How to get there?
From the airport (Marseille-Provence) which is 30 km from Marseille center:
Be aware that the different cruise terminals of Marseille are pretty far apart, check with your cruise company which dock will be used.
Joliette cruise terminals dedicated to small and medium-size vessels. Close to town.
MPCT (Marseille Provence Cruise Terminal) For most larger vessels.
By train: from the railway station St-Charles you can join easily your cruise terminal by taxi. For GPS users: Place de la Joliette, Marseille.
Although MPCT (Marseille Provence Cruise Terminal) is too far (8 km) to walk to center of Marseille and is not pedestrian-friendly. To get into town, take a taxi or the shuttle service (11 Euro) to and from the Vieux Port (the center of town). Or take City bus (RTM) no: 35, a 20 minute walk from the port, follow the green line on the ground. Get off at Joliette terminus and take bus 55 to the Old Port. (1.90 Euro, pay the driver)
A taxi will cost about 17 Euro to the old port.
Printable map to take along.
Watch a destination video.
The Vieux (old) Port is the hub of Marseilles, lined by its quays, filled with fishing boats and yachts, and surrounded by small streets teeming with seafood restaurants , cafés and shops. The Quai des Belges, at the end of the port, hosts a fish market every morning of the week.
The Vieux Port is the center of touristic Marseille. It is the main marina of the city and it is a good starting point for walks around the old city, along the shopping street "Canebiere" or to the church Notre Dame de la Garde.
South of La Canebière, bohemian cours Julien (known as the ‘cours Ju') sits on the site of the former central food market. These days it is the city's most youthful area, home to a varied collection of fashion boutiques, bookshops, terrace cafés and music venues.
North of the Vieux Port is the hilly district of Le Panier, the oldest part of the city and traditionally the first stop for immigrants – and tourists. It's hard to resist its narrow streets, steep stairways and ancient, pastel-colored houses.
There is also a regular, smaller ferry that potters from one side of the Vieux Port to the other.
Tourist information: 4 La Canebière and at the train station Gare St-Charles.
The Abbaye de St-Victor (3 rue de l'Abbaye, 04 96 11 22 60), a fascinating double-decker church and once one of the most powerful abbeys in the South, is worth the climb. Another (steep) climb, via twisting streets and steps, will take you to the city's most famous landmark: Notre-Dame de la Garde, rue Fort du Sanctuaire, an extraordinary neo-Byzantine extravagance of a basilica.
There is no need to to take a cruise organized expensive shuttle into town.
The free shuttle service from the cruise port ends close (300m walk) where the "Petits
Trains Touristiques" makes
a circuit of the center of Marseille, with commentary. It starts from
the end of the Old Port (Quai des Belges, where the Office de Tourisme
Train 1 - Notre-Dame de la Garde via Vieux Port and Abbaye de St-Victor - 50 min trip; Jan-Nov, from 10h; every 30 min during the summer.
Train 2- Vieux Marseille, via Cathedrale, La Vieille Charite, Quartier du Panier - 40 min trip; Easter-Oct, from 10h15; every hour during the summer.
From 12h-14h the trains only run if there are at least 10 passengers.
You can also opt for the hop on/off services of Marseille Le Grand Tour which also starts at the same spot.
Taxis are also offering tours.
It pays to compare your cruise line shore excursions here
Aix-en-Provence: Take the shuttle bus to Old Port, walk or ride Métro to train station, then take a train to Aix-en-Provence (45 minutes, twice an hour, 9 Euro one way), Arles (1.5 hours), or Avignon (1 hour). Bus 50 also takes you from the train station to Aix-en-Provence, a 35 minute ride, approx. 6 Euro one way. Every 5 minutes or so. Tickets can be bought on the bus. Map of Aix-en-Provence.
The sun-bleached white turrets of Château d'If, the 16th-century island prison immortalized in Alexandre Dumas' The Count of Monte Cristo, are nowadays populated by seagulls and salamanders rather than convicts. Ferries take about 20 minutes and leave every hour from the Vieux Port's quai de Belges – now officially re-named quai de la Fraternité.
The city's cuisine includes many typical dishes, the best known of which is bouillabaisse, a fish stew.
Local emergency number: 112
Most shops, businesses, information services, museums and banks in France stay open all day. The exceptions are the smaller shops and enterprises, which may close for lunch sometime between 12.30pm and 2pm. Basic hours of business are from 8 or 9am to 6.30 or 7.30pm Monday to Saturday for the big shops and Tuesday to Saturday for smaller shops (some of the smaller shops may open on Monday afternoon). You can always find boulangeries and food shops that do stay open, however, on days when others close – on Sunday normally until noon.
Holidays in France
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