Most people who plan a trip to France usually head straight to Paris. While we understand the allure of the City of Lights, we’re here to let you know that there are many other wonderful places to visit in France that are quite underrated. If you’re looking something completely different from Paris, Marseille is a wonderful option. This sunny seaside destination, which is the second-biggest city after Paris, will certainly surprise you.
The Old Port at Marseille is a beautiful spot to start out the day. Take a stroll by the water and have a coffee and croissant at one of the cafes on the edge f the water. You can watch the boats in the water as you have your breakfast. Next, take a scenic ride on the Petit train to the Basilique Notre Dame de la Garde, which is the highest point in Marseille. There you’ll find gorgeous mosaics, marble statues, and beautiful murals.
Next you can head to Parc Longchamp, which is part of the Notable Gardens of France according to the French Ministry of Culture. Make sure to also visit the bohemian quarter of Marseille called Cours Julien. There you’ll find vintage shops, record stores, street art, and plenty of places to find handmade gifts.
You can head to one of the bars in the area in order to have a pre-dinner drink, the traditional “apéro.” For dinner, you can try Peron restaurant, which is located right on the water. If you time it well, reserve a spot so that you can be seated there while enjoying a stunning sunset dinner. For a post-dinner drink, check out La Petit Pavilion, which is a great cocktail bar with low-key vibes.
On your second morning, head to the Port du Vallon des Auffes, which is a cute village next to Catalan Beach. Bring a bathing suit and sunglasses and soak up the sun, and cool off in the Mediterranean when you’re starting to feel the heat. There are plenty of restaurants in the area as well.
Later, head to Le Panier, the oldest neighborhood of Marseille that is known for its vintage stores, street art, cobbled streets, and historic buildings. Next you can visit Vieille Charité, which is a 17th century almshouse that has been converted into a cultural center featuring a cinema, exhibition halls, and museums.
For a gorgeous sunset, head to La Porte d’Orient, where you can see the sun set in between the statue’s arms.
Of course, when it France, you must try fine dining at lease once. If you’re in Marseille, check out L’Epuisette, which is known for one of the most delicious bouillabaisses. You’ll also get a stunning view of Vallon des Auffes.