Thursday 17 August 2023


I really did not know what I would make of Marseille, after all I had never been to the South of France, in fact I had only ever been in Paris when it came to visiting France, and though I had heard many, many great things about Marseille from friends who had been recently, I had heard equally many not so great things about this “dangerous” city. 

As it turned out Marseille was one of the most wonderful places I have ever visited, and I instantly fell in love with this vibrant, loud, beautiful and unique city.

Yes, Marseille is a little rough around the edges in certain areas, but for god’s sake if you can deal with living, working or going out in Shoreditch or anywhere in East London - which can be dirty, full of graffiti and with a chance of having your phone snatched, you will be just fine in Marseille. 

This certain “grittiness” also means that the city is much more affordable than anywhere else on the Côte d'Azur, and has enabled Marseille to nurture a thriving culinary and natural wine scene, which of course was a MASSIVE draw for me, in fact there are so many young restauranteurs doing amazing things that I barely had time to scratch the surface in my 7 days of eating there.

And of course there are the beaches - the sandy ones, the rocky ones and the sunbathing spots by the sparkling blue water by the ports, so picture perfect that I had to pinch myself a few times after so many years without a proper beach holiday.

You could spend an entire week just exploring the different spots by the Mediterranean sea in and around Marseille that feel so quiet and calm, yet you are still in the second biggest city in France so have all the amenities that come with that (all your standard high street shops, a great transport network and big supermarkets), plus a whole lot of scenic day trips less than hour away to keep you busy if you wish to go further afield.

I could keep on going with reasons why I fell in love with Marseille and I am already planning a return trip to this sprawling, exciting, stunning, imperfect city by the sea and I hope you give it a chance too, you really won’t regret it.

Flights only take an hour and a half from London to Marseille which is an amazingly short amount of flight time considering how much of a holiday destination Marseille feels like. I paid about £150 for my return flight with easyJet from Gatwick.

Once you land into Marseille Provence airport the easiest and fastest way to get into the centre of Marseille is via bus. It will only cost you €10, take less than 30 mins and gets you to the main train station. Be warned - the train station is on a hill (Marseille as a whole will give your thighs a good work out with ample stairs and hills to climb) so it’s a bit of a workout arriving and departing with a heavy suitcase.

There is a super handy luggage storage inside the station which I used on my last day, as my flight was at 10pm, and which only cost €10 to store your luggage for the whole day.

Marseille is on Citymapper which makes using their public transport network and generally getting around SO easy and pleased the Googlemaps hater in me hugely.

I always try to keep my travel and restaurant guides truthful and to be honest our accommodation was the only real fail of the holiday. 

I did the AIRBNB booking and research and although our chosen apartment for the stay had over 20 4+ star reviews and was being looked after by “superhosts”, I probably should have paid more attention to the  ‘noise outside the apartment’ that was mentioned more than once in reviews.

Why? Well let’s just say we seemed to have ended up staying on the loudest street in Marseille. There was the bin truck which appeared to be cleaning the street mind numbingly loudly 3x times a night, every night, there was also the bar right by our window where loud altercation were the norm around 3am each night PLUS as final lucky straw our apartment was seemingly infested with the most hungry mosquitos I have ever encountered in my life which meant I was getting about 15 bites every night to the point where they were literally biting my fingers...

BUT despite all of this the holiday was not ruined. In fact we laughed it all off as everything else on the trip went so smooth and above our expectations... and indeed as with everything in life, holidays are never going to be perfect.

Next time I would definitely either stay at a hotel or another, better located AIRBNB so bear with me on accommodation recommendations in Marseille for now… that part you may have to figure out yourself!




Catalans beach is the closest beach to the city, a good 20-25 minute scenic walk from the city centre and via the port and it’s many gorgeous sailing boats, and was our go-to beach when we fancied an easy dip into the sea and sandy beach. 

It can get busy and I would suggest looking after your bags but it’s a gorgeous beach, conveniently located with showers and a friendly vibe so you really can’t go wrong!


This beach is a good hour’s walk (or a quick bus ride on the 83 bus line which has the most convenient route all the way down the Marseille sea promenade and its beaches) from downtown Marseille and is very quiet, shielded from the wind and more family orientated in its crowd. Definitely worth a visit but not our favourite beach on this trip.


More of a gravel than sand beach but we loved this stretch of beach which felt fairly quiet even during peak season. It’s a bit further from the city centre, on the way towards the Calanques national park but easily reached via bus. Even better, there is a huge supermarket 3 minutes from the beach which makes it the perfect spot for a beach picnic!


One of Marseilles' best features are the stunning cliffs and rocky inlets by the sea that frame its coastline, which can be excellently utilised as sunbathing spots and to dive into the sea in the most scenic of settings. 

I would highly recommend bringing some beach shoes / jellies if you are planning on swimming while at the cliffs as it can be quite painful to enter the sea barefoot, but I found these the most scenic, stunning and least overrun spots, so definitely worth a little climb and detour from the main beaches.

Malmousque Cove was our absolute favourite spot on the rocks of Marseille. Just a 15 minutes walk away from Catalans beach via lots of little bakeries, supermarkets and ice cream parlours, which comes in very handy for a beach picnic  and just below the the iconic Le Petit Nice hotel, Malmousque Cove is the most dreamy spot to sunbathe, enjoy the clear waters and admire a great view across the coast. 

There is plenty of space for everyone to find a rock to spread their towl own and we found it was full of locals stopping by to eat their lunch, have a quick dip in the sea and soak up the Marseille summer, and if I lived in Marseille I would be very much doing the same.


Literally a 5 minute walk from Malmousque Cove and en route to Catalans beach, you will find, tucked away down an assuming side street, a tiny fishing village within Marseille, the Vallon des Auffes. 

Here it is like time has stopped and like you have at once escaped the hustle and bustle of the big city.
There are fishing boats, colourful huts and at the end of the quay ample sunbathing spots on the cliffs that border the Vallon des Auffes. The most charming part of Marseille that adds yet another unexpected layer to the city one cannot miss!



A Calanque is a unique kind of geological formation made of limestone. They are big rocky coves forming a steep and narrow valley inland. The Calanques National Park on the far fringes of the city is a protected and highly regulated area, and you actually need to register for tickets to enter the park (this can be done online 3 days in advance of your planned visit but I failed to secure tickets). 

However you can still see some Calanques' natural beauty with a visit to Les Goudes, the most beautiful remote fishing village. My tip - book a table at La Baie Des Singes Goudes… possibly the most remote and adventorous to get to  restaurant I have been to in my life and not far from Les Goudes.

You literally have to climb across several cliffs with the most stunning views across the sea and rugged landscapes of the National Park to reach this restaurant (not for the faint hearted or those with a fear of heights as it can get PRETTY high up on those cliffs), but it is most definitely worth it all for the view that you get from the dining space once you reach the restaurant (and the food was actually also pretty decent). 

There are also some highly coveted sun loungers one can rent for the day for €25 right next the restaurant, though we went on a particularly windy day which meant the remained empty but I would come back for a day on one of those alone.

A demust-do day trip while in Marseilles and even though the area feels very remote easy enough to reach via a couple of buses that run regularly from the centre of town, just make sure you put your trainers on for the occasion!


Cassis has been called "the poor man’s St Tropez" and this quaint seaside town with its beautiful promenade of terraced restaurants definitely feels a little how I would imagine St Tropez and its air of glamour, though in the case of Cassis this comes without a hefty price tag and an overly pretentious crowd, and I loved our day trip there.

It takes less than half an hour to get to Cassis from Marseille's' main train station and the train tickets are only €6 each way. On arrival in Cassis you have to take a 5 minute bus ride into town but from there Cassi is very walkable on foot, in fact you can very much explore most of the town in one day. 

The beach is literally adjacent to the restaurant promenade and is gorgeous, sandy and clean, and we adored sitting down in one of the cafes, ordering a Niçoise salad and watching the world go by. The town also has a bunch of lovely artisanal shops if you fancy a non trashy souvenir to take home. 

Cassis felt like the perfect escape from the large scale of Marseille for the day yet was so easy to get to, highly recommended.


Visting Cite Radieuse is like visiting a piece of architectural history. Listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site, the ‘Cité Radieuse’ (radiant city) designed by Le Corbusier, was the main inspiration for the entire brutalist architecture movement -  a visionary housing unit (which also includes a hotel) that plays with lights, perspectives, and colours and left me in awe and very inspired.

You can even explore a few floors of the building (including the roof) which I did and which felt like travelling back in time, most original exterior and interior features have remained the same since completion of the building in 1952.

A piece of history that left a lasting impression on me and a detour from the beaches and cliffs of Marseille I would highly recommend.


I had a daily morning ritual in Marseille and that was a run from our AIRBNB in the centre of down town Marseille all the way down the Corniche Président John Fitzgerald Kennedy, as far as my legs would take me. 

It’s most amazing route - taking you past Catalans beach, the Malmousque Cove, all the way to the “longest bench in the world”, an art deco style curved concrete bench which stretches for 3km along the coast line with the most amazing views across the Mediterranean Sea. 

Even if you aren’t packing your running kit, I can’t recommend an extended walk across the Corniche enough to absorb the beauty of Marseille

Foodie guide to follow ASAP, this was enough of an essay before getting me started on food!

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