France's oldest and second-largest city as well as the biggest port on the Mediterranean, Marseille has much to offer. It's the capital of the Provence-Alpes-Cote d'Azur region and whether you're a history fan, a beach lover or a shopaholic, there are lots of great reasons to visit.
Marseille is a large sprawling city that is home to people from all over the world. Discover architecture and cuisine that hints at Spanish, Italian and North African influences.
Visit the Vielle Charité; designed by Pierre Puget and built between 1671 and 1749, the former almshouse is now an important museum and cultural center. Or, discover landmarks like Palais Longchamp and Notre Dame de la Garde as you drive through the city.
Spend the day at one of the city's beaches such as Catalans, Pointe-Rouge, Prophètes or Corbières, or take a walk along the Corniche for views of the Calanques, a series of magnificent sea fjords.
Take a boat trip from Vieux Port to Chateau d'If. Originally built as a defensive structure, the Historic National Monument and former prison is famously the setting for 'The Count of Monte Cristo' by Alexandre Dumas.
Make Marseille your base and explore the glorious Provencal countryside. Visit Aix-en-Provence or discover fabulous Cote d'Azur beaches like the one at Cassis.
The most popular time to visit is from June to September, when the glorious Mediterranean weather is at its best. Visit later in the year for events like the Marsatac electronic dance music festival at the end of September or la Foire aux Santons, the traditional Christmas market, between the Canebière and Vieux Port from the end of November.
You can fly to Marseille-Provence International Airport, which is 18.6 miles from the city center. From the airport, take the shuttle bus for 8.30EUR or catch the free bus service to Vitrolles Aéroport Marseille Provence Station and board a train to the city for 5EUR.
Catch TGV trains from European cities like Nice, Frankfurt, Paris or Geneva to Marseille St. Charles station. The station is close to the Old Port and the Canebière is well served by local bus and train services.
Since the city is connected to several major roads, it's easy to drive to Marseille from most parts of France. The 482-mile journey from Paris takes just under 7.5 hours via the A6 and A7.
Bus is an affordable option for many travelers. Eurolines FR, Flixbus and Ouibus run regular services from cities like Paris, Geneva, Frankfurt and Strasbourg. The typical fare from Paris is 32EUR.
Book a stay at one of the city's luxurious 5-star hotels such as InterContinental Marseille, Hotel Dieu or C2 Hôtel for special anniversaries or occasions. Good mid-range hotels include Le Rhul, Hotel ibis Marseille Centre Vieux Port and New Hôtel Saint Charles.
Le Cours Julien/ la Plaine - the trendy part of the city and where you'll find some of its best bars and nightclubs. Be sure to visit the Plaine market on Thursday or Saturday mornings.
Le Panier - the oldest neighborhood in Marseille. Notable sights include the Vielle Charité.
Noailles - one of the city's most vibrant and exciting districts. Visit Noailles market for a taste of North African-style street life or spend the afternoon browsing the many Indo-Chinese and Arabic stores.
The city's public transport system is managed by Régie des Transports de Marseille (RTM) and visitors have a choice of two subway lines, 2 tram lines and over 70 bus routes. A daily travel pass costs 5EUR and can be used on buses, trams and the metro.
Taxis are readily available at the Old Port, the railway station and major tourist attractions. A 5-mile journey in the city costs from 10-12EUR, while a taxi to the airport costs 50EUR.
Rent a car from providers such as Europcar, Hertz or Sixt at the airport and enjoy the freedom to explore the Marseille region at your own pace. A compact car can be rented from as little as 17EUR per day.
Find local produce and arts and crafts at the artisan market on the pedestrianized part of the Vieux Port every day during July and August. Shop on Rue de Rome, Rue Paradise and Rue St Ferréol for designer clothing, or visit the extensive Terrasses du Port shopping center next to the MuCEM (Museum of European and Mediterranean Civilisations) for your favorite high-street brands.
Popular supermarket chains include Monoprix and Carrefour. You'll pay 0.91EUR for a liter of whole milk and 9EUR for 16 ounces of local cheese.
Be sure to sample the city's signature dish "bouillabaisse". An authentic version is served at the Michelin-starred L'Epuisette restaurant. For more everyday fare, try a spicy kebab from one of the many vendors on the Canebière. A simple meal costs 9EUR, while dinner for two with wine is 55-60EUR in a mid-range restaurant.