Diametrically opposite in temperament and climate from Northern France, Marseilles was once considered France’s illegitimate cousin to the south. Nothing could be further from the truth. Vibrant, sun-ripened Marseilles captures the true spirit of this passionate nation. Today, this lively port city combines ancient traditions with modern culture.
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France’s second largest city sits stunningly along the southern coast of France, known as the sun-drenched French Riviera. Many renowned impressionist painters, such as Renoir and Cezanne, recreated the beauty of this sublime land and its people on canvas. These works include the Old Port of Marseilles (Renoir) and the Bay of Marseille (Cezanne). To get a real sense of the region, vacationers should visit such renowned spots as the boat-lined Vieux Port (Old Port), where fishmongers continue to sell their latest catches in the natural harbor, just as the ancient Greeks did more than 2,500 years ago. Located about 536 miles from Paris, Marseille sits along the Mediterranean’s mighty Gulf of Lion’s amidst regal limestone cliffs. The charming old town was first inhabited around 600 BC.
Get swept away with the natural beauty of Marseille as you lounge amid its numerous beaches and stunning white calanques (fjords). Swim, dive or kayak in clear blue waters. Visit the amazing white limestone cliffs and turquoise waters of Calanque National Park, beginning with Marseille’s stunning Sormiou calanque close to the city. Explore the modern-looking Museum of European and Mediterranean Civilisations. Experience the Quai de Belges fish market for some of the region’s freshest catch of the day amid Marseille’s vibrant marketplace. Sample some mouth-watering bouillabaisse, overflowing with fresh fish and seafood, fragrant saffron, savory tomatoes and other local ingredients at a nearby restaurant. View the grand Catholic basilica, Notre-Dame de la Garde, royally crowning Marseille’s hillside. Toast Marseille beneath a million stars at one of her friendly bars in Escale Borely, Place Thiarsor and Vieux Port.
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