a nice view on the harbor from the Palais du Pharo (Pharo casttle). The famous Canebière avenue go straight down the harbor. However the Canebière is not that intersting despite its reputation.
- Notre Dame de la Garde: the big church which overlooks the city. Old fishermen were used to make their boats blessed in this church. You can still see many boat models hanging around in the church. Up there it is one of the nicest view of the city.
- Musée des Docks romains (Archéologie-Graffiti-Lapidaire) (the old harbour from Phoenician and Roman times), Place Vivaux, 13002 Marseille. Tel: 04 91 91 24 62
- Musée d'Archéologie méditerranéenne (Archéologie-Graffiti-Lapidaire), Centre de la Vieille Charité, 2 Rue de la Charité, 13002 Marseille. Tel: 04 91 14 58 59, Fax : 04 91 14 58 76
- le Cours Julien and la plaine: a hangout area with bookstores, cafés, fountains, and a playground for the small ones (metro stop Cours Julien/Notre Dame du Mont). It is THE trendy area of Marseille. La Plaine is the local name for Place Jean Jaurès close to Cours Julien. Every Thursday and Saturday morning the Plaine market is the place to shop. If you are there early enough you can make very good deals, even if what you'll find there is sometimes "tombe du camion" (fallen off the truck) as one says in Marseille.
- la Corniche: a walkway and a road by the sea that provides lovely views of the sea, the Chateau d'If to the south, and les Calanques to the east.
- la Place Castellane: a roundabout with a grand fountain/column/sculpture in the center, with excellent cinemas and cafés surrounding. There is another place called La Castellane : it is a poor suburb of Marseille where Zinedine Zidane the famous soccer player was born. Be careful not to confuse the two places.
- Boulevard Longchamp and Palais Longchamp (Longchamp casttle and avenue). From the Réformé church (up the Canebière) you can follow the Boulevard Longchamp where you can see nice example of old upper-class buildings to arrive to Palais Longchamp.The palais is worth visiting though it wont take you long. You can visit the "musee des beaux arts" as well as the natural history museum.
- Parc Borély (Borely park). A large and great park, 300 meters from the sea. After a siesta in the park go have a drink at Escale Borely (a place with numerous restaurants and bars on the beach) to see the sunset.
- Le Panier. Panier means basket in French, but in Marseille it is the name of the oldest area of the town. In the middle of this area there is the Vielle Charité, a wonderful old monument, now hosting museums and exhibitions.
- Let's be honest, beaches from Marseille are not always great. Depending on the weather, they can be polluted. However the small beaches between La Pointe Rouge harbor and La Madrague harbor are cleaner, nicer and usually slightly less crowded.
- La cite radieuse: "unite d'habitation" designed by Le Corbusier. The building is called "la maison du fada" (the house of the foolish) by indegenous people. The building contains a shopping street, a church, a children's school and housings. You can get to the roof and enjoy the breathtaking view of Marseille between hills and sea.
- Stade Velodrome: the stadium where the local soccer team "Olympique de Marseille" plays. Soccer match are one of the highlights of Marseilles life. Take a ticket in the Virage Nord or Sud where you ll find the most crazy fans. Be prepared to jump and sing...you can also pratice the most popular french cursewords.
- le Château d'If (If Castle): this small island off the city was a penal colony. It is famous from the novel of Alexandre Dumas, the Comte de Monte-Cristo.
- les Calanques: wonderful fiords in the south of Marseille
Marseille is an important university center.
There are lots of Kebab restaurants along the Cannebiere.
- Bar de L'Hotel de Ville: on the "Vieux Port" on the left of the City Hall. A very popular spot for the long lunch break Marseille's worker are use to take. Friendly service, good food and wine at a reasonable price. No English spoken whatsoever.
- Four des Navettes: next to the St Victor Fort, this bakery is famous for its "Navette" dry biscuit which recipe has been kept secret for almost a century. This is one of Marseille's culinary speciality..not to miss.
- La Luciole, near the church of Notre Dame du Mont, nice place, 3 courses meal around 15?
- le Petit Nice: on La Plaine next to the Court Julien, nice little cafe.
- les 13 coins: in "Le Panier", a nice terasse for a nice atmosphere
- La Cigale et la Fourmi (http://www.cigale-fourmi.com/) is calmly situated 30 minutes by public transportation from the city and 30 minutes walk from the beach. The old house in the 'Village de Mazargue', a district south of Marseille, has been renovated and turned into a Backpackers Hostel. Every room has kitchen and a bathroom. Free WiFi and Internet acces are at you disposal, complimentary coffee is served in the morning (no breakfast, but bakery nearby), 6 bikes are on display and no curfew/lockout. Dormitory are 15 ? per night, rooms from 35 ?. Tel.: +33 491 400 512, Fax: +33 491 400 510, email@example.com
Le Vieux Port has free wireless access, available from many of the bars and restaurants, and in some places in the street (although there are not many places to sit). The ESSID to use is "Marseille San Fils" and the network is not encrypted. When you first connect, your browser will take you to a web page about the service in French -- simply click on "Cliquez ici" ("click here") on that page to use the network freely.