The Only Marseille Itinerary You Need | Ever Heard of Bouillabaisse?

Welcome to Marseille, the city located in the south of France. As the second-largest city in the country, Marseille is a melting pot of cultures. Let’s experience the city like true local Marseillais.

Experience the Magic of Marseille’s Old Port – Vieux-Port

First and foremost, there’s the Old Port of Marseille, or as the French say, “Vieux-Port”! It is the historic heart of the city and one of its most iconic landmarks. Locals and tourists alike flock here to soak up the atmosphere and take in the sights and sounds of Marseille. You can taste the local cuisine or grab a drink at one of the many waterfront cafes, or take a leisurely stroll along the quayside.

The Basilique Notre-Dame de la Garde

The Basilique Notre-Dame de la Garde is situated atop a hill that overlooks the city and the sea. The church dates back to the mid-19th century. It boasts stunning Neo-Byzantine architecture with intricate mosaics, stained-glass windows, and a golden statue of the Virgin Mary perched atop its bell tower. Visitors can enjoy breathtaking panoramic views of the city from the basilica.

Ancient Forts: Saint-Nicolas and Fort Saint-Jean

Fort Saint-Jean

The Old Port of Marseille is famous for its two ancient forts. Fort Saint-Nicolas and Fort Saint-Jean, which have guarded the harbor entrance since the 17th century. These forts were built to protect Marseille against sea attacks. 

MuCEM – Museum of European and Mediterranean Civilizations

Fort Saint-Jean houses the MuCEM – Museum of European and Mediterranean Civilizations). It showcases the history and culture of the Mediterranean region. It focuses on the cultural exchanges and interactions that have shaped the region over time. Rudy Ricciotti designed the MuCEM as part of a cultural infrastructure project that unveiled over 600 million euros of new facilities in and around Marseille for the city’s designation as the European Capital of Culture in 2013, along with Košice. Košice is the second-largest city in Slovakia, which is the country where I was born.

La Major Cathedral

The Cathédrale Sainte-Marie-Majeure, or La Major Cathedral, is another impressive church located in the heart of Marseille. In front of the La Major Cathedral, there is a statue of a giant teddy bear. Its official name is “L’Ours” (The Bear). It was created by the French artist Xavier Veilhan as part of a series of sculptures installed around Marseille in 2013 to mark the opening of the MuCEM.

Marseille’s Iconic Fish soup “Bouillabaisse”

No visit to Marseille would be complete without trying the city’s famous fish soup, or “bouillabaisse” in French. The origins of bouillabaisse can be traced back to the fishermen of Marseille, who would make the soup from the day’s catch that they couldn’t sell at the market. They cooked the fish slowly with vegetables and spices, and served with a side of bread and rouille, a garlicky mayonnaise-like sauce.

Indulging in the authentic delight of bouillabaisse can be quite the splurge, ringing in at around 70 euros. Moreover, just a handful of places truly excel in the fine art of crafting this iconic soup. Planning ahead is a must, as you need to book a table and reserve a soup ahead in a restaurant because it takes hours to cook and source an array of various fish that compose its exquisite essence. That’s also why I didn’t give it a try myself, considering I had only a couple of days to spend there. However, in the heart of Vieux Port, a select few establishments swing open their doors to those craving an impromptu rendezvous with bouillabaisse – you may try those.

Marseille serves as the capital of the Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur region. It  is located in the southern Provence region of France. Marseille is the third-largest metropolitan area in France after Paris and Lyon. Towards the east, beginning from the quaint fishing village of Callelongue on the outskirts of Marseille and extending to Cassis, lies the mesmerizing Calanques – a rugged coastal expanse punctuated by picturesque fjord-like inlets. While exploring this area, be sure to also venture to Aix-en-Provence, the charming Luberon villages, Saint-Tropez and Nice.

Share on social media:

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top