The southeastern part of France features Marseille, an exciting port city with a rich history, active creative scene, and a trendy multicultural crowd. Those going here can catch a flight to the Marseille Provence Airport, located about 17 miles from the city. It is a major port of entry after the Parisian airports, as it welcomes more than five million passengers every year. This makes Marseille Airport the fifth busiest airport in France in terms of passenger traffic. Various companies also transport their goods here, making the airport the third largest for cargo traffic.
Although principally catering to travellers coming from Europe, Marseille Airport also has direct connections to different ports of entry in nearby Asian regions, Africa, and North America. This arrangement makes it relatively easier for travellers to visit the city of Marseille, one of the most popular areas of France apart from its capital.
What to see & do
Marseille is a city of beautiful architecture such as one will see when looking at the grand structure of Basilique Notre-Dame de la Garde. Located on the top of a hill, this magnificent church features a Neo-Byzantine style with a large Madonna above the belfry. Those going inside will find opulent marble arches supporting cupolas gilded with mosaic. After gazing around, one can climb up to the terrace to see the beautiful views of the city to the old harbour and the Mediterranean Sea. Another church to see is the Cathedrale de la Major in the Le Panier quarter. The combined Romanesque and Byzantine styles create such a splendid effect, especially with its size about a length of 141 metres. Those viewing it across the sea will have a better view of the artistry of its form.
Le Panier or the Old Town makes an important addition to the itinerary, as one will find here the historical and cultural centre of the city. Its narrow streets and pastel buildings now house various multi-ethnic and artistic sights from local artisan boutiques, gourmet food shops, art galleries, and simple international cuisines. Those going around here will find the La Canebiere, the busy part of the district and the Hotel de Ville or the Town Hall, which was built in the late 17th century. Those who want to learn more about the city can then visit the Musee d'Histoire de Marseille and then go inside the Musee des Civilisations de l'Europe et de la Mediterranee.
Travellers checking out the sights of Marseille will not just find a busy harbour and an energetic city. A breathtaking seaside scenery also awaits tourists as they go out of the urban areas. Cycling away on the seaside roads will take one to the coves and beaches. One can rest a while here to get away from the crowds or enjoy the beach before going back to see more sights in the city. Those who really want to get away, however, can go on a short ferry ride to Chateau d'If, located in the Frioul Islands. History buffs and literary enthusiasts will enjoy a trip here to see the fortress, which was turned into a prison. Portrayed in Alexandre Dumas' Count of Monte Cristo, One will find here more beautiful nature sights from the impressive limestone clifts to the turquoise waters of the beaches. Rare floral species also grow here, which can delight budding ecotourists.
How to get around
An extensive bus network will make it easy for travellers to go around Marseille. Those going out in the evenings will also find the buses stationed at night in the streets. Travellers looking for a ride at this time can buy tickets in front of the Espace Infos RTM and wait for a bus to arrive. Taxis are also available, making it convenient to visit different areas within Marseille. Cars for hire also come with drivers, which can be convenient especially for those new to the sights of the city.
How to get there
Travellers going to Marseille Provence Airport can book connecting flights to arrive in the city for a vacation. Airlines serving here include Aegean Airlines, Aer Lingus, Aigle Azur, Air Algerie, Air France, Air Madagascar, Air Malta, Air Mediterranee, Air Transat, Alitalia, British Airways, Brussels Airlines, easyJet, EL Al, Etihad Regional, Freebird Airlines, Iberia, Jetairfly, Lufthansa, Lufthansa Regional, Norwegian Air Shuttle, Scandinavian Airlines, Pegasus Airlines, Royal Air Maroc, Ryanair, Syphax Airlines, TAP Portugal, Tassili Airlines, Tunisair, Turkish Airlines, Twin Jet, Volotea, Vueling, and XL Airways France.