Marseille’s Mediterranean climate makes it enjoyable to fly and visit the city any time of year, though most tourists tend to come during the months of June, July and August, when temperatures are at their warmest and rainfall is at its lowest. Considering that the summer are the most popular time, the chances of finding cheap flight tickets is small. When travelling to Marseille during the summer months, national and international visitors can enjoy the Festival de Marseille from mid-June to mid-July. The festival is a celebration of world dance, music, theatre and cinema and individuals can expect to experience some spectacular shows and events such as contemporary dance and music performances. When the temperature is still pleasant in October, the Fiesta des Suds takes place. It is a festival that showcases world music from an array of high profile performers. Thousands are entertained every year by several concerts at the Docks des Suds.
Cheap flights to Marseille can be found during the off-season months of December, January and February, when temperatures are at their lowest.
April and May make up the shoulder season, and visitors during this time can take advantage of both fewer crowds and enjoyable weather.
One of France’s largest cities, Marseille has a long history as a port city and a haven for immigrants who have flocked to the city for centuries. Both of these traits are clearly evident in modern Marseille, where the port still thrives and a collection of worldly cultures come together to create this melting pot off France’s southern shore.
Where does one begin to dig into this French Mediterranean city? A popular choice would be the Vieux-Port, where activity abounds no matter what time of day it is. In the early morning hours, the port acts as Marseille’s fish market, and throngs of fishermen can be found here selling the day’s freshest catches. Restaurants and bistros also line the port, offering plenty of French options for lunch and dinner. After dark, Vieux-Port continues its lively scene as the bars welcome locals and visitors alike.
Vieux-Port is also next to the historic Le Panier district, which charms visitors with its distinct old town vibe, historic architecture and locally owned shops. Art is as much a part of Le Panier as history is, and visitors will find plenty of trinkets and souvenirs while wandering through Le Panier.
Another attraction that stands out for visitors is the towering Notre Dame de la Garde, a towering hilltop basilica that can be seen throughout Marseille. Climb the hill to see this domed beauty — and the incredible Virgin Mary statue — up close and enjoy sweeping views of the city below. During a stay in Marseille, a day trip to the stunning fjords of the nearby calanques is a must-see.
There is an excellent public transportation system in Marseille, making it simple for travellers to get around the city. Trams, underground railways and buses offer an extensive network of transportation. Driving is not recommended due to narrow streets and traffic in the city centre, and while bicycle rentals are easy to come by, there are not many paths for cycling in the city. Walking and using public transportation are the best options for getting around Marseille.
About 18 miles (29 km) from the city centre, Marseille-Provence International Airport (MRS) is the main airport serving the port town of Marseille. Public transportation options into the city include trains and buses. Shuttle buses also connect travellers to Marseille. Taxis and car rentals are also available at the airport.