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About Marseille

'The more the merrier' seems to be the motto in the artistic melting pot of Marseille. And not just at dinner, where a Bouillabaisse fish stew is best shared en masse. France's oldest (and second largest) city is a crossroads for migration, and so a kaleidoscope of history and culture has been gently simmering since The Greeks first arrived in 600BC.

 

Of course, take in the must-see sights - the historic Canebière boulevard stretching from the Old Port to the Réformés quarter, and the fortressed Vieux-Port harbour packed with theatres, bars and restaurants; its mellow buildings staggering the hillside topped like a wedding cake with the Notre-Dame de la Garde. Then there's the romance of the Art Deco-style opera house or the crashing waves of Calanques' rugged limestone cliffs.

 

Such beauty has inspired artists like Renoir and Cézanne for centuries. But for a real flavour of Marseille, just meander. Perhaps you might discover a colourful Arab market? A sun-scorched cove? Or just the locals playing Boules under the plane trees.

 

Shore excursions in Marseille

Please note: The shore excursions listed are typical for this port. The full programme of shore excursions available for your cruise will be displayed on Cruise Personaliser at least 12 weeks prior to departure.

Aix en Provence

Activity highShopping

Duration: 4 hours

The cultural capital of Provence is a city of wide boulevards, majestic trees and gracious city squares.

Upon arrival in Aix en Provence, your guide will take you on a walking tour of the old capital. Aix owes much to the nobles who built their fine houses and endowed the city with imposing public buildings from the 16th century onwards. Cours Mirabeau lies at the heart of Aix, aristocratic façades of old mansions line the avenue, with wrought iron balconies and finely carved doorways. Here you can admire some of the finest examples of the ‘healing’ fountains for which Aix is renowned.

Explore the old quarter and the beautiful Saint Sauveur Cathedral, which is exceptionally rich in works of art, and is noted for its Merovingian baptistery and grandiose organ.

Enjoy some free time on your own to discover the city further or indulge yourself in a spot of shopping in Aix-en-Provence’s many fabulous boutiques.

Essential information

The drive to Aix-en-Provence takes approximately 45 minutes each way. Flat, comfortable shoes are recommended. This tour involves approximately 1½ hours of walking over some uneven and cobblestone ground, including steps.

Avignon and Marseille

Activity high

Duration: 8 hours

Admire the stunning scenery for which Provence is renowned, and the beauty of the city of Marseille.

Enjoy a scenic drive to the city of Avignon where towers rise from a sea of pink tiles in this old walled city on the Rhône River. Walk through the narrow, cobbled streets as your guide recounts Avignon’s history and its important role during the Great Schism, when the popes relocated from Rome. View the Pont d’Avignon, made famous by the eponymous children’s song. In the heart of the city stands the abandoned fortified Palace of the Popes. Stroll through the deserted galleries, chambers and chapels of the Palace.

During your visit to Avignon, you'll enjoy some time at leisure to sample the local cuisine and shop for souvenirs and provincial crafts.

You’ll return to Marseille to visit the Notre-Dame de la Garde. The Basilica sits on a hill overlooking the city of Marseille with a superb view of the Vieux Port. The 19th-century Basilica is decorated in a Néo-Byzantine style and the interior boasts impressive multi-coloured marble, mosaics and murals.

Essential information

This tour includes approximately 3 hours of walking over some uneven ground and cobblestoned streets. To reach the Notre Dame Basilica there are approximately 160 steps to climb. It is recommended that you wear comfortable walking shoes. Please bring local currency as free time will be given for shopping and to purchase lunch.

Chateauneuf du Pape & Avignon

Activity highShopping

Duration: 7 hours

Explore the fabulous region that cultivated the delicious full bodied wine, Châteauneuf du Pape.

Heading away from Marseille, your drive will lead you to the town of Châteauneuf, whose original vineyards were planted on land belonging to the Avignon popes. Under Pope John XXII, wine from Châteauneuf was regularly supplied to the Papal residence. You’ll have the opportunity to taste the yields of an age-old tradition at a local winery.

A visit to this region would not be complete without admiring Avignon, the city of art and culture. It sprawls along the banks of the Rhone River, surrounded by ramparts and dominated by the massive Dome Rock. The Cathedral and Palace of the Popes stand atop the rock, towering majestically over the rest of the town. Enjoy a guided tour of the city, and some free time for lunch or to explore the local shops.

Essential information

This tour operates by coach and on foot. It involves approximately 2 hours of walking, over some uneven and cobblestoned surfaces and steps. It is recommended that you wear flat, comfortable walking shoes. The order of highlights may vary.

Châteauneuf Du Pape and Avignon

Activity mediumMeal includedShopping

Duration: 8 hours

Explore the fabulous region that cultivated the delicious full bodied wine, Châteauneuf du Pape.

Heading away from Marseille, your drive will lead you to the town of Châteauneuf du Pape, whose original vineyards were planted on land belonging to the Avignon popes. Under Pope John XXII, wine from Châteauneuf was regularly supplied to the Papal residence. You’ll have the opportunity to taste the yields of an age-old tradition at a local winery.

A visit to this region would not be complete without admiring Avignon, the city of art and culture. It sprawls along the banks of the Rhone River, surrounded by ramparts and dominated by the massive Dome Rock. The Cathedral and Palace of the Popes stand atop the rock, towering majestically over the rest of the town. Enjoy a guided tour of the city, and some free time to explore the local shops.

A delicious lunch will be served in a local restaurant in Avignon.

Essential information

This excursion will operate by coach and on foot. This tour involves approximately 2 hours of walking, over some uneven and cobblestone surfaces and steps. It is recommended that you wear flat, comfortable walking shoes. The order of highlights may vary.

Easy Marseille and Old Port

Activity low

Duration: 3 hours

Discover the best of Marseille from the comfort of your coach, and spend a little free time at 'Le Vieux Port'.

Marseille was founded in the 6th century BC by Greek settlers from Phocea, and was named ‘Massalia’. Today it is the 2nd largest city in France, and is home to the country’s largest commercial port. Sit back, relax and enjoy your drive as you pass by the shopping district, and have your camera at the ready, as a stop will be made outside Longchamp Palace and its beautiful fountain.

Winding your way round one of Europe’s oldest cities, admire the Cathedral de la Major, a huge and extravagant construction started in the 19th century in a Neo-Byzantine style. View the gilded statue of the Virgin and Child housed over the bell tower of the Basilica Notre-Dame de la Garde, perched high above the city of Marseille.

A scenic drive will take you along the promenade, the Corniche Kennedy road. Admire the stunning views of the craggy coves and little beaches tucked away along the coastline; spot the spooky Château d’If, the city’s penal colony in a bygone era. Enjoy a little free time at ‘Le Vieux Port’ and watch the world go by from one of the many cafés or shop for souvenirs.

Essential information

Passengers are advised to carry local currency should you wish to shop for souvenirs or purchase any refreshments. There is approximately 30 minutes of free time at the Old Port.

 

A selection of cruises to Marseille

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