Marseille has been designated as European Capital of Culture in 2013 and for good reason. It’s a major centre of art and history with many museums and galleries, ancient buildings and a veritable list of churches and Abbeys to visit. Make sure to see the city’s Notre Dame de la Garde Cathedral and the Abbaye de Saint Victor with its pre-Christian crypt, originally a Phoenician temple.
Most of the must-see places are in the 1st, 2nd, 6th and 7th arrondissements, including the Old Port or Vieux-Port, the main city harbour. Wander along the waterfront and choose one of the many restaurants where you can return for lunch after visiting the Quai des Belges at the end of the harbour, the site of the bustling daily fish market.
France’s second most populated city after Paris, Marseille is not the Parisians’ favourite haunt. Yet it enjoys a Mediterranean climate, with daytime winter temperatures around 50ºF and is a cosmopolitan melting pot. It has an important Opera House but is also famous for hip-hop music, and French rap started here. Footballers Eric Cantona and Zinedine Zidane were both born here and the city provided the backdrop for the films the French Connection and the Count of Montecristo.
Easy Jet fly to Marseille Provence, from London Gatwick and Bristol and Ryanair fly to Marseille MP2 from London Stansted and Edinburgh.