Did you hear some rumours about Marseille? It is a dangerous city, there is a lot of purse-snatching, crimes and drug issues. No way, you should not categorise Marseille like this. No doubt, some criminal issues might occur more likely than other safer cities all over the world. Just watch your belongings while you are discovering the city. And please eliminate your bias towards Marseille because I am sure you will spend amazing time in this quirky city.
Let me begin by telling you my experience.
I and my friend, Melis, were in Marseille in June in 2014. We stayed in an Airbnb apartment during we were on holiday. When we arrived there, we were so hungry and we asked our host for food advice. She recommended us one small pizzeria near to the house. You might be surprised but pizzas are delicious in Marseille! They bake the pizzas in wood-fired oven so it probably affects the taste of them positively. We took away two tasty pizzas. We enjoyed the view of port while eating the pizza in the evening.
Next day, we started to discover Marseille early in the morning to make most out of it. We went towards the city centre where you can see the Old Port (Vieux-Port). While I was walking in the Old Port, I could not count how many boats harboured there. Then, we took a bus heading to the beach because we wanted to swim and explore the other parts of the city. We arrived at the coastline where many public beaches are located in. Plage des Catalans was our choice because of its proximity to other attractions. Sunbathing and breathing in the fresh sea breeze was awesome. We swam and enjoyed the sun.
Then, we headed towards the Vallon des Auffes which is an old, small fishing port. The view was breathtaking.
After taking perfect photos, we took a bus to visit Basilique Notre-Dame de La Garde. Not only inside of the cathedral but also the view from balcony were amazing. It might be the best view of the city from the top. You should visit this cathedral to see the gorgeous landscape of Marseille.
We also discovered the oldest district of Marseille, while we were coming back to the house. Le Panier is the oldest neighbourhoods of Marseille and it welcomes you with its spirit. Have you ever noticed the arts and spirits in some places? Le Panier has the cutest restaurants and lovely cafes. It is like a creative quarter with small handcraft shops. There are many interconnected alleys and colourful graffities over the walls. I was fascinated. As if each narrow street had its own story. Additionally, I recommend you to visit Museum of Mediterranean Archaeology in this quarter.
Another day, we took a ferry to access Chateau D’If. Prepare yourself for windy weather in Chateau D’if. While we were in ferry, we saw the Cathedrale de La Major. We did not have a chance to visit inside of it but its view was amazing. It is also not far away from the Le Panier.
Chateau D’If is located on a small island. If you read the Count of Monte Cristo, you will be impressed by the Chateau D’If more than anyone else. You will see many sea gulls around this chateau. I would have loved to walk inside of the fortress and explore the chateau’s courtyard and old prison cells. I was impressed by its history.
Then, we returned to the city centre to lose ourselves in the cobbled streets of the city. We walked through the main shopping street and went to the Palais Longchamp. You can go to The Palais Longchamp by tram. It is easy to access. The Palais Longchamp has become one of my favourite places in Marseille. It houses two museums: Musee des Beaux-Arts and Natural History Museum. Water cascade and the view of the monument were impressive. Massive gardens are worth to visit. Taking a walk around this garden in nice weather will refresh you.
The last day, we left the city early in the morning. All in all, my journey was nice. I really like the creative, quirky and cultural fabric of Marseille. This city has different spirit than the other cities in French Riviera for me. So, you should add this place in your bucket list!