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Marseille

Gateway to Provence

The 2013 European "Capital of Culture," Marseille is the largest port city on the breezy Mediterranean coast and the second largest city in France. From its colorful markets, like the Noailles market that will make you feel like you're in Africa, to the Calanques de Marseille miniature fjords with tall limestone cliffs down into the sea, Marseille has a lot to offer. Add the historical district at Vieux Port to your itinerary for fabulous restaurants, bars, and nightlife. Also, consider Corniche, the old scenic sightseeing road along the sea with many places to find adventure, such as diving, climbing, and boating.

The mild Mediterranean climate has mildly warm and humid winters, and warm to hot, mostly dry summers with plenty of sun. Wonderful aromas produced by traditional seafood dishes, such as Bouillabaisse, a famous seafood stew made with fresh local fish, fill the streets. Marseille is the capital of the Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur region, and one of the oldest cities of the Mediterranean founded by Greeks in 600 BCE. Because of the city's historical building development, many of the roadways are narrow, making it difficult to drive. A great alternative option is to rent a bicycle from any of the 130 terminals offered by Le Vélo. Marseille is in Bouches-du-Rhone. Put Marseille at the heart of your travel plans by using our France trip planning tool .
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Where to stay in Marseille

The Old Port is near the water, seafood restaurants, and the not-to-be-missed museums. Hotels with sea views come with a price tag to match, though. For more affordable accommodations and local character, check out hostels and rental apartments in the Panier district. The Canebière neighborhood is in the heart of the action. For a more nature-oriented locale, a hotel near Garde Hill offers the nearby botanical gardens.
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