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Originally published on Rich Vein Travel.
Marseille is the oldest city in France. It was founded 2,600 years ago. From the picture perfect streets of Le Panier, to the inviting blue waters of the Calanques, Marseille is home to some of the most stunning gems in Provence. Should you find that you only have 24 hours in Marseille, here is our luxury travel guide. Discover Marseille the Rich Vein Travel way.
24 Hours in Marseille
When you only have 24 hours in Marseille time is of the essence. So upon arrival at Marseille International Airport, we highly recommend booking a private transfer with the Marseille Driver Service, with a range of luxury and standard vehicles to suit all needs.07:30Upon arrival at your luxury hotel, leave your bags at reception and head straight towards the Old Port. On the way you will also be astounded by Cathédrale de la Major. It is 142 meters long, and the main cupola is 70 meters high. With a capacity of 3,000 seats, it is one of the largest cathedrals in France.
Head to one of the waterside bars or cafés for a freshly baked croissant. Then explore the harbour and admire the architectural design of the new Museum of European and Mediterranean Culture (MUCEM).
While many think of the macaron as France‘s iconic sweet treat, in Provence locals sing the praises of the calisson. Calissons are a traditional French candy consisting of a smooth yellow paste of candied fruit and ground almonds topped with a layer of royal icing. Indulge in a mid-morning snack at Le Roy René located nearby, for a perfect example of how they should be made.
Then take a wander through the enchanting streets of Le Panier. Known as the oldest part of town, it is also the most picturesque. Its close, village-like feel, hidden squares and sun-baked cafes make it a delight to explore. Full of cobbled streets, colourful shops and quirky street art, stop for plenty of photos!You may also want to visit Notre Dame de la Garde. The best way to visit, with little time to spare is to take a fairly inexpensive taxi from the port up the hill.10:00It’s shop o’clock. As a city, Marseille is also famous for its savon de Marseille (soap). Soap-making in Marseille has been traced by some to the 14th century, but much of the stuff for sale at the city’s markets is made elsewhere. We recommend La Grande Savonnerie, on the edge of the Panier/Old Port districts for a truly authentic bar of soap. Made with olive oil and no added perfume, and shaped into cubes, the soaps here are the genuine article.
Swap the streets for the sea, and you set sail on short boat trip to Calanques. Calanques are a unique type of rock formation found along the Mediterranean coastline. They’re geologically formed when limestone is eroded away over thousands of years and submerged by sea level rise to create small inlets along the cliff edges. Boat tours from Marseille will take you along the coastline to Cassis, dipping into the Calanques as you go. They run throughout the summer with plenty of stops for swimming!
After exploring one of France’s most beautiful National Parks, swimming in its inviting waters, and enjoying a light lunch, you’ll probably want to relax in your hotel. So head back, collect your luggage and freshen up in your elegantly appointed room.
One of the biggest modern art galleries in Marseille is the Musée Cantini. The gallery has its own extensive collection of modern art but also regularly hosts exhibitions. The gallery sits within a beautiful mansion built at the end of the 17th century, which was once owned by the Montgrand family and was eventually procured by Jules Cantini, a sculptor and philanthropist who bequeathed it to the City of Marseille in 1916 .18:00Le Capian bar is one of the trendiest bars in Marseille, a favorite among cocktail lovers. In addition to its chic and elegant contemporary decor in winter, and its magnificent terrace, one of its strengths is its award-winning chef-barman Xavier Gilly. With the help of his team, he is the creator of more than 50 unique cocktails from a menu of 200 spirits from around the world.
For dinner we recommend L’Épuisette. Perched on a rock in the Vallon des Auffes, L’Épuisette offers a breathtaking view of the cove of Marseille, in addition to fantastic high quality cuisine. It has become a hot spot of gastronomy in the city.No trip to Marseille is complete without a delicious plate of Bouillabaisse. Originally, Bouillabaisse was a fishermen’s dish. When sorting out the fish for sale, fishermen would put aside some pieces for themselves and their families. So historically it is a simple and familial dish, which has been developed over the years and may now include multiple courses and shellfish. Every family and restaurant creates bouillabaisse in their own way. However it will be difficult to find a better variation than the offering at L’Épuisette.