A palace with a waterway and boat
The Palais du Pharo viewed from Fort Saint-Jean Marseille France

Inspiring Destinations – Marseille, France

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Marseille, France

Marseille is a port city in southern France and has been a crossroads of immigration and trade since its founding by the Greeks circa 600 BC.

France’s second-biggest city is also the oldest with more than 1500 years of history.

For a walking guide to the city, check out our Self-Guided City Walk of Marseille.

At the heart of Marseille is the magnificent Vieux-Port (Old Port). It is a 2km walk around Vieux-Port and along the way there are many buildings to photograph, boats to admire and even fishermen selling their catch.

A large harbour in a city
Marseille Vieux-Port is a magnificent sight

Nearby you can walk up to Notre Dame de la Garde Basilica, but be aware it is a very steep climb of more than 1km. The Basilica or “Bonne-mère” for the people of Marseille, is a Romano-Byzantine church and the symbol of the city.

a tall church on top of a hill
Notre Dame de la Garde Basilica overlooks the city of Marseille

Marseille is a wonderful place to walk with many viewpoints overlooking the port or towards other parts of the town.

Highlights include Cathédrale La Major, Fort Saint-Jean, Palais du Pharo and the walk alongside the Vieux Port.

A huge church with multiple domes in Marseille France
Cathédrale La Major is an impressive church inside and outside

Fort Saint-Jean is 17th-century fortress with a bridge leading to a regional history museum.

Diners at a cafe with a fort in the background at Marseille France
Fort Saint-Jean viewed from a cafe near the Palais du Pharo

Be sure to visit Palais Longchamp a 19th-century public space with sculptured animals in richly ornate waterfall.

An ornate waterfall with animal sculptures
The stunning waterfall at Palais Longchamp

There are some stunning places on the south coast of France, read about some of our favorites here – 12 Beautiful Villages on the South Coast of France.