Introduction

You have roughly one half of a day for visiting Marseille and interesting places around it. That’s a very short time to see all major sights in a large multicultural, more than 2600 years old city surrounded by unique Mediterranean nature.

Considering this time limit, we have created a collection of tours allowing cruise ships travellers explore Marseille and its surroundings in a most efficient way.

Please note, that no matter which tour you choose, we will meet you at the port at the time your ship arrives there and take you back to the port after the tour. So, you do not need to worry about any transfer between the port and the city.

Guided tours

After meeting you at the port, we will go to the Marseille central part. There we will have a walking tour around the heart of Marseille - the Old Port and Le Panier - the oldest part of the city. You will see the majestic La Major cathedral and have some coffee at La Place de Lenche , which is more than 2600 years old. Then we will go by car to the Notre-Dame de la Garde basilica - the symbol of Marseille. There you will have an opportunity to enjoy wonderful panoramic views of Marseille. After the Notre-Dame, you will have some free time at the city center.
After meeting you at the port, we will go to the Marseille Old Port and have a walking tour around the oldest part of the city. You will see the Old Port, Le Panier, La Major cathedral. Then we will go by car to the Notre-Dame de la Garde basilica and enjoy wonderful panoramic views of Marseille. After the Notre-Dame, we will head to Cassis, a small and cosy resort village surrounded by wonderful nature - the mountains, the calanques, the warm sea, and numerous wineries.
After meeting you at the port, we will go to the Marseille Old Port and have a walking tour around the oldest part of the city. You will see the Old Port, Le Panier, La Major cathedral. Then we will go by car to the Notre-Dame de la Garde basilica and enjoy wonderful panoramic views of Marseille. After the Notre-Dame, we will head to Cassis, a small and cosy resort village. Finally, we will visit the gem of the Mediterranean sea - the Calanques. This place is so beautiful that you will definitely want to see it again.

More information

Ideas of souvenirs to bring home from Provence

It is always nice to bring something home from a trip to a new interesting place. Especially such colorful, vivid, and picturesque as Provence in France. We have created a list of ideas of souvenirs you can bring home from a trip to Provence. Each of them is Provence special. And each of them will help you remember your wonderful journey to Provence for a long time.

 

Lavender

Lavender is a true symbol of Provence. If you travel to Provence during the lavender blooming season and you visit lavender fields, we recommend you to choose a lavender souvenir at one of the local special boutiques. It can be lavender itself, lavender essential oil, lavender perfume, lavender cosmetics, or even something more exotic, like lavender honey or lavender liqueur. We recommend to choose a product made of lavender fine, not lavandin.

Lavender is a symbol of Provence - Ideas of souvenirs from Provence - Around Provence

Lavender is a symbol of Provence – Ideas of souvenirs from Provence – Around Provence

 

Wine

Wine is an important part of the French culture. In Provence, wine traditions are very rich, as the art of winemaking appeared here more than 2600 years ago. Therefore, you have an extremely large number of options.

Wine boutique - Ideas of souvenirs from Provence - Around Provence

Wine boutique – Ideas of souvenirs from Provence – Around Provence

Rosé wine

Rosé wine is consumed in very large quantities in Provence, especially when the weather is hot. We recommend you to taste rosé wine from Cassis, from Bandol, from Les Baux-de-Provence, and from Lourmarin. These are our favorite places to buy rosé wine. At each place, the wine is different, so take your time and carefully taste all the options))

 

Red wine

We recommend to examine two options of red wine. The first one is Châteauneuf-du-Pape wines, the second – Bandol wines. These wines are world famous. The choice depends on your taste. Or, as a third option, you can buy several bottles of Châteauneuf-du-Pape and Bandol wines. And at home, while drinking this wonderful wine, you may greatly appreciate this idea.

Châteauneuf-du-Pape wine - Ideas of souvenirs from Provence - Around Provence

Châteauneuf-du-Pape wine – Ideas of souvenirs from Provence – Around Provence

 

White wine

We are very fond of Cassis white wines. Due to unique location and climate conditions, Cassis white wines have special taste. They are among the France best white wines. Cassis vineyards are relatively small, so the AOC Cassis wines are produced in limited quantities. Therefore, the best wine often can be bought only directly from the winemakers.

 

Savon de Marseille

Savon de Marseille is the genuine Marseille soap, which contains 72% of olive oil. It is suitable for all skin types. The secrets of the artisan Marseille soap production are passed from generation to generation starting from the 17th century. You can find several nice soap boutiques in Le Panier – an old part of Marseille.

Savon de Marseille - Ideas of souvenirs from Provence - Around Provence

Savon de Marseille – Ideas of souvenirs from Provence – Around Provence

 

Faience

Faience from Moustiers Sainte-Marie is one of several pleasant souvenirs you can bring home from a journey to Verdon in Provence. You can buy some exceptionally great looking artisan faience at numerous boutiques in the village. Moustiers Sainte-Marie faience has been known worldwide since the XVIIth century. Such souvenir may become a beautiful decoration of your house interior.

Moustiers Sainte-Marie faience - Ideas of souvenirs from Provence - Around Provence

Moustiers Sainte-Marie faience – Ideas of souvenirs from Provence – Around Provence

Pastis

Pastis is a very popular in Provence anise-based alcohol drink. Its name is a Provençal language word, meaning mixture. The true pastis, Pastis de Marseille, has 45% volume of alcohol. Pastis is served as an aperitif. It is consumed mixed with water.

 

We would like to note that buying pastis together with boules for pétanque for yourself can be a huge step towards the Provençal lifestyle. In some cases, it may be the first sign of your internal readiness to move to Provence.

 

Boules for Pétanque

Modern pétanque is derived from an authentic Provençal game. It has been extremely popular in Provence for centuries. You have definitely seen people playing pétanque in parks or some central locations in Provençal villages. We recommend you to try playing the game. The rules are not very complex. Chances are that you’ll enjoy it.

 

Nougat

Nougat is a specialty of numerous sweets boutiques in Aix-en-Provence. Artisan nougat is very tasty. If you like sweets, you will definitely like it. There are many varieties of nougat. And sometimes it is hard to choose among them as all of them are very good. Although you can find nougat in a supermarket, we recommend you to buy it from an artisan manufacturer.

Nougat at Aix-en-Provence - Ideas of souvenirs from Provence - Around Provence

Nougat at Aix-en-Provence – Ideas of souvenirs from Provence – Around Provence

 

Calissons

Calissons, or Calissons d’Aix are diamond-shaped almond sweets from Aix-en-Provence. According to one of the legends, these sweets were created by the royal cuisinier of the Good King René. These sweets were the only thing which could make the King’s future wife Jeanne de Laval smile. As the legend says, she never smiled before trying the delicious calissons. We recommend you to buy them at one of several specialised boutiques, located in the Aix-en-Provence city center.

Calissons at Aix-en-Provence - Ideas of souvenirs from Provence - Around Provence

Calissons at Aix-en-Provence – Ideas of souvenirs from Provence – Around Provence

 

Something antique

In Provence, you have a lot of possibilities to buy several interesting antiques and collectibles. First of all, at one of specialised boutiques, selling a great variety of things – furniture, books, elements of interior decor, tableware, paintings etc. A lot of such boutiques work in Marseille, L’Isle-sur-la-Sorgue, and in Avignon. The second option is to visit one of traditional French vide grenier or marché aux puces. While it is always fun to attend such events, sometimes you can find some rare and precious things there. In a very good condition and for a relatively low price.

 

We wish you spend wonderful time during your stay in Provence. And hope the ideas we have listed above will help you choose excellent souvenirs from your journey and keep great memories for a long time.

In case you have any comments or questions, please feel free to contact us: Yaroslav – yaroslav@aroundprovence.com, or Kateryna – kateryna@aroundprovence.com.

Formula One in Marseille

As many of you may have heard before, Formula One Championship is returning to the famous Circuit Paul Ricard – a track located very close to marvellous Provençal medieval village Le Castellet, which, in turn, is about 40 min of driving from Marseille. The Grand Prix de France at the Circuit Paul Ricard is officially in the 2018 Formula One Championship calendar, approved by the corresponding decision of the World Motor Sport Council, announced by the Federation Nationale de l’Automobile on June 19, 2017.

Not so many of you may have heard that Marseille may host a special Formula One demonstration event a few days before the Grand Prix de France at the Circuit Paul Ricard on June 24, 2018. The announcement was made by a representative of the Marseille city government during the interview with the France Blue Provence. According to him, the event exact location is still being discussed. It may be Vieux-Port, Corniche, Prado, Boulevard Michelet, or somewhere near Mucem.

A similar event was hosted by London before the Grand Prix de Silverstone last summer.

It is going to be an amazing event, which will attract wide audience and additionally increase Marseille popularity and prestige. For some of you it may be another good reason to visit this great and unordinary city.

Why Marseille is a perfect base for exploring Provence

ANY PLACE IN PROVENCE CAN BE VISITED DURING A DAY TRIP FROM MARSEILLE

Really. Any place. Gorges du Verdon is approximately two hours of driving from Marseille. You can start exploring it either from Castellane or from Moustiers-Sainte-Marie and spend a wonderful day enjoying stunning views of the greatest canyon in Europe.

Gorges du Verdon, beginning of Sentier Martel - Around Provence

Gorges du Verdon, beginning of Sentier Martel

Cassis and the Calanques National Park is almost in Marseille. Some calanques like beautiful  Sormiou and Morgiou are very close – you can get there by bus (#23 to Sormiou and #22 to Morgiou) from the Rond Point du Prado metro station (you will need to walk for 1-1.5 hours from the bus station to the sea). And some are much closer to Cassis, located about 30 km from Marseille (about 20 min of highway or 30-40 min of coastal road driving). You will need a car to get to Cassis. Once you are there, you are rewarded with nice time you can spend in this charming ancient village, delicious famous Cassis white wine you can taste in one of domains or restaurants, great highest coastal peak Cap Canaille view and wonderful Port Miou, Port Pin and especially d’En-Vau calanques. There is one more option to see the Calanques – you can take a boat tour and enjoy their views from sea. You can find plenty of such tours offers in the Marseille Old Port. But keep in mind that this option is more expensive. The average price is approximately €20 per person for the shortest tour. You can check the prices here.

Port Miou Calanque and Cap Canaille view near Cassis - Around Provence

Port Miou Calanque and Cap Canaille view near Cassis

Aix-en-Provence is another great destination near Marseille. You can get there by bus leaving from the Gare Saint Charles. Get to Saint Charles by metro/bus/tramway (check Marseille transport network website for details). And take a bus to Aix-en-Provence (€6 for a one-way ticket). The bus arrives to the Aix city center, so you are good to start exploring the cultural, art, and academic capital of Provence. Considering the convenient possibility to use a bus, going to Aix by train is an exotic option, but still a valid one. TER to the Aix center costs €8 and goes longer than the bus. If you prefer going by car (about half an hour of driving from Marseille), I recommend you to use the Krypton parking, which is outside the city, but costs only €2.2 per day with up to three city transport tickets included in price. You can use these tickets right away to get to the city center by bus (about 15 min). This parking is a very cool thing, as any parking in the city center is much more expensive and all free parking slots around the center are usually occupied.

City Hall square in Aix-en-Provence - Around Provence

City Hall square in Aix-en-Provence

The heart of Provence – Luberon valley is located about 1.5 hours of driving from Marseille. You can get to Gordes via the highway approximately in an hour. After visiting this picturesque village, you can choose from a ton of options Luberon valley can offer you. I recommend visiting the Senanque Abbey (especially if you visit the place during lavender blooming season) – it is amazingly beautiful. You will get great emotions and even more great photos. Next, you can go to Roussillon – a wonderful Ochre village and Lourmarin with its charming medieval chateau and gastronomic restaurants. Please check our tours to the Luberon valley for more details.

Stunning Gordes village view - Around Provence

Stunning Gordes village view

Valensole lavender fields. 1.5 hours of driving from Marseille. Just look at the photos. You should see it and feel it by yourself. Lavender season in Provence is usually between mid-June and the beginning of August (may vary depending on the weather conditions).

Valensole lavender fields - Around Provence

Valensole lavender fields

Sainte-Baume ridge is the Bible place located also within an hour of driving from Marseille. The Grotto where Mary Magdalene lived for 30 years is located there. And it is a very beautiful place – you walk to the Grotto via the Road of Kings via the fairy forest. On top of the plateau you can enjoy wonderful valley views. Montagne Sainte-Victoire, from the one side of the valley, and the Mediterranean sea, from the other side – you can spend a lot of time watching this panorama.

Sainte-Victoire and valley view from Sainte-Baume plateau - Around Provence

Sainte-Victoire and valley view from Sainte-Baume plateau

Avignon is about an hour of driving from Marseille. Optionally, you can take a train or bus. TGV (fast French train) can get you from Marseille to Avignon in a bit more than half an hour (costs about €20, the cheapest ticket I saw was €10 for OUIGO – the “budget TGV”, which goes as fast as a regular TGV). Please check the fares here. Avignon is a place, which can take you to the Medieval Age right away. The city was the Popes residency at that time. Avignon historic center is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The city is really amazing.

Palais des Papes in Avignon - Around Provence

Palais des Papes in Avignon

 

MARSEILLE HAS A LARGE AND CONVENIENT TRANSPORT INFRASTRUCTURE

Marseille has a large and convenient transport infrastructure. There are a bunch of choices of how to get to Marseille from any other country or how to travel between cities within France.

There is a large international Marseille Provence Airport near Marseille. You can easily get from the airport to the city by shuttle bus, by taxi, or by an individually arranged transfer by car. Shuttle bus is obviously the cheapest option. It costs only €8.30, arrives to the Marseille central train station, where you can use metro. You can check the shuttle buses schedule here. Please note, that while you can take shuttle bus during the day or at night, Marseille metro is closed at night.

Taxi will cost you at least €50, depending on your destination address in Marseille.

At Around Provence, we arrange individual transfers from the airport to the hotel for our clients. Usually, it costs €30, as majority of our clients stop at some hotel near the city center.

Marseille central train station Gare Saint Charles accepts trains from majority of the European cities. Travelling by train in France is fast and very comfortable). From Saint Charles you can easily get to any place in Marseille, due to the city vast transport network. Please check its website for details.

Marseille is a popular cruise ships destination. Marseille port is one of the 15 world largest cruise ports. If you arrive to Marseille by a cruise ship, please note that it is quite a long walk from the terminal to the shuttle bus station. It is much more convenient to take a taxi or to arrange a transfer from the port to your hotel with us. Please note that at Around Provence we have special tours composed for the cruise ships travellers. Please check them here.

 

MARSEILLE IS A 2600-OLD CITY VISITED BY 2.5 MLN TOURISTS ANNUALLY

Marseille is a very interesting place to visit by itself. The city has more than 2600 – years long history, rich with various events. Its inhabitants have always been very freedom-loving people with strong trade management skills and adventurer mindsets. The only fact that Marseille gave its name to the France National Anthem can tell us a lot about the city significance in the country history and life.

Marseille Notre-Dame de la Garde and Vieux-Port view - Around Provence

Marseille Notre-Dame de la Garde and Vieux-Port view

Marseille major sights, such as the picturesque Old Port – the ancient heart of the city, the majestic La Major Cathedral, wonderful Notre-Dame de la Garde Basilica, where you can enjoy stunning views of Marseille, beautiful Palais Longchamps, interesting old quartier Le Panier, legendary Chateau d’If attract about 2 and a half million of tourists annually. Marseille is the second largest city of France. It is the home for people of more than 160 nationalities. The city is an exotic gem of the Mediterranean. Please check the Marseille destination page for the description of our tours to the major Marseille sights.

Marseille Vieux-Port view - Around Provence

Marseille Vieux-Port view

Marseille and Chateau dIf view - Around Provence

Marseille and Chateau dIf view