Where to Stay in Marseille: 6 Best Areas

Marseille is the epitome of variegated culture located on the southern French coast. Although it’s not the capital, it gives a more natural experience of French heritage. Being the second-largest city in France, it is home to one of the top attractions in the world. 

Marseille is the perfect tourist spot on the Mediterranean coast. It might not be as touristy as London or Paris, but it is indeed a vibrant destination at a reasonable price. 

Read also: When is the Best Time to Visit France

This phenomenal city is quite outstretched and straggling. So, if you’re wondering where to stay in Marseille, you’re at the right place. In today’s article, we will discuss some of the best areas to stay in Marseille. 

Ahead of your trip to Marseille, you might wanna know more about the right accommodation and sightseeing. It’s not an easy job to get your hands on the right place in such a sprawling city. Without proper guidance and knowledge, your trip might turn out into a daunting experience.

Before we get familiar with an in-depth traveling guide of Marseille, I’ve some quick suggestions that will help you plan your trip without any hassle. While May to August is the peak season, the best time to visit is from September to November.

For first-time travelers, Old Port of Marseille is the ideal place to stay and enjoy – Located at the city center, Vieux Port has been indulged in trading for more or less 2600 years.

If visiting attractions and beautiful buildings is your priority, then Cinq Avenues must be on the top of your travel list. The picturesque greenery and wide streets weave the sweetest memories while walking.

Notre Dame du Mont is the best for experiencing the nightlife in Marseille. If you want to visit beaches, then La Plage is filled with a number of splendid beaches for you to choose from.

For a quiet holiday, you must prefer La Corniche. If you’re on a budget, there’s no better place other than Le Panier and La Joliette. St. Charles Metro Station connecting to Canebiere does a commendable job when it comes to transportation.  Budget Backpacker or not, Marseille has got something for everyone.  

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Where to Stay in Marseille: 6 Best Areas to Stay in Marseille

There’s a lot more to explore in this largest and diverse suburb of the French Riviera region. To make your trip effortless and memorable, I’ve outlined the six best areas to stay in Marseille including top attractions. Each place has its own charisma and appeals to tourists from worldwide. Without further due, let’s get started!

1. Le Vieux Port (Old Port), where to stay in Marseille for first time tourists

If you’re visiting Marseille for the first time and want to stay as central as possible, then Le Vieux Port would create the perfect itinerary. Located at the bottom of Marseille’s main thoroughfare of La Canebière, Le Vieux Port (also known as Old Port) is dominated on one side by the Notre Dame de la Garde and on the other by Panier (Old Town).

Vieux Port is the ancient heart of Marseille and the beating heart of the city for centuries. It is surrounded by Romanesque, Renaissance, and art-deco architecture buildings. You’ll see find some of the oldest buildings from the 16th-century include the Maison Diamantée (Diamond House), the Hôtel de Cabre; the 18th century Fort Saint-Jean, and Fort Saint Nicolas.

Old Port has the U-shaped, the northern quai du Port, the southern quai de Rive Neuve, and the semi-pedestrian quai des Belges. The Old Port is mostly open to pedestrians. The promenades are lined with cafés, bars, and restaurants where you can enjoy drinks and meals and watch stunning views over the sea, picturesque boats, and yachts.

There is also a ferry boat service that crosses the harbor several times a day between the Bar de la Marine on the quai de Rive Neuve and the Town Hall on the quai du Port, you can take a ride!

The daily fresh fish market of Quai De Belges Fish Market and the Opéra de Marseille nearby are some of the must-see attractions in the Old Port.

If you wish to see the artistic side of Old Port, then Musee d’Histoire and Cantini is the hub of exceptional artworks giving a glimpse from the early 20th century. Travel north of the Le Vieux Port and appreciate the captivating Museum of European and Mediterranean Civilisations (MUCEM) and Musée Regards de Provence.

The southern quai de Rive Neuve area is where you can find the Musée Subaquatique de Marseille, Le Musée Savon de Marseille, Palais du Pharo, the charming Parc Émile Duclaux, and many boutiques, bars, and eateries.

The Old Port also offers some of the best bars, cafes, and dining in the city. You can visit Le Vieux Port bar and try out Pastis, a famous aniseed liqueur of Marseille. And the Le Café des Epices which is located behind the town hall, where you will encounter the authentic French bistro with a spectacular view.

Your trip will be incomplete without the excursion of Le Petits Trains de Marseille. Take a stroll here with your family in a special locomotive wagon and add stars to your trip, no wonder why it is so popular among the tourists.

Before planning your stay here, you need to keep in mind that accommodation can get steep if you’re looking to stay at the city’s center. But as you travel farther, you’ll find much cheaper options. Also, Vieux Port is around 20 minutes away from Marseille Provence Airport by car.

Stay in Vieux Port if you’re first-time tourists; you want to remain at the heart of Marseille; you’re looking for great dining and entertainment options; you’re an art lover.

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2. Cinq Avenues, where to stay in Marseille for family

One of the most upmarket areas of Marseille, Cinq Avenues, is the undisputed dream destination. It is an upper-class quarter near the city center with quieter accommodation options. Consider Cinq Avenues if you’re looking for a family-friendly stay in Marseille.

Commence your trip by first visiting Longchamp Palace. It is one of the most-awaited and exciting places in Cinq Avenues, featuring remarkable museums and art galleries. This massive classical building will provide you with a splendid background for clicking pictures.  

Longchamp Palace is home to Musee des Beaux-Arts (Fine Arts Museum), the Natural History Museum, Observatory De Marseille, and botanical gardens.

If you want to do something adventurous or cool, head towards the large park in the neighborhood. Here you can have a nice family picnic while cherishing the forever French Riviera weather. Romantic scenery in Cinq Avenues is quite popular among couples as well as families.  

Cinq Avenues is indeed a food paradise brimmed with local stores and cafes. Shopping is fun and easy with a high density of boutique stores exhibiting modern fashion.

If you like sweets, then you won’t regret visiting La Chocolaterie Marseillaise. They make special handmade chocolates that will redefine your love for the same. If you’re lucky enough, you can also participate in their occasional chocolate-making workshops.

For wine lovers, La Compagnie des Vignes will quench your thirst for high-quality French wine. The Provence Wine region is home to domestic wine yards. You can elongate the joy by taking a tour of the countryside. For having light snacks and regional beer, hop on La Canebiere.

Cinq Avenues is served by the St. Charles Metro Station, traveling here is quite accessible, and as the local says: “All roads lead to Cinq Avenues.” You’ll realize the same throughout your stay here. It is a busy junction where all vehicles overlap at a star-shaped intersection. Easy access to other parts of the city is easy with Longchamp train Station.

This mini-metropolis offers a wide range of accommodation options, from budget hostels to luxury hotels;

Stay in Cinq Avenues if you are traveling with families; You want to stay in an upmarket suburb; Visiting lovely boutiques is on your wishlist; You’re looking for a contemporary yet quieter travel experience.

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3. Notre Dame du Mont, where to stay in Marseille for nightlife 

Notre Dame du Mont is unrivaled if you’re looking for both tremendous nightlife and outstanding street art. This is possible because Cours Julien and La Plaine divide Notre Dame du Mont into two areas. They are one of the trendier parts of de Marseille and have a lot in common.

The hipster district of Cours Julien is a favorite spot of the locals for nightlife, bars, interesting restaurants (Asian, African), boutiques, galleries, and street arts.

If you like colorful farmer’s markets, you can head to the Market at Noailles (also known as Le Marché de Noailles or the Marché des Capucins) with a variety of shops and stalls.

La Plaine is almost similar to the former; however, it is a bit more peaceful than the former. La Plaine also has budget-friendly accommodations, a lively street art scene, graffiti, and is home to the nightlife hub, Place Jean Jaurès.

Start your day by heading to the most visited monument of the city of Marseille, Notre Dame de La Garde Basilica. You can hike to the top or get on the little touristic train to the top and enjoy the wonderful 360 degrees view all over the city.

For live music, Espace Julien offers immense pleasure. You’ll find locals performing here, and you can also interact with the residents of Cours Julien. You can consider Jean Jaures for a splendid ambiance and terrific deals on burgers, fries, and falafel.  

Major attractions in Notre Dame du Mont are Escaliers Cours Julien allowing you to capture lovely snapshots with phenomenal street arts at the backdrop. If you want to witness a glorious open-air art gallery from native artists, consider Une Galerie à Ciel Ouvert.

If you’re fortunate enough, you’ll behold stunning street performances from ingenious artists at Le M.U.R, located at the heart of Cours Julien. Not only for the remarkable landmark but this hipster tourist spot is also known for cheap meals.

As you move a few hundred meters away from the Cours Julien, you’ll find spacious apartments and other cheaper accommodation options without compromising on the quality of comfort.

Stay in Notre Dame du Mont if you’re interested in nightlife with cheap eateries; you want to visit a historic district; you want to live among a diverse crowd of artists and musicians.

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4. La Plage, where to stay in Marseille for beaches

Located on the coastline, La Plage is a paradise of beaches in the southern part of Marseille. It is well-connected with the city center by public transport. if you have a car, you can easily take a trip to the Calanques national park.

You can consider La Plage if you love the seaside atmosphere and wish to enjoy sunbathing. There are numerous bars and restaurants to make your stay blissful and complete.

As a first-time traveler, embark on your tour with Stade Nautique du Roucas Blanc, an eye-catching waterpark that shows off stunning water-based sports activities. Les Plages du Prado is a lively and ecstatic beach showcasing various sunbathing areas along with bars.

Then you can head towards Stade du David, which is almost the replica of the sculpture of Michelangelo present in proximity to the beach. You can also participate in Marseille’s best sailing courses at Voiles au Large Marseille. Rent a boat there and let the fun begin!

The Bowl of Marseille Center Skate Park is pretty well-known among skate lovers. It is situated right on the coast, making it an ideal place for your stay. For culture-driven sightseeing, consider Marseille’s best National Ballet. It blatantly displays impressive regular performances.

Add amusement and entertainment to your nightlife by visiting Le Coco Bongo Bar, famous for exclusive deals on drinks and displays karaoke sessions. Dining and shopping are more fun here due to the refreshing atmosphere and friendly crowd.

La Plage accumulates both the high-end as well as mid-range accommodation. It entirely depends on your choice and budget. If spending some extra bucks doesn’t spoil your trip, you probably want to remain at the city center. You’ll find cheaper options as well if you travel a few minutes away from the seashore.

Still, wondering why La Plage is the perfect place for your next trip? It is the place where you’ll be least bored as the city reveals lots of attractions and fun sites to cherish. It is an excellent stopover if La Corniche is next on your itinerary.

Stay in La Plage if You want to remain close to the coast and enjoy water activities; You want to be well connected with the City Center; Notable nightlife and affordable drinks are your priority.

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5. La Corniche, best area to stay in Marseille for quiet holiday

Call it La Corniche or hipster promenade; it’s the same thing. The wide pedestrian soaring above the sea connects L’Anse des Catalans and Parc Balneaire du Prado. You’ll feel blessed to walk on the upscale promenade with authentic maritime theming. This 25-meter wide road is a renowned place for strolling among Marseille’s locals and tourists.

La Corniche is far less touristy than the Vieux Port area or Cinq Avenues, and you’ll have a peaceful quarter here. But less crowd doesn’t mean less appealing or fun. Although it has comparatively fewer beaches than La Plage, it reveals more of a natural side of Marseille.

The Paragraph Building will be the first to grab your attention while outing. Built-in the late 19th century, this little building will give you a glimpse of precise measurement and dedication. To date, it stands boastful at the seashore attracting tourists from all over the world.

Don’t miss out on La Corniche’s Bench if you want to experience the most extended bench globally. It is a promising excursion associating Pont de La Fausse-Monnaie and Sofitel Palm Beach. For couples, it’s like a fairytale coming true.

The legendary coastal road – “Corniche John Fitzgerald Kennedy” is unavoidable. Make your vacation more romantic and take your partner on this fascinating drive and weave an isle of golden memories.

Next, visit the Villa Valmer, “Vague a La Mer,” and get lost in the Renaissance-style architecture. This mid-19th century magnificent building is worth watching. Tropical plants encompassing the villa make it more picturesque.

Besides architectural craziness, be ready to encounter “art de Vivre” at Vallon des Auffes. Jaw-dropping La Bouillabaisse is the signature dish of this fish market. It is a simple family dish modified to a level where it has its own fan base.

As it is away from the hustle-bustle of the city, there are not many dining and shopping options. But what you’ll get here is even more mouth-watering and worth buying. La Corniche prefers quality over quantity.

Coming to stay part, which is perhaps the minor con. Being a quiet district, the number of hotels here is relatively more minor to the Old Port. Therefore, you’ve to spend extra money if you don’t want to stay outside the central location in La Corniche. Accommodation options will get less steep as you move to the periphery of this beautiful little city. The stay will be more reasonable there.

Stay in La Corniche if you’re looking for a quiet holiday far from the crowd; you’re an art lover and want to appreciate the workmanship of the Maregraph Building; you prefer cliffs overlooking the sea.

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6. Le Panier, the oldest neighborhood of Marseille

Le Panier is the oldest neighborhood of Marseille, which will leave you amazed. The original residential area accumulates a family-friendly stay at an affordable price range. From cobblestone streets to quaint squares, Le Panier aces in every aspect.

A great way of getting around the city is to visit the newly built Museum and get close to the cultural side of Marseille. If you want to witness a massive monument with an enchanting interior, head to Cathedrale La Major.

Art lovers can be considered Atelier, where domestic artists craft artifacts. In addition, you can visit La Vieille Charite, an aesthetic old townhouse and lovely place to stay. It was formerly an almshouse, later on, modified into an art gallery highlighting works of diverse regions.

You can count Neighboring La Joliette if you want to revisit the cultural and economic growth of Le Panier. Without a doubt, it is a substantial attraction spot presenting a modernistic riverside. La Joliette is usually crawling with people and has all the necessary conveniences.

Once you’re here, you can’t escape the royal Maison Diamante, also known as the Diamond House reflects the accurate artistry of Italian and Spanish traders.

While walking down the ancient lane, you’ll admire the creative graffiti on the city walls painted by experts. The Vieux Port is always within walking distance if, just in case, you wish to visit there.

Still, got time and energy? Take a tour of the mid-18th century structure, The Daviel Pavillon. Constructed by the Gerard brothers, it radiates vibes of positivity and craftiness.

Hop to Lenche Square the very next morning and have a cup of coffee in silence with your partner. Further, you can enjoy open-air eateries that make delicious French pastries keeping your tummy happy and sweet throughout the day. For a smashing dinner, tour Le Petit Nice and eat Provencal Cuisine.

From there, you can aim for Place des Moulins (otherwise known as Mills Square) to get to the highest point of this suburban area. The name commemorates the fifteen windmills previously located therein around the 17th century.  

It’s better to end the trip on a spiritual note. Therefore, I suggest you visit the Church of ‘Accoules’ on the last day of your tour. The insular building has been standing peacefully there since the 11th century. Later on, it was rebuilt in the late 18th century, which aimed at keeping the floor centralized.   

Hotels here are less expensive than the Vieux Port. That means accommodation at La Panier is going to fit your pocket without compromising on the stay quality. In some of the hotels, you might hear the chiming sound of the bells from the nearby church.

Why La Panier? Noteworthy sightseeing location, a hot sip of coffee, cobbled streets, traditional lifestyle, imposing paintings on walls, artistic layout, massive museums, and so much more. To put it into simpler terms, it is all in one and perhaps the best place to stay and a must-explore location in Marseille.

Stay in La Panier if you want to take a stroll around the old streets complimenting the spray-art; you want to live a traditional Frenchman’s life; you’re looking to stick to budget accommodation; you want to learn more about Mediterranean culture; you want to tune into the regional vibe.

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Marseille is one of such places which is going to deliver a rewarding experience to you. With each passing day, its charm is only proliferating and outstretching. From La Canebiere shopping street to coastal cuisine, Marseille le is the hub of diverse beauty. Besides contemporary temptations, it defines art and creativity.

With a promising stay and piles of attractions, it is becoming the new Barcelona. And I can bet you are daydreaming about this unique travel site. 

I’ve successfully summarized the six best areas to stay in Marseille and covered all the major draws with dining, shopping, and accommodating options. Now, all you have to do is book your favorite district for a perfect vacation. You’ll live an abundant life here. Eventually, it will farewell you with tons of sweet memories.  

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