Official language: French
Time zone: UTC+2 (summer), UTC+1 (winter)
Currency: Euro (EUR)
When during sightseeing of Marseille you will fancy some small snacks, look for a stand, where chestnuts are roasted. They are sold in paper bags. Attention! Hot.
The oldest district of Marseille looks a lot like a small, Provence town. Go there for the best souvenirs – hand-made jewellery or cheeses that smell of spices.
Sailing to the port, it is impossible not to notice a huge stripped church. The cathedral la Major was built in the 19th century. The elevation is made of Florence green stone, onyx and white marble.
A port city established by Greeks already around 600 year B.C., through centuries has grown to be one of the biggest in the country. As the gate of France, Marseille was hosting travellers incoming on ships from different sides of the world. This multiculturalism can be observed till today – both in everyday life, as in the complicated history of the city.
Your friendship with Marseille start from a visit in the old port, which today serves as harbour for private yachts. In nearby buildings there are located all institutions, that a city of that times needed to efficiently function. Take a walk through port district and try to feel the vibe of old, harbour town. And when you get tired, you can rest in one of the seaside eateries with a view for the harbour.
South from the old port, on a hill, you can visit the basilica of Notre Dame de la Garde. And though from the harbour the road is less than 2 kilometres long, consider if you want to make it on foot. Apart from distance, you also have to take 120 metres of altitude. And in the sizzling sun it can be really an expedition. It is best to travel as citizens of Marseille do – rent a scooter and feel wind in your hair.
What was the best way to efficiently defend a castle? Building it on an island. Potential intruders could be seen from afar. On such an island – named If, a castle was erected, near shores of Marseille. What is unique in it? The fortress from the 16th century, whose job was to defend access to the port, quickly had become a prison, as escape from there was quite impossible. Detained there were count Mirabeau and marquis de Sade. Aleksander Dumas also placed in this prison a fictional character – count Monte Christo.
When you get hungry, in the port district taste bouillabaisse, fish soup. If you like such favours, try also other Provence fish soup, that is mixed before serving. It is served with baguette, that need to be torn into pieces and thrown onto plate.