Gateway to Provence
Cruises to Marseille call at one of France’s oldest cities now the largest commercial port in France and the gateway to Provence.
Cruise lines visiting Marseille include Costa, Marella Cruises, NCL, and MSC.
Your Cruise ship will dock at the terminal in a highly commercial and industrial area. The old town being reached either by taxi or shuttle bus. On our last cruise the shuttle bus was provided by the cruise line free of charge but please check the arrangements with your cruise line.
The shuttle buses dropped off and picked up on the Quai du Port, which is next to the old harbour, conveniently the departure point for the Petit train. This is marked on the map below with DEPART on the north side of the harbour.
You can spend several hours walking around the old town area, enjoying some refreshment at the street cafes that surrounds the Vieux Port area and watching life go by.
Le Petit Train – Marseille
The Petit Train is highly recommended as a way of getting around, seeing some of the main sites and avoiding the high climb to visit the Basilique Notre Dame de la Garde.
There are two routes; Notre Dame Tour Circuit 1 and Old Marseille Tour Circuit 2, each are priced separately.
We took the Notre Dame tour with the whole ride being approximately 1 hour 15 mins, you can leave the train at the Basilique to admire the view and to look inside, and then catch another train back. Trains leave about every 30 mins.
The view from the top of la Garde Hill (highest point in the city) where the Basilique is located is amazing. The photo below shows the view looking back towards the city with the Old Port in the middle and the commercial port in the distance.
If you do not want to stay in Marseille itself, the cruise lines normally offer half and full day trips in to Provence.
One destination is Aix-en-Provence, the former capital of the Provence region, a popular place of the famous painter Paul Cezanne. A large part of the old town retains its 17th century charming character.
Another popular tour is to the medieval walled city of Avignon.