Marseille is the second most populated French city, located on the south coast of France. It was an important European trading center for the ancient Greeks and Romans and remains the main commercial port of the French Republic. In 2013, the city was the European Capital of Culture.
Le Vieux Port (old harbor)with its numerous sailing boatsis the main spot to start your journey in Marseille. In the morning, you will be able to see fishermen selling their stock along the promenade of the harbor side. On the ‘Quai de Rive Neuve’ you will also encounter the Musée du Savon (soap museum), giving you interesting information about the history and the traditional soap making. Next to the museum there is of course also a sopa shop to buy some souvenirs.
Le Panier is a district right next to the Vieux Port, being considered the oldest area of the town. Walking through its narrow streets with its colored old buildings you will see lots of craftsmen, shops and restaurants. The district is known as well for its street art, especially by French artists. If you are interested to see more street art in Marseille, I recommend you to walk close to the Rue des Trois Rois and its side roads, there you will find lots more painted walls and also some nice shops.
Within a short walking distance from the Panier district, you will discover the gigantic Cathédrale de la Major, a Roman Catholic cathedral built in the 19thcentury that has an impressive architecture. It is also worth to visit its inside. Nearby the cathedral you can also visit the museum called MuCEM (Museum of European and Mediterranean Civilizations). It has been opened in 2013 and is now famous for its unique modern architecture. The building is linked by a thin bridge with the Fort Saint-Jean, a fortification built in 1660 and acting now as a park with breathtaking views.
Additionally, I would like to recommend you two further spots which are located outside of the city center. Firstly, there is a big church called Notre Dame de la Garde, located on top of a hill. From there you will have one of the nicest view of the city. You can either reach the church by bus or with the tourist train, both departing at the Vieux Port. Secondly, I recommend you to visit La Friche de la Belle de Mai, if you are interested in seeing an alternative public space. La Friche is a former tobacco factory which has been converted into a cultural complex in 1992. You will find there an exhibition space dedicated to contemporary art, theatre and concert venues, a colorful playground for kids, as well a 8000m2 roof terrace!