our guide to marseille's best bits

Last updated Jun 04, 2023

Marseille is unapologetically French without the fuss and fame of Paris. In the city you’ll find port-side restaurants laden with drool-worthy food and pretty wooden shutters overlooking the winding streets. Wander to the outskirts for beautiful beaches and national parks, Marseille is a 2-in-1 city beach escape!

Our stunning aparthotel at Centre Vieux Port is just a 5 minute walk to the famous port, surrounded by historic sights, museums and hip wine bars. With 300 days of sunshine a year, there’s never a bad time to visit, but summer means long days stretched out on the beaches and guaranteed alfresco dining. Check out our top picks to make the most out of your city break to Marseille…



1. enjoy an apéritif in le panier

Less than a minute’s walk from Staycity Aparthotels you’ll stumble across the eclectic neighbourhood of Le Panier. A melting pot of different cultures and snaking streets, you’ll find boutiques and cafés woven between street art and pastel-coloured houses. Once an ancient Greek settlement, then home to a plethora of immigrants from around the world, now Le Panier is a trendy must-see bursting with character and creativity. Stop into a sun-kissed café-bar on the square for an aperitif or cup of coffee.


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2. kayak (or beach it up) in calanques national park

Mother Nature pulls out all the stops when it comes to The Calanques… With powder white cliff-faces, Mediterranean greenery swaying in the breeze and pockets of glittering beaches tucked away in secret coves, Calanques National Park is ideal for adventurers and chillers alike. Just a 40 minute drive outside the central Marseille, kayak through the creeks to find secluded beach spots or head out for a hike with impossibly beautiful views. For a beach day closer to the city Plage des Catalans is an easy 20 minute bus ride or 30 minute walk from the aparthotel.


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3. discover the mucem

You can’t miss the architectural beast that is the MuCEM. Cladded in black concrete to mirror the fishing nets around Marseille’s port, this magnificent building lights up at night, dazzling at the waterfront. Head inside for a journey into Mediterranean culture and civilization. With diverse exhibitions delivered in multiple mediums from photography to immersive experiences and everything in between, it’s one of the best places to learn about the diversity of this historic city.

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4. sail to château d’if

With so many historical sights, churches and monuments on every corner of the city, how do you choose what to see on a short break? Head to the Vieux Port of course! When your senses have been bamboozled from the sheer chaos of sights, sounds and smells, hop on a boat to Château d’If, the stunning island made famous in ‘The Count of Monte Cristo’. Learn about the island’s grizzly history (it used to be a brutal prison!) as you take in the stunning city views. Sunset is always a good idea.


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5. bouillabaisse and marseille cuisine

This steaming bowl of fish stew is the jewel of Marseille’s mouth-watering cuisine. Each restaurant has its own take on the classic but expect a rich, herby broth served with crusty bread and plenty of crisp white wine. There’s much debate as to who does the city’s best example of the dish but you can’t go wrong with Le Rhul or Chez Michel. Other must samples include navettes, boat shaped biscuits in a variety of flavours from orange blossom to anise, and panisse, chips made from chickpeas served with dips.



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6. explore cosquer cave

The newest attraction in town! Cosquer Cave is a reconstruction of the original cave where prehistoric paintings and etchings were discovered by  Henri Cosquer in 1985. Discover the artistic secrets that were hidden for over 30 000 years on a journey above and below the sea. This immersive museum experience asks you to imagine what life was like all those years ago and creates stunningly realistic replicas of prehistoric artwork. The ideal afternoon activity for adventurous families, history buffs and anyone with a healthy curiosity.

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Marseille stays hot 'til early November... 

Marseille France

staying at marseille centre vieux-port

Marseille: seaside charm, bustling Vieux-Port, aromatic bouillabaisse, lively markets, ancient history, vibrant street art, and picturesque national parks.