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What to see in Marseille

Marseille Attractions

A city that is sometimes tragically overlooked in a country so full of popular destinations, Marseille has a lot to offer tourists. The city is well situated as a base for glorious excursions along the coast but there are also plenty of things to see and do in Marseille which is a vibrant, cosmopolitan city.

Perhaps the most famous attraction of Marseille is the imposing Chateau d'If, the infamous setting for Alexander Dumas's The Count of Monte Cristo. The island is just off the coast and can be quickly reached by ferry; the prison is disturbingly well-preserved. Other attractions in Marseille include the Basilique de Notre Dame de la Garde, which is a magnificent cathedral with wonderful views of the city and a richly decorated interior as impressive as its facade, and the Parc Borely, a lovely open area with a botanical garden and boating lake. The ornate Palais Longchamp is also definitely worth a visit. The palace now houses the Musee des Beaux Arts and the Natural History Museum and it also features an enormous fountain and extensive grounds which are a joy to explore.

One of the most popular attractions in Marseille is the beachfront. The city has some lovely beaches, including the popular Plage des Catalans near the city centre. The corniche, or promenade, makes for a nice stroll as it winds past several beaches and inlets. Just south of Marseille are the famous Massif des Calanques, deep limestone fjords which make for a dramatic and spectacularly beautiful coastline that attracts climbers, divers and hikers. Visitors can take a boat cruise out from Marseille to explore the area and are sure to find some exceptional swimming spots. The picturesque resort town of Cassis, hemmed in by white cliffs, is also a popular excursion from Marseille.


Cassis is a beautiful resort town just west of Marseille. Hemmed in by high white cliffs, its modern development has been carefully limited and it retains much of the charm lost by its more high-profile…

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Château d'If

On the sparsely vegetated island of If is the infamous prison, Château d'If, which is best known as the penal setting for Alexandre Dumas' famous book The Count of Monte Cristo. François…

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Marseille Beaches

The most popular beach in Marseille, near the city centre, is the Plage des Catalans. This marks the beginning of Marseille's corniche which ends at the Plage du Prado, the city's main sand beach,…

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Massif des Calanques

Directly south of Marseille, and to the west of Cassis, is the wild coastline of the Massif des Calanques. Some of France's most beautiful and dramatic scenery can be found along this 12 mile (19km)…

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Palais Longchamp

One of Marseille's most scenic buildings is the Palais Longchamp. Built during the Second Empire, it is the grandiose conclusion of an aqueduct that once brought water from the Durance to the city.…

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