France's oldest city is one of its most dynamic, with a melting pot culture and vibrant arts scene. The soul of the city is its Vieux Port, the working waterfront. Marseille is also a gateway port to the scenic villages and coastal areas of Provence.
The One Thing You Don't Want to Miss
For the best view of the city, there's only one place to go: Notre Dame de la Garde. Entirely covered in gold leaf, it towers over Marseille at an impressive 500 feet tall (154 meters.) Throughout the years, it has served as a lookout post, a military zone and a place of worship.
Fun Things to Do
- Stroll around the Old Port, or Vieux Port as the locals say, which was once known as the gateway to the Mediterranean. Here you'll find the popular theatre, Théâtre National de la Criée, as well as many cafés and restaurants lining the streets.
- See the amazing history of the city - 26 centuries worth - at Musée d'Histoire de Marseille.
- Walk through Cours Julien, a pedestrian square with a beautiful water garden and fountain, as well as trendy shops, cafés and theatres.
- Visit Le Prado south of the city where you'll find Parc Borély, a magnificent city park with numerous ponds, a botanical garden and a greenhouse.
Get a Taste of Local Flavor
If there's one local specialty, it's bouillabaisse, or fish soup. The recipe is up to a bit of interpretation, with many chefs using the freshest catch of the day in addition to plenty of garlic, saffron, onions, tomatoes and other spices.
Shopping for Bargins
The best shopping can be found off of the city's main thoroughfare and most famous street, La Canabiere, east of the Old Port. Look for Rue St. Férrol, between Rue de Rome and Rue Breteuil, for everything from designer clothes to books and CDs.
The Euro (EUR), the currency of the European Union, is the official currency of France. Many stores and restaurants also accept major credit cards, which usually offer you a good exchange rate. When shopping, remember there is a Value-Added Tax added to most purchases.
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