Anchors clanking, blue blue sky, deep blue waters, wide boulevards lined with restaurants that are teeming with people lingering over coffee and pastries in the morning, long long lunches, afternoon refreshment and late late dinners. In fact you’d be forgiven for thinking no one goes to work in Marseilles since bars, cafes and restaurants seem to be permanently buzzing!
Best way to find your bearings: Take a tour. You might like the “petite train”, there are two options, the Notre Dame de la Gare one is best and saves you climbing some very steep hills. Take the tram or metro around town. Pick up a city pass from the tourist office which will cover you for public transport and attractions and they also run a guided bus tour.
Wander: The walk around the port is wonderful, beautifully picturesque with the sun glinting off the water. Head up to Le Panier, the old town for artistic shops and a great place for lunch (not for dinner, the choice is less). Don’t miss a trip to Notre Dame Cathedral for yet more magnificent views over Marseille.
Eating and Drinking: Around the bay is very picturesque and tends to be pricier. Head off the main tourist tracks to experience real Bouillabaise, the ubiquitous fish dish of Marseille and expect to pay around 40 Euros a head, it’s worth it, a memorable dish.
Top Tip: Get a fab view over the city from the train station at the top of the spectacular Belle Epoque staircase. Avoid the station area at night, Marseille is not as gritty as the old tour guides state but the station area feels a little dodgy after dark. Take a boat from the harbour to one of Marseille’s islands or to Les Calanques National Park.