Marseille is the second-largest city in France after Paris and has a population of approximately 1.7 million residents. It is located on the Mediterranean coast and also enjoys the status of being the largest port in the country. Due to its temperate climate and unique history, Marseille is a popular city that attracts countless visitors each year.
The average time of a non-stop flight from London to Marseille Provence Airport (MRS) is approximately two hours. Connecting flights will normally take between three and four hours depending upon the route. Some of the most frequent airlines that service this destination include British Airways, Ryanair, Lufthansa and KLM.
Things to do in Marseilles
The Old Port of Marseilles is definitely worth examining closer upon your arrival. Dating back to ancient times, this natural harbour has always been a popular shipping hub. Since 2013, this location has mainly been used for pedestrian means. Of particular interest is St. Victor’s Abbey; considered to be one of the oldest surviving places of Christian worship in all of Europe. If you have an interest in history, be sure not to miss the Museum of European and Mediterranean Civilisations that is located here. You can enjoy an interesting display of ancient tools, tapestries and stunning works of art. Other points of interest include the Roman Dock Museum, the town hall and a lighthouse known as the Phare de Sainte Marie. There are also a number of exquisite restaurants which line the port itself.
The basilica of Notre-Dame de la Garde is another attraction that has come to define Marseilles over the years. This is a Neo-Byzantine church that was built as far back as 1214. A large upper spire stretches no less than 149 metres above sea level; affording excellent views of the city and the nearby harbour. After having undergone an extensive restoration in the early part of this century, the basilica is once again able to display its former glory. Another interesting feature of this church is that its interior displays the Moorish influence upon the region; arches and Arabic strips dominating many facades. You can peruse its exterior and enjoy sights such as its massive bell tower or you can instead choose to participate in one of the many masses that regularly take place here.
If you are looking to get away from the typical hustle and bustle of this port city, Parc Borely is certainly worth a visit. It is the largest municipal park within Marseilles. Three different gardens can be viewed although the central attractions tend to be a large reflecting pool and a sixteenth-century fountain. There is also a replica of the aforementioned Notre-Dame de la Garde found within its confines. The park is 17 hectares in size; perfect for a lazy afternoon or should you be planning a picnic. There are also botanical gardens that adjoin this location. Such gardens are particularly popular between the months of April and June when the countless flowers inside are in bloom. The park can be accessed on foot as well as by public bus transport.