A few months ago, we stayed in Marseille for 2 shorts days. The visit was the logical continuation of our European tour which had already taken us to Portugal, Switzerland and Spain. Now back in France after several days on the road, we quietly took advantage of Marseille to recharge our batteries and visit Marseille without having to run around like crazy. We have only scratched the surface of the vibrant, cosmopolitan and fascinating Marseille but it was enough to make us want to come back to discover it more deeply some other time. A personalized tour, a walk at the calanques and a pretty good accomodation place : here’s the story of our short stay in Marseille.
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Taking a stroll with Laurianne from Toc Toc Marseille
Arriving straight from Seville with a night Eurolines coach (our review of the coach company is right here!), we were pleasantly greeted by the beautiful Marseille, where the sun was shining brightly. Not bad for February, we almost regreted not having our sunglasses with us! We quickly went to unload our stuff at Frederic’s appartment. He was going to be our guest for the entire stay. We found his apartment on Airbnb and we frankly weren’t disappointed. It was one of the first times we were testing the private room option and it was honestly more than conclusive. The room was clean and spacious. The house, although located in the city center, is a haven of peace and has a beautiful garden. And finally, our host Frederic was very friendly, welcoming and full of good advice. For €30 a night, it’s a really great deal that we warmly recommend! Book your room at Frederic’s place right here and don’t forget to tell him you heard it from us 😉!
We then went out towards the city center where we would meet with Laurianne from Toc Toc Marseille. She contacted us on Instagram and offered to show us around Marseille. We were immediately impressed by the concept of her business: she’s a local guide who offers to plan your stay and/or give you an unusual, playful and original guided tour of the city. This former cultural events organizer had launched her business just a few months prior and already, her schedule seemed loaded! So we met her in the city center, nearby the Canebière, to spend an afternoon exploring all corners of Marseille and glean some valuable tips for our stay.
We started in the Panier district which is the old neighborhood of Marseille. Cute little streets, small shops and some nice street art pieces scattered here and there, no doubt the district doesn’t lack charm. We made a detour to the Hospice de la Vieille Charité, a beautiful building with a pretty special aura. Built in the 17th century, it was originally a shelter for the poor and beggars. Nowadays, this historic building houses several museums (including the Museum of African, Pacific Islanders and Native Americans Arts) and other multi-disciplinary institutions such as the International Centre for Poetry for example. On our part, we simply enjoyed the building and its pretty impressive architecture. It’s a place of serenity nestled in the middle of the city center, which is certainly worth the visit, even if it’s just to stroll around it.
The tour continues on to the Fort Saint Jean, a beautiful and imposing military fortress dating from the 12th century. Apart from the historical aspect of the place which is full of nooks to explore, we mostly will keep in mind this wonderful view of the port of Marseille and the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Guard, affectionately called Bonne Mère (Good Mothr in English) by the Marseille citizens. It proudly dominates Marseille and its surroundings. The Fort Saint Jean is also a place of choice to contemplate the diversity and the charming heterogeneity of Marseille. More specifically, to enjoy the sea air that comes from the open sea, a real pleasure for us! Some meters away, is the famous Museum of the European and Mediterranean Civilizations, aka the MuCEM. Its entry is included in the Marseille City Pass that we tried out, but we unfortunately didn’t have much time to visit Marseille. Our stay was so short that we decided to skip the museum and enjoy the great outdoors. But we heard that it’s a beautiful place. We did walk around the museum and took advantage of its superb terrace with a pretty original architecture. It’s any Instagrammer’s paradise, that’s for sure! Our afternoon with Laurianne ended in style with one of her best addresses. We went for a drink at the bar of the Museum Regards de Provence which offers a superb privileged view of the sea, the MuCEM and the surroundings. a real good perfect place to settle and recover from all the walking. And to finish off the day, we once again followed Laurianne’s good advice (yes, that girl is really full of them!). We took the bus 60 using our Marseille City Pass, towards the Bonne Mère to enjoy an absolutely breathtaking sunset over the sea, a beautiful show!
The rocky inlet of Sugiton
The next day, although the weather was a little worse, we decided to have a nature day. We decided to go have a walk around the rocky inlet of Sugiton. There are many rocky inlets to visit nearby Marseille but the ones in Sugiton were the most accessible for us given that we were taking public transports. Just take the bus 21 which has its terminus at the Science Univrsity (“Luminy” bus stop) nearby the rocky inlet. Once there, we had serious doubts about the direction of the rocky inlet since it’s not super obvious. We fumbled a bit, made U-turns, followed other people before finding the right path and finally succeeded in finding the famous creeks, about 30 minutes later. If we were a bit disappointed by the bad weather at first, we finally thought that these threatening clouds above the sea gave the place a pretty incredible dimension. It was an impressive beauty and we spent many minutes just contemplating, admiring and enjoying the show.
We were offered to try out Toc Toc Marseille and the Marseille City Pass, but all opinions expressed here are our own and we haven’t in any case been subjected to the influence of a third party. A big thank you to Laurianne and Marion who welcomed us with open arms and were a big help when setting up this stay!
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