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11 Things to Know Before Visiting Marseilles 


Marseilles (photo: Fred Romero)

Marseilles is the second largest city in France and one of the biggest port-cities in the Mediterranean.

Many of us have some knowledge of Marseilles. The first thing that comes to mind is Alexandre Dumas and his world-famous novel “The Count of Monte-Cristo.”

The main hero of the story was born in Marseilles, and it was the place of the legendary Chateau d'If.

Another association is less pleasant. Marseilles is known as the most criminal city in France. There are districts where you can be robbed during the day, not just at night.

That said, it’s a city worth visiting as it’s not as famous as Paris, but there are still many beautiful and unforgettable places to see.

If you're considering a visit to Marseilles, consider these travel tips.

Facade of Marseilles City Hall

The facade of Marseilles City Hall (photo: Fred Romero)

Marseilles Travel Tips

1. There is an excellent tourist office that should be visited by all guests of Marseilles at La Canebière street.

Here you can take a city map for free, choose an excursion and get to know about possible cultural events.

Also, there you can buy tickets (travel cards) for public transport.

2. July and August are considered to be the hottest months of a year; still, pleasant cool days may occur that can still be perfect for walking through the city.

There's a significant increase in tourists during the summer months, so it’s best to book a hotel or hostel in advance.

3. Lots of museums and sightseeing spots may change their working hours depending on the season.

Before taking an excursion, confirm the working hours in a tourist agency or with the staff at your accommodation.

4. It’s customary to leave tips in cafes and restaurants, usually about 5 – 10% of the general amount of a bill.

In some prestigious establishments, the payment for the service is already included in the bill.

In this case, you’ll see a note “service compis,” so you don’t need to leave extra money.

It’s also proper to leave tips for drivers, maids in hotels, and for hairdressers.

5. To rent a car, you’ll need to show your passport and a driver’s license of international standard.

You’ll need to leave your credit card as a deposit.

A person that under 21 years old can be refused a car rental.

Also, you can be denied if you obtained your driver’s license less than a year earlier.

6. Car enthusiasts should keep in mind that any road traffic offense involves a hefty fine.

Thus one of the most severe offenses is exceeding the speed limit and parking incorrectly.

Children 12 years old and younger must travel in the back seats, and small children must be in special car seats.

7. In some museums and famous sightseeing places, photo and video may be forbidden or may only be allowed if you pay a fee.

Before an excursion starts, it's best to know all the rules to avoid any surprises.

8. If you want to save some money, it’s worth taking into account that some museums have no entrance fee, but only for certain days of a month.

By planning, you can save a lot as you don't need to take a guide.

9. The best way to see the beauty of Marseilles is to travel on foot through the city.

In some cases, you can take a bus, or it can also be convenient to travel by tram.

There’s no need to use a taxi as you’ll waste your money, and it's not as safe either.

10. Avoid walking alone at night in the city and try not to walk in unknown and strange districts as it can be dangerous. Stay in crowded places.

11. And finally, before going to Marseilles, or any other city in France, it’s best to learn some phrases in French to be able to order something or understand the locals. The French don’t like to use English.

It can be easy to learn French if you use an online platform where you can easily choose your own native French-speaking teacher.


This article was published in partnership with Preply.

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