The second largest city in France, Marseille is a little gem on the Mediterranean coast that is a perfect escape for anyone looking for a relaxing break in a place that boasts so much beauty and fascinating culture. Founded by the Phocaean Greeks over 2000 years ago, Marseille is not only the oldest city in France but also has the largest active port in the country.
Going to Marseille gives you a best of both worlds scenario. With its fantastic Mediterranean weather (300 days of sunshine a year on average) it's a great place to lounge by the seaside and take in the sun. However, Marseille was awarded the European Capital of Culture 2013 so just like any other conventional city break there's so much to see and do and not just a seaside resort. Visitors can see buildings from various different centuries from the medieval foundations right through to 21st century architecture.
When in Marseille there are a number of attractions to see including:
Basilique Notre Dame de la Garde
An extravagant example of neo-Byzantine architecture, boasts wonderful history and spectacular views with an 11.2m statue of the Virgin Mary and it is the perfect place from which to survey all of Marseille. The highest natural point in Marseille, it's worth the walk.
Calanques National Park
The largest suburban park in Europe provides stunning landscapes with great biodiversity, and home to a number of protected species, both on land and sea. Here you can hike, dive, swim and sail in crystal-clear waters before piling your plate high with the freshest, fattest fish from the Med. Make sure you bring your camera.
The birth place of Marseille, situated at the end of Canebière. Go early morning and embrace the stalls with the fishermen selling their daily catch and enjoy a croissant and coffee in one of the many restaurants and coffee shops around the harbour. Come back at dinner to enjoy a bouillabaisse which is a delicious Provençal fish stew created for the fishermen of Marseille coming back from sea.
To celebrate the launch of the new South of France route, you can take a friend for free to the MuCEM (Museum of European and Mediterranean Civilisations). All you have to do is show your Eurostar ticket to get 2 FOR 1 entry.T&Cs applyWith a short break to Marseille, getting there couldn't be easier. A high-speed Eurostar train will get you there hassle free.