Discovery of Marseille
A private driver to show you around Marseille
Marseille was founded in 600 BC by Greek settlers from the ancient city of Phocée. Ideally located on the Mediterranean rim, it was a point of economic and cultural synergy with Africa, Asia, Southern Europe and the Near East. It will become the main Greek city on the western side of the Mediterranean. Capital of Provence, it is today the second largest city in France with more than 800,000 inhabitants and a surface area of 240 km², i.e. 1.6 times Paris.
Looking for a comfortable getaway to discover the wonders of the Phocaean city?
Your VTC drivers have prepared* a tour for you to get to know the city of Marseille. This tour can be adapted to a half-day or a full day if you wish to visit the monuments and museums.
Points of interest included in the circuit in Marseille
Built in 1869 to celebrate the arrival of the waters of the Durance in the city, the Palais Longchamps is composed of a sublime water tower framed on either side by the Fine Arts and Natural History museums. The water is given pride of place with a magnificent basin with waterfalls and fountains. It is a pleasant place for a walk with a botanical garden with free access.
A true symbol of the city of Marseille, this magnificent Romano-Byzantine style basilica from the 19th century is commonly nicknamed “The Good Mother” by the people of Marseille, and rightly so: situated on the highest hill of the Phocaean city, at 149 meters above sea level, it watches over all the inhabitants and its sailors. The site offers an exceptional 360° view of the city and its famous harbor classified as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Overlooking the Old Port, the Abbey Saint-Victor is distinguished by its towers and crenellated fortifications dating from the 14th century. This monastery, whose construction dates back to the 5th century, was once a Mecca of Provençal Catholicism. Badly damaged during the Revolution and the Empire, only the church has survived.
Located just a stone’s throw from the Saint-Victor Abbey, the “Four des Navettes” is the oldest bakery in Marseille. For more than two centuries, the secret of making the “navettes” has been preciously kept there: these delicious Marseilles biscuits in the shape of a boat, flavored with orange blossom. Every year, at Candlemas, the Archbishop of the diocese comes to bless the batch of the day. Feel free to come in and taste them!
Surrounded by Fort Saint-Nicolas and Fort Saint-Jean, the Old Port has been the focal point of Marseille since antiquity. It is in fact the place where the Phocaeans settled in -600 BC, and where the Greek colony “Massalia” was founded. Originally a commercial port, today it welcomes fishing and pleasure boats. It is an essential place in the life of Marseille, and the starting point of the famous rue de la Canebière. Its landscaped banks and its large esplanade will allow you to stroll peacefully to the sound of the sails on the mast of the boats.
Built on the site of the ancient Greek city, the Panier district is the most typical and oldest district of Marseille. This popular district has all the charm of a small Provencal village. You will be able in particular to discover La Vieille Charité, a Hospice dating from the 17th century which now houses the Museum of Mediterranean Archaeology and various temporary exhibitions.
The Museum of European and Mediterranean Civilizations was inaugurated on the occasion of the nomination of Marseille as European Capital of Culture in 2013. This architectural masterpiece, built by the architect Rudy Ricciotti, is an essential part of your visit. Its fibred-reinforced concrete lace houses a permanent exhibition presenting the evolution of civilizations around the Mediterranean, as well as various temporary exhibitions throughout the year. Many visitors stroll around and enjoy an original view of the entrance to the Old Port and Notre-Dame-La-Garde. The ticket also provides access to Fort Saint-Jean via a footbridge. A walk around the museum and the fort is also possible from the esplanade.
In neo-Byzantine style, the Cathedral of Sainte-Marie-Majeure (known as the Cathedral of the Major) is the only cathedral built in France in the 19th century. This imposing religious building stands between the Old Port and the port district of La Joliette. It is built on the remains of a primitive cathedral dating from the 12th century of which only few traces remain. Its large esplanade offers a magnificent view and direct access to the MUCEM and the shops of La Joliette. A little further on you can make a shopping stop at the Terrasses du Port and the Docks.
* Our drivers are not tour guides but they know their city very well and will be able to answer your questions throughout your visit.
** Our rates include: the rental of a sedan or a van with its driver. The latter can pick you up from your hotel/boat, from Marseille Provence airport/Saint-Charles station, or any address within a 40km radius of the Old Port.
They do not include entrance tickets to monuments and museums and your personal expenses.