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11 Things to Know Before Visiting Marseilles 

Marseilles is the second-largest city in France and one of the biggest port cities in the Mediterranean.

Many of us have some knowledge of Marseilles. The first thing that comes to mind is Alexandre Dumas and his world-famous novel “The Count of Monte-Cristo.”

The main hero of the story was born in Marseilles, and it was the place of the legendary Chateau d'If.

Visiting Marseilles, France (photo: Fred Romero)
Marseilles (photo: Fred Romero)

Another association is less pleasant. Marseilles is known as the most criminal city in France.

There are districts where you can be robbed during the day, not just at night.

That said, it's a city worth visiting as it's not as famous as Paris, but there are still many beautiful and unforgettable places to see.

If you're considering a visit to Marseilles, consider these travel tips.

Marseilles Travel Tips

1. There is an excellent tourist office that should be visited by all guests of Marseilles at La Canebière street.

Here, you can take a city map for free, choose an excursion, and learn about possible cultural events.

Also, there you can buy tickets (travel cards) for public transport.

2. July and August are considered the hottest months of the year; still, pleasant cool days may occur that can still be perfect for walking through the city.

There's a significant increase in tourists during the summer months, so booking a hotel or hostel in advance is best.

3. Lots of museums and sightseeing spots may change their working hours depending on the season.

Before taking an excursion, confirm the working hours in a tourist agency or with the staff at your accommodation.

4. It's customary to leave tips in cafes and restaurants, usually about 5 – 10% of the general amount of a bill.

In some prestigious establishments, the payment for the service is already included in the bill.

In this case, you'll see a note “service compis,” so you don't need to leave extra money.

It's also proper to leave tips for drivers, maids in hotels, and hairdressers.

Facade of Marseilles City Hall
The facade of Marseilles City Hall (photo: Fred Romero)

5. To rent a car, you'll need to show your passport and a driver's license of international standard.

You'll need to leave your credit card as a deposit.

A person under 21 years old can be refused a car rental.

Also, you can be denied if you obtained your driver's license less than a year earlier.

6. Car enthusiasts should keep in mind that any road traffic offense involves a hefty fine.

Thus one of the most severe offenses is exceeding the speed limit and parking incorrectly.

Children 12 years old and younger must travel in the back seats, and small children must be in special car seats.

7. In some museums and famous sightseeing places, photos and videos may be forbidden or only allowed if you pay a fee.

Before an excursion starts, it's best to know all the rules to avoid any surprises.

8. If you want to save some money, it's worth considering that some museums have no entrance fee, but only for certain days of a month.

By planning, you can save a lot as you don't need to take a guide.

9. The best way to see the beauty of Marseilles is to travel on foot through the city.

In some cases, you can take a bus, or it can also be convenient to travel by tram.

There's no need to use a taxi as you'll waste your money, and it's not as safe either.

10. Avoid walking alone at night in the city and try not to walk in unknown and strange districts as it can be dangerous. Stay in crowded places.

11. And finally, before going to Marseilles, or any other city in France, it's best to learn some French phrases to order something or understand the locals. The French don't like to use English.

It can be easy to learn French if you use an online platform where you can easily choose your native French-speaking teacher.


This article was published in partnership with Preply.

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