I’d like to officially announce that I’m in love with the south of France – if I wasn’t sure before, I am 100% positive now. The first few steps into Marseille, it’s a little bit run down and strange and you’re not really sure what you’ve gotten yourself into, other than the fact that it was only €2 to get here. Walk a little bit further and you’re greeted with the beautiful port and now you’re not really sure you want to ever leave.
Marseille is a perfect destination if you want to see a little bit of the south of France without breaking the bank. Sure, the restaurants along the water are a little nicer and therefore more expensive, but there’s plenty of delicious food and beautiful sights that cost next to nothing.
From Aix-en-Provence using the Cartreize card, Marseille was a mere €2 round trip. I already know I’ll be back here soon and I definitely want to put together a list of all my favorite things to do there in the future!
I’m going to have to try really hard to refrain from writing “Look at this!” in every single one of my posts but its so hard cause I’m still obsessed with this view.
The first thing we saw once we descended the hill from the St Charles train station was an Arc de Triomphe replica. Paris is one of my all-time favorite cities, but when I went a few years ago, part of the Arc was under construction and it was in the middle of a roundabout so it was hard to look at from up close. This one was smaller but just as beautiful, if not a little out of place. Even better, there were no people around.
My friend and I went to Marseille on a whim – we were planning to go on Sunday, after a day trip to Avignon on Saturday, but being the cheap people we are, we didn’t want to pay tons of money to get to Avignon so decided to go to Marseille 2 days in a row. We didn’t have a plan, or a map, or anything specific we wanted to see. Instead, we rolled with it and stumbled across some of the most beautiful (and free!) views of the city.
I highly recommend walking to the end of the port. We went in the Museum of European and Mediterranean Civilisations (MuCEM), which sits across Fort Saint-Nicholas. While there is a small fee for the exhibitions, walking around the exterior is free – here you can get a beautiful view of the Notre Dame de la Garde. The water really was that blue in real life, and despite it being February, the weather was beautiful and I was extremely tempted to jump in.
Afterwards, we decided to visit the Notre Dame de la Garde upon the recommendation of our art history professor. We hiked uphill, only to find out later that there was a cheap bus we could’ve hopped on. Needless to say, after the climb we decided to go home because we were exhausted.
The Catholic basilica was small but beautiful and unlike other ones I’ve been in before. It had little boats hanging on streamers in the air and the walls are covered in beautiful paintings of Marseille. The hike was brutal but so worth it – you get a beautiful overview of the city and despite it being crowded with tourists, there was a certain serenity that washed over us.
Needless to say, after the two days, my friend and I were gushing about how lucky we were to be able to study in the South of France, with the Mediterranean right at our fingertips. There was still so much that we wanted to see, like the Calanques, so if you ever end up visiting I would highly recommend taking a few days to explore the city and all it has to offer.
I hope you guys enjoyed this post and I’ll be back with another one soon! xx