Le Rhul is a three-star hotel located on a bend off corniche Kennedy (the beautiful road that goes along Marseille's Mediterranean coast line). It's not the most modern or best hotel you will go to, but it probably has one of the best views of any three star hotel in the world. The rooms also have a lot of character (not that you will be looking anywhere but out of your window). This was a real treat for a budget traveler like me, and I would never have expected getting a view like this on the coast of France without selling one of my limbs. Some of the best photos I took while traveling through the south of France were from my tiny balcony at this hotel.
From Marseille the seacliffs around the coast - Les Calanques - are easily reached by metro and bus and some minutes of walking. Here you can go for long walks and you will find some of the best sports climbing in all of Europe. The routes are generally very well protected. During midsummer walking and climbing is forbidden, but during spring and in the autumn the Calanques are open. The scenery is beautiful with white cliffs and a clear blue sea. The young Joseph Conrad left the old port of Marseille on his first ship.
Google map: bit.ly/edF0al
A spacious holiday studio with a view of both the Vieux Port and Notre Dame de la Garde. The place is one of a few apartments run by Romain who was full of advice on where to go.
In the evening the place is buzzing with all the seafood restaurants and bars.
For daytime activities take the free ferry boat a few steps away at Place Aux Huiles across to the Hotel du Ville (no quicker than walking but a lot more fun) and explore the Panier district or take the 83 bus to the Prado Beach.
Place Aux Huiles
Romain - Tel: +33 6 77 94 34 50
A bus from the centre of Marseille will take you to the head of the trails (through some unsalubrious bainlieues) that lead over craggy limestone peaks to one of the Mediterranean's most beautiful coastal features, the calanques. A little under an hour's walk will lead you to beautiful Sormiou and Morgiou, with pint sized beaches and tiny hamlets sandwiched between dramatic cliffs strewn with shrubs, cedars and maritime pines. The water is crystal clear and sheltered so that it is calmer and warmer than the open sea. On summer weekends, the calanques can get busy with daytrippers, but the rest of the time they are a picturesque treat to enjoy with only a few other people. There are other calanques more easily accessed by boat or from the neighbouring town of Cassis.
Calanque de Sormiou and Calanque de Morgiou, south of Marseille. You can drive the whole way along winding, precipitous, unpaved roads, but as the weather is usually good, it's best to walk - though remember to bring lots of water in summer time! Buses no22 & 23 run to Morgiou and Sormiou respectively from the Rond Point du Prado metro stop.
The most delicious bouillabaisse is served in this smart and charming restaurant overlooking a quaint harbour in the Vallon des Auffes. Take the Rue de Vallon west to the coast to enjoy. Finish with a stroll along the seaside looking out to the Chateau d'If.
140, Vallon des Auffes - 13007 MARSEILLE
Tél. 04 91 52 14 38 - Fax 04 91 52 14 16
This is an old fortress/prison set on the island of If a few kilometres from the main port of Marseille.
While the fortress has been on the island since the 16th century, its main claim to fame is as the place of imprisonment of the fictional inmate Edmond Dantès, the hero of Alexandre Dumas' The Count of Montecristo.
Only 20 minutes by boat from Quai des Belges in the old port of Marseille.
Take the train from Marseille heading West through the coastal villages of Niolon, Carry le Rouet, Sausset les Pins.
The track runs along the side of the mountain looking over the bay of Marseille.
Get off when you want for a swim and a drink and be back in Marseille for the evening. Or you could continue to Montpellier to see a totally different side of the south of France.
Marseille St. Charles to Carry/Sausset. For trains to Montpellier/Toulouse check the routes as they do not always take the coastal line.
Map: tinyurl.com/yt7ex7 (Marseille St Charles)
A square on top of a hill full of people, cafés, bookshops and a big fountain. Come here to get away from the crowds on the vieux port and see beautiful Marseille.
The atmosphere is relaxed: think Schanzenviertel, Hamburg or Prenzlauer Berg, Berlin in July/August.
Enjoy the view over the Cathedral of Notre Dame de la Garde at the end of 'Cours Ju' with a pression and some olives or browse the markets and boutiques during the day.
It's calm, yet cool, and a different side of Provence for those who want to experience the buzz in France's second city.
Metro: Notre Dame du Mont/Cours Julien.
La Caravelle bar is on the first floor of Hotel Belle Vue, and is probably the best place to enjoy a drink in Marseille. Not only does it have a wonderful atmosphere, but your drinks come with free tapas. From within the eclectically-decorated bar or from the beautiful terrace you have amazing views of the Vieux Port and the Basilique Notre Dame de la Garde.
34 quai du Port; tel: 04 91 90 36 64
Here's a photo I took of the outside:
This is an old Roman fishing town that’s accessible by train from Marseilles. The station is at the top of a hill, and the walk down is superb – through a vineyard-lined road with views over the town and the sea. The town is very pleasant to wander around and is home to the wines which share its name. The best feature, however, lies in a boat trip around the bay; here you can see what are known as the Calanques. They are a series of mini fjords with rock formations of the most amazing shades and hues, set off by the blue of the sea and sky.
Take the coast road (GR98) east from Marseilles or the Marseilles – Toulon train
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