How to Spend 1 Day in Marseille
As France’s oldest and second-largest city, seaside Marseille juxtaposes historic structures with innovative new builds. One day in the city gives you chance to tick off several top attractions and spend some time at sea. Here’s how.
Morning: MuCEM and Fort Saint-Jean
Start your day with a walking tour of Marseille's Vieux Port, the sea-facing home of many top Marseille attractions Don't miss a trip to the Museum of European and Mediterranean Civilisations (MuCEM); you certainly won't be able to miss the building, with its latticed cube facade. Inside, admire hundreds of artefacts from across the Mediterranean region, which showcase past and present. From here, it's just a short stroll across a bridge to Fort Saint-Jean, a series of old buildings that now serve as an extension of the museum.
Afternoon: Château d’If
Stick around the Vieux Port area for lunch as there are plenty of sea-facing spots that serve up fresh seafood—for the ultimate local specialty, try the bouillabaisse. Then, take a tour out to Château d'If, a 16th-century fortress on a tiny offshore islet. It was made famous by its appearance in Dumas's The Count of Monte Cristo, but it’s worth visiting even if classic French literature isn’t your thing, as it served as a prison for centuries. The best way to visit is either by hopping aboard the Frioul If Express from the Vieux Port or, if you want a more in-depth experience, join a tour from the mainland.
Evening: Sunset at Sea
There are plenty of ways to wrap up your day. You could go out for dinner and drinks back in town, or catch a show at the Marseille Opera or—if you can understand French—at La Criée Theatre. However, as Marseille is a city of seafarers, it's worth considering spending your final night at sea, on a catamaran cruise out into the Mediterranean. Cruises depart from the Vieux Port and typically combine drinks and dinner with unobstructed sunset views; some often include onboard DJs.