Cruise Port Atlas | Marseille, France Day Trips | Attractions

Marseille, France Day Trips | Attractions

Alternate Spelling: Marseilles

With limited time in port, planning is the best way to make the most of your time. Should you strike out on your own? Should you hire a local guide? Or should you book a shore excursion offered by the cruise line or an international tour company? Below we have listed the attractions and activities that many other cruisers have enjoyed. This information should help you plan.

The advantage to cruise line tours is that they are timed for your visit and give you flexibility to change your mind after your trip begins. The advantage of using a large international firm is that tours are often less expensive than cruise sponsored tours. The advantage to using a local tour company or guide is that prices can be significantly lower or you may be able to get a customized trip just to see the attractions that interest you most.

Cruise lines that visit Marseille: Windstar, Azamara Club Cruises, Crystal, Oceania, Regent Seven Seas, Seabourn, Silversea, Celebrity, Holland America, Princess, Costa, MSC Cruises, Norwegian, Royal Caribbean

Recommended Attractions: Marseilles (Marseille), Notre-Dame-de-la-Garde, St. Nicolas Fortress, St. Laurent Church, Les Baux de Provence, Aix-en-Provence, Avignon, Palace of the Popes, Nimes, Arles, St-Remy-de-Provence

Attractions in Marseilles

New Cruise Port to City Center - 23 KM, 22 minutes
Link to Full-Page Google Map

Marseilles is the historical heart of Mediterranean France, proud of its unique character and political radicalism. It is also the entry point for many international immigrants to France, particularly from the Middle East and Africa. The old port is very near the center of town and is a great starting point for tours. At the entrance to the harbor are the twin forts of St-Jean and St-Nicolas and the nearby St-Laurent Church. Just 2 blocks east of the port is Centre Bourse, the most popular shopping center in the area. Up the hill to the northeast is the iconic 19th century basilica Notre-Dame-de-la-Garde. About 2 kilometers east of the old port is a major museums center surrounding Musee des Beaux-Artes.

Photo by Benh LIEU SONG

Churches, Lighthouse   Many Museums   Remnants of one of France's oldest settlements   Provencal Cuisine   Provencal Products  

Pedestrian Streets    Limited Wheelchair Accessibility

Les Baux-de-Provence

Marseilles to Les Baux - 85 KM, 70 minutes
Link to Full-Page Google Map

The medieval village of Les Baux is a popular attraction for those interested in history and archaic architecture. The plateau top village has been occupied for over 8 millennia due to its strategic setting. During the Middle Ages it was the seat of power for the lords who controlled considerable territory and built many of its structures. In the early 19th century, the mineral bauxite was named after the place it was discovered, leading to the mining of aluminum. One of the very special features of Les Baux are demonstrations of medieval war machines such as the gigantic catapult. In clear weather, the views are breath-taking!

Photo of Les Baux

Baroque and Neo-classical Architecture, Fountains   History   Small Parks and Fountains   Provencal Countryside  

Challenging Walking    No Wheelchair Accessibility


Where Cezanne ate


Marseilles to Aix - 32 KM, 30 minutes
Link to Full-Page Google Map

The small city of Aix has long been the residence of artists and students and the beautiful Cours Mirabeau is the heart of the city's cafe society, hosting the likes of impressionist painter Cezanne, political novelist Zola and American ex-patriot Hemingway. The Aix Cathedral is located in the medieval part of town and blends elements of Romanesque, Gothic and neo-Gothic. Outside the town is Mont Sainte-Victoire where Cezanne painted landscapes. At the foot of the mountain is the Chateau of Vauvenargues where Pablo Picasso lived for several years.

Photo of Cours Mirabeau by PRA

Baroque and Neo-classical Architecture, Fountains   History   Provencal Cuisine   Small Parks and Fountains   Provencal Countryside  

Pedestrian Streets    Limited Wheelchair Accessibility

Palais des Papes


Marseilles to Avignon - 104 KM, 70 minutes
Link to Full-Page Google Map

The medieval walled city of Avignon was the home to Roman Catholic Popes beginning in the 14th Century and to anti-Popes when the church decided to return its seat of power to Rome against the wishes of the King of France. During the period of the Avignon Papacy, the church centralized its power and spent huge sums to glorify the seat of power. The result was the Palace of the Popes, an imposing structure on a hill beside the Rhone River. The winding medieval streets within the city's walls feature cafes, boutiques and museums.

Photo of the Pope's Palace by JM Rosier

Medieval Palace and Walls   Provencal Products   Castle   Provencal Cuisine   Small Parks and Fountains   Chateauneuf de Papes  

Pedestrian Streets    Limited Wheelchair Accessibility

Nimes and Arles

Marseilles to Nimes - 122 KM, 80 minutes
Marseilles to Arles - 92 KM, 60 minutes
Link to Full-Page Google Map

Nimes is an historic Roman settlement with excellent examples of Roman architecture including the impressive amphitheater. The aqueduct Pont du Gard is a spectacular example of Roman engineering that is in excellent condition. Other sites include the Maison Carree, a temple that is in nearly pristine condition; the Tour Magne, ruin of a Roman tower; and the ruins of Roman thermal baths. The majestic Nimes Cathedral has a mix of Romanesque and Gothic elements.

Arles is a UNESCO World Heritage site due to its Roman and Romanesque monuments - the Roman Arena, a Roman theatre; the Alyscamps, a huge Roman necropolis; Roman baths; and the Church of St. Trophime, an important example of Romanesque architecture.

Photo of Nimes Amphitheatre by Andim

Wealthy town   Roman Ruins   Provencal Cuisine   World Heritage Site  

Pedestrian Streets    Limited Wheelchair Accessibility

Cassis and Calanques

Marseille to Cassis - 36 KM, 31 minutes
Marseille to Bandol - 56 KM, 40 minutes
Link to Full-Page Google Map

Between Toulon and Marseilles is the famous coastal resort town of Cassis, for which the finest white wines of Provence are named. It is a small ancient port with a lovely waterfront and soft-sand beaches. Between Cassis and Marseilles is the most famous calanques, a limestone coastal formation that is similar to a fjord. The scenery in this area is stunning, with jagged and knife-like rock formations rising out of narrow coves. A little farther east is the scenic coastal town of Bandol, also famous for its wines and offering vineyard tours at some of the best of these vineyards.

Photo of Calanques near Cassis by Grafikm




Marseille to Sanary-sur-Mer - 59 KM, 46 minutes
Link to Full-Page Google Map

Sanary-sur-Mer is considered by some to be the most beautiful small port on the French Riviera with small colorful sailing vessels filling most of the slips. The Gothic Revival St. Nazaire Church is the iconic sight of the small natural harbor. Inside beautiful frescoes adorn the walls. Not far from town is the 15th century Notre-Dame-de-Pitie Chapel with its pieta and great views of the sea and port. The ruins of a medieval tower are the center of the area museum that features ship wreck treasures discovered by Jacques Cousteau, who developed the technology he used in his explorations while residing in Sanary. During the first part of World War II, a number of exile German writers (including Thomas Mann and Bertholt Brecht) stayed in Sanary. Their lives are featured at the city's Media Museum. But perhaps the most appealing thing about this small historic port is its serene atmosphere and lovely cafe culture. While the rest of the Cote d'Azur lives at a speedboat pace, Sanary sails calmly on a light Mediterranean breeze.

Photo of Sanary-sur-Mer Harbor



Interests Key:

Art Architecture Beach Children Wild Animals Local Cuisine Flora Gardens-Parks Geology

Diving UNESCO Views Wine Dance Music Shopping History Hiking

Walking & Wheelchair Accessibility:

No Walking Easy Walking Normal Walking Difficult Walking Accessible Limited Not Accessible