On-line Guide: Cote d’Azur daytrips: Marseille
Posted May 2018 in Go & Do
Marseille via TGV high-speed train is two hours and 30 minutes away. The walk-on fare is €35 one-way via SNCF; with much cheaper advance booking deals available.
The Trip: It’s a beauty. The sleek engine noses out of Nice-Ville station like a racehorse, then prances seaward past the lapping waves of Biot, Juan-les-Pins and Cannes. The red rocks of the Esterel natural park follow next, as swimmable blue creeks tempt just metres from the tracks. It’s the French Riviera – without villas or crowds.
The TGV finally lets rip through the Côtes de Provence vineyards of Draguignan, before bolting through Marseille’s city limits into the freshly renovated Saint-Charles station.
Why Go: The sights – Marseille is France’s oldest city. Back in 2013 Marseille became Europe’s Capital of Culture. Ten world-class museums were either completely renovated or built from scratch.
Key among these is MuCEM, a museum of Mediterranean history housed in a glass and metal cube on Marseille’s waterfront. You enter via a funky pontoon bridge suspended above the Vieux Port.
Another must-see is the Musée Cantini. This rococo mansion hosts canvases from Picasso, Miró, Cézanne, Signac and every other major modern artist who passed through the South of France. All can be seen with a 24 hour CityPass (€26), which also grants free boat and train trips around Marseille.
You’d be forgiven for visiting Marseille solely for the food. Stop by the open-air Vieux Port fish market for a taste of what’s to come. Then try seafood eateries like La Boite à Sardine, where the short menu is purely based on the catch of the day guaranteeing freshness!
What’s New: Marseille has always been football mad (especially since hosting six crunch EURO 2016 games). The rebuilt Stade Vélodrome soccer stadium offers in-depth stadium tours (€13).
The Souvenir: Nothing shouts Marseille like a bottle of Pastis. Sample one of 75 types of local firewater at portside liqueur emporium La Maison du Pastis.