More than a dish, bouillabaisse is an experience!
Popular heritage, this tasty soup based on rockfish is today a sought-after dish protected by a rigorous charter. The bouillabaisse experience is a cuisine turned towards the sea, which tastes like the open sea, and the sea spray and good white wines are the perfect companion! Especially from Cassis, a famous AOC in Provence.
Read our Marseille tourist guide: information on local specialities from bouchons to pastis
To make the most of a gastronomic trip to this unique region, reading one of our Marseille tourist guide blogs in advance is highly recommended. You'll appreciate the culture and expertise that lies behind pastis and other facets of Marseillais's life and make memories with you that will last a lifetime.
Visit Marseille and discover Marseille Provence Gastronomy
Since 2019, the culinary art has been in the spotlight in the Bouches-du-Rhône! Everywhere in the towns, villages and countryside, a gourmet agenda invites artisans, producers, chefs and consumers. In addition, Marseille tourism is encouraged with a programme full of flavours and imagination showcasing gastronomy talents.
Marseille Provence Gastronomie is a program of festive and gourmet events that takes place across all Bouches-du-Rhône to celebrate the popular art of gastronomy and encourage Marseille tourism.
Through prestigious events or local meetings, Provence and Marseille Tourism create and labels events to celebrate local know-how. From production to processing, from kitchens to service, everyone contributes their stone to building a benchmark gastronomic destination.
The challenges are multiple: enhancement of the agricultural sector, the increase in the attractiveness of the territory, and the promotion of the identity of the region, all behind a collective ambition that brought together all the institutional and private players concerned: to include gastronomy in a global project to make it a real lever for sustainable economic development.
A National Park at the city gates
The Calanques National Park is " Europe 1st periurban national park, terrestrial and marine". From Friuli islands to Cap Canaille, the park offers a succession of cut-out reliefs, breathtaking panoramas and an exceptional sea bed—a vast playground for leisure and nature lovers.
The Calanques are a jewel at the gates of Marseille. Wild and rocky, swept by the winds and spray, they are dotted with belvederes and offer splendid views of the sea and the Marseille islands. The archipelagos of Frioul and Riou labelled Natura 2000, are populated by many animal and rare plant species. When you visit Marseille, take advantage of the charming port of Cassis, where you can admire outstanding views from Cap Canaille.
The Littoral marseillais
With its 57 km coastline, from l'Estaque to the creeks, the Marseille coastline is characterized by its extent, richness and diversity. Marseille has many beaches, natural or artificial, from Corbières to La Pointe Rouge; sandy or pebble beaches line the coast. Some beaches are supervised for maximum security or offer various fun and practical facilities for Marseille tourism. With its equipment, Marseille Provence Métropole is Europe's second largest leisure complex, after Chichester in Great Britain.
Discover the hidden beaches and clear waters of la Cote Varoise
Wild creeks, steep cliffs, small villages with shady terraces; the Var coast is full of exceptional spots and confidential beaches opening onto clear waters: Marseille tourism at its best! Go to the ports of Sanary-sur-Mer and Bandol, from where you can contemplate the famous "pointed" boats emblematic of the Mediterranean. Off Hyères, you will also discover the breathtaking Port-Cros National Park.
The rich history of Marseilles, from antiquity to the 3rd millenary
Marseilles represents 2600 years of history! It is the marvellous harbour chosen by the Greeks, its islands and the Château d'If. It's oriental dreams; it's the Good Mother who watches over it; it's the old port and its riggings. It is a crossroads of exchanges, the town of Mucem, at the gateway to the Mediterranean Sea.
The Marseille city is undoubtedly one of France's most culturally diverse cities. Its location, open to the Mediterranean Sea, has allowed multicultural exchanges over the centuries, which are the basis of the city's identity today. The beginnings of the birth of Marseille date back to prehistory, as evidenced by the discovery of cave paintings in the Cosquer cave.
This past still needs to be discovered, unlike the Greek period of the city (then called Massalia), the best known in the history of Marseille. Indeed, it was born with the establishment around 600 BC of the Phocaeans, a nomadic people of the seas. An independent and prosperous city thanks to its commercial port, it was invaded by the Romans in 49 BC. During the Roman period, the town grew and acquired all the facilities of the time (theater, thermal baths, etc.). The attachment to the kingdom of the Franks and the beginning of the medieval era are, above all, marked by the importance of the city's involvement in the Crusades, as evidenced by the Fort Saint-Jean, for example.
Fort Saint-Jean Marseille
Subsequently, and thanks to its port location, Marseille became a strategic city in the expansion of the French colonial empire, of which the colonial exhibitions of 1906 and 1922 marked the peak. It should be noted that the history of Marseille has given its inhabitants a strong identity and character! They have always revolted against established power when they deemed it abusive. The Catholic Church, the lords, the kings of France, and the revolutionaries all have been contested. Even today, distrust of Paris is still alive, even if it manifests itself more at the Vélodrome stadium than in the barricades... no visitor can ignore the Marseille art of living. Pride of its inhabitants characterizes a certain independence and, above all, affirms their difference.
The Old Port: an essential part of Marseille tourism
The Old Port of Marseille is the place where the city was created 2600 years ago by the Greeks and the place of commerce par excellence over several centuries. After the transfer of economic activities to the city's new port, the Old Port was redeveloped for tourist purposes. It is now one of the perfect places to visit Marseille and witness its culture, and it is mentioned in every Marseille tourist guide. Head to the redeveloped quays of the Old Port, where you will discover many pleasure and artisanal fishing boats.
Formerly intended for trade and the sale of fish, these quays are now lined with exciting restaurants, bars, cafes and hotels. In addition, you can discover the culinary culture of the city of Marseille, through tasty dishes, including the famous bouillabaisse. The quays are also the place where the inhabitants of the Phocaean city and tourists gather to follow sporting or cultural events. Remember to look at the fish market in the Old Port. It is a place intended to market fish and seafood in the city of Marseille, where fishermen sell their products at auction. It is an exciting show that you can take advantage of to shop for fresh fish and seafood when you visit Marseille between 7:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m.
The Old Port is where many Marseille tourism amenities are located. To discover the islands around Marseille and the Calanques by boat, you must head off from the Old Port. You can also rent a segway or book a bus seat to explore the Palais Longchamp or the city centre.