Marseille is not your average holiday destination. France’s second largest city is a cultural melting pot, bursting with character, quirks and energy, and thoroughly distinct from the postcard image of rural Provence. If a glimpse of Mediterranean France off the tourist trail is what you’re after, then Marseille is definitely for you.
Marseille's cuisine is also extremely distinctive. Due to its geographical location on the Mediterranean coast it is primarily seafood-based with its two specialties being the famous fish broth (Bouillabaisse) and dried cod aioli. Head to the terrace restaurants found on Cours Julien and La Plaine to get the true Marseillaise dining experience.
Image used under Creative Commons from kamenatehla.sk
The birthplace of one of the world’s most famous footballers, Zinedine Zidane, Marseille is a football loving city with locals flocking to see their beloved Olympique de Marseille in action in France’s Premier football league, Ligue 1. The atmosphere inside Marseille’s home stadium, the Stade Velodrom, is legendary and well worth experiencing. But it’s probably smart to stay away when they face their archrivals Paris St. Germain – things can get fairly heated when these two clash.
Not only is Marseille a fabulous location in itself, it also provides a springboard to some of France’s most beautiful regions. Less than an hour’s drive east and you’ll be swimming in the Côte d'Azur. Thirty minutes north and you’ll be immersed in the rural towns of Aix, Avignon, and Arles. Head due south and you’ll find Marseille’s spectacular Calanques (de Morgiou and d’enVau). These picturesque, white-cliffed inlets conceal some of the Mediterranean’s finest beaches and seafronts.