Where to sleep in Marseille if it's the first time you go there

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Alejandra Rangel
@alejandrarangel
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wikipedia.org, lonelyplanet.com

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Lively and at times chaotic, cheerful and noisy, Marseille it is one of the most particular French cities: Alexandre Dumas called it "the meeting point of the whole world" due to the multiculturalism due to the large port which not only contributed to creating a city diversified from the architectural side, but enriched its culture and gastronomy.

Marseille it is the second largest city in France and one of the main ports in the Mediterranean. It has always been a crossroads of peoples and cultures and this has contributed to making it a true melting pot of traditions, customs and habits.



For a long time Marseille was defined as an unsafe city (absolutely to read Jean Claude Izzo's "noir" books), often downright dangerous, but in recent years many areas have been redeveloped and tourists have begun to arrive in increasing numbers to visit the historic center, the Basilica of Notre Dame de la Garde, the Old Port, the Frioul islands and Creeks.

Although it is much quieter than it used to be, there are still areas that are best avoided today, especially during the evening hours. This is why I have decided to recommend the best areas to sleep in Marseille.

Once you get to know its neighborhoods better and have chosen the hotel to stay, all you have to do is immerse yourself in the narrow streets of its historic center, visit the famous Calanques and set sail for the Frioul Islands.

  • Overview of the districts of Marseille
  • 1 - Le Vieux-Port: Where to sleep in Marseille for the first time
  • 2 - Le Panier: the coolest place to sleep in Marseille
  • 3 - La Corniche: where to sleep in a romantic area
  • 4 - La Canebière: where to sleep in Marseille with children
  • 5 - L'Estaque: Where to sleep in Marseille on a budget
  • 6 - La Joliette: where to sleep in a "Trendy" area
  • 7 - Cinq Avenues: where to sleep in Marseille in a quiet area
  • 8 - La Pointe Rouge: Where to sleep in Marseille for the beaches

Overview of the districts of Marseille and where NOT to sleep

As I told you, Marseille is the second largest city in France and, as you can imagine, it is really very big. The city is made up of 16 municipal arrondissements which are divided into further districts: 111 to be precise!



Each neighborhood is different from the other and each has its own peculiarity. There are more touristic neighborhoods, others decidedly more experienced by the inhabitants and some definitely to be avoided.

Among the best neighborhoods to sleep in Marseille The old Port is the most central one, Le Panier the most authentic one e The Corniche the quieter one.

Among areas where NOT to sleep in Marseille there are the 13th, 14th, 15th, and 16th arrondissements. The Bellevue Park on Felix Pyat in the 3rd arrondissement and the Tops of Mazargues in the 9th arrondissement they are particularly famous for being unsafe areas, so try to avoid them.

Know that, however, Marseille is no more or less dangerous than many other large European cities, so start with peace of mind: just pay a little more attention to wallets and smartphones.

1 - Le Vieux-Port: Where to sleep in Marseille for the first time

Il Porto Vecchio it's definitely the best area to stay in Marseille, especially if it is the first time you visit it.

The neighborhood is within walking distance of the main attractions of the city and getting from one side to the other won't be difficult: you can do it comfortably on foot or by metro. You will also be very close to the two forts of San Nicolas and San Jean which rise, to protect the port, at its ends.


From here, moreover, it will be easy for you to get on one of the boats that daily accompany tourists to discover Marseille from the sea or to Chateau d'If, fortification made famous by the writer Alexandre Dumas.

Le Old Port it is a lively district at any time of day or night: on Saturday mornings you cannot miss the opportunity to stroll among the stalls of the fish market and in the evening you can enjoy a good dinner in one of the many restaurants scattered here and there.


The Old Port is certainly the area of ​​Marseille with the greatest offer of accommodation facilities: you will find luxury hotels, but also cheap B & Bs and guest houses.

The best hotels in Le Vieux-Port

If you think that Le Vieux-Port is the best neighborhood for you to stay in Marseille, I would recommend three hotels.

Studio Vieux-Port view Notre-Dame Basilica, a small studio apartment with equipped kitchen whose highlight is certainly the magnificent view over the city.

Il Staycity Aparthotels Center Vieux Port is a modern structure where you can stay in apartments or studios with a complete kitchenette.

This solution is perfect for medium-long stays because it will allow you to save something on the dinners you can prepare yourself. Furthermore, the structure is in a very good position.

For an economic solution, however, I suggest theibis Styles Marseille Vieux Port: the rooms are small, but comfortable and equipped with everything you need for a couple of days stay.


Other Hotels in VIEUX PORT

2 - Le Panier: the most authentic place to sleep in Marseille

Le Panier is the oldest district of Marseille. This area was once inhabited mainly by fishermen and, later, by immigrants. Since 2013, however, with the appointment of Marseille as the European Capital of Culture, Le Panier has been redeveloped and open to tourism and has been transformed into an elegant neighborhood with a bohemian atmosphere.

In the narrow alleys of the old historic center, shops, artistic studios and craft shops were born.

Today visiting the heart of the city means getting lost in an intricate system of alleys between typical restaurants, craft shops and fashion ateliers. Despite the slightly retro air, Le Panier has not lost its authentic charm and during a walk it will be easy to meet and mingle with the locals.


Like Le Vieux-Port, this area is also very central and convenient if you are visiting Marseille for the first time: the two districts, in fact, are very close to each other.

Keep in mind, however, that hotel prices here are much higher than those in the Old Port.

In Le Panier I suggest you visit the Church of the Accoules and the Vieille Charité, an ancient complex that now houses two important Marseille museums: the Museum of Mediterranean Archeology and the MAAOA (Museum of African, Oceanic and Amerinde Arts).

The best Le Panier hotels

If you are looking for a luxurious solution to stay in the Le Panier district, I suggest theInterContinental Marseille - Hotel Dieu. The hotel is housed in an old XNUMXth century palace and offers rooms and suites, some with panoramic views of the city and major attractions.

Inside you will find two restaurants and a wellness center where you can relax after a day exploring Marseille.

A nice choice, but much cheaper than the previous one is the Maison Du Vieux Panier Old Port which also offers a nice terrace and apartments with air conditioning and some have flat screen TV, washing machine, kettle and kitchen.

Other Hotels in LE PANIER

3 - La Corniche: where to sleep in a romantic area

If you prefer a quieter and perhaps romantic area, I suggest the neighborhood by La Corniche, a residential area that extends south of the Porto Vecchio.

The name derives from the long avenue named after Kennedy that runs alongside Marseille starting from the city beach des Catalans up to Prado Seaside Park.

Here you can walk, jog or cycle.

Construction of the road began in 1848 to try to stem the problem of unemployment.

In this neighborhood you will find the best luxury hotels in Marseille: the rooms facing the seafront will give you awakenings that you will not easily forget.

The Corniche, despite being in a more secluded position than Le Panier and Le Vieux-Port, is still an excellent area to stay and by public transport you will reach the center in just 10 minutes.

I suggest you stay here especially during the summer when you can take advantage of the beaches along the promenade for a dip and a few hours of sunshine.

If you decide to stay here, don't miss the opportunity to visit Valley of the Auffes, an ancient fishing village where today you can enjoy an excellent bouillabaisse, the typical fish soup of Provence.

The best hotels in The Corniche

If you want to stay near La Corniche, I suggest you take a look at the following facilities:

Mercure Marseille Center Bompard La Corniche: a 4-star boutique hotel with swimming pool, a true oasis of tranquility in a verdant setting, this large bourgeois building and its tree-lined park are located just a few minutes from the center of Marseille.

If you are looking for a more luxurious stay, consider it instead The Sea Side, a nice hotel located 400 meters from the Palais du Pharo. The rooms are simple and modern and most have a balcony with sea view. The hotel has an outdoor swimming pool, a private beach and a fitness center.

Other Hotels in LA CORNICHE

4 - La Canebière: where to sleep in Marseille with children

Il district of La Canebière it extends along the street of the same name, perhaps the most famous and important street in Marseille.

La Canabiere is considered the main street of the city and connects the Porto Vecchio with the neighborhood Reformed (al Boulevard de la Liberation).

This road artery was built by Louis XIV during the expansion of the city and was inaugurated in 1666.

La Canabiere is surrounded by elegant buildings among which the former certainly stands out Stock Exchange building and Opera House.
Along the entire length of the street you will find shops, restaurants, bars, cinemas and theaters.

Staying here will mean staying in a refined area with every convenience at your fingertips. As you can imagine, however, the prices tend to be a bit high.

This area, together with the Old Port, constitute the heart of the French city and is perfect for staying close to the main attractions and within walking distance of bars, restaurants and shops of all kinds.

This street was once lined with cafes, elegant boutiques, some of the most important buildings in the city, famous luxury hotels and department stores. Today many of these buildings are still visible: don't miss the Opera and the former Stock Exchange Palace.

La Canebière is more expensive than other central districts, but the advantage will be that of having everything close at hand and being able to sleep, most likely, in ancient historic buildings.

The best La Canebière hotels

A good solution to stay on the Canebière is theMercure Marseille Canebière Vieux-Port hotel, classic hotel of the Mercure chain that offers modern rooms equipped with kettle, flat-screen TV and Wi-Fi connection. This hotel also has a restaurant. The convenience lies in being right in the city center.

If you are looking for something cheap, the Newhotel Saint Charles is the best choice: it has a lot to offer despite its cheap prices, the rooms are completely soundproofed, allowing you to sleep peacefully throughout your stay. The breakfast buffet is served until noon and can also be served in your room at no extra cost. Wi-Fi is available in each room.

If you are looking for the best luxury hotel in this area, look no further than the Grand Hotel Beauvau Marseille Vieux Port - MGallery has rooms that offer a magnificent view of the harbor! The rooms are well equipped with large bathrooms and luxurious fittings. The daily breakfast features Provencal cuisine which can be enjoyed in the communal dining room or directly in your room.

Other Hotels in VIEUX PORT

5 - L'Estaque: Where to sleep in Marseille on a budget

If you are looking for a quiet and peaceful place then you may want to considerEstaque, a small suburb that retains the charm of an ancient village.

Although, being close to the 16th arrondissement, i I don't recommend sleeping in this area.

The houses of this timeless village rise between the sea and the hills.

This small fishing village today is absolutely integrated into the urban fabric of Marseille, but has still retained a timeless charm and a relaxed atmosphere

Once this place was a refuge for artists and illustrious personalities, today it is the perfect place to experience Marseille in a different way, breathing a little of the authentic life of its more refined suburbs.

Nearby you can go to the beach, relax in one of the many cafes and buy local products.

In fact, on Saturday morning there is a nice market, the rest of the days you can reach the center of Marseille in just over 30 minutes by public transport.

The best L'Estaque hotels

Two excellent solutions where to sleep in Marseille in the L'Estaque district are theibis budget Marseille L'Estaque  and B&B Hotel Marseille Estaque.

Both belong to two famous hotel chains, have moderate prices and simple rooms, but equipped with excellent comforts for a short stay.

Other Hotels in L'ESTAQUE

6 - La Joliette: where to sleep in a "Trendy" area

Like so many other port cities, Marseille has also seen the transformation of its old port warehouses (the docks) into new trendy areas.

Where once the goods unloaded from large ships were stored, today there are bars, restaurants, shops and businesses that attract more and more young people.

A La Joliette was also born Terraces du Port, a huge shopping center where you will find numerous stores of French and international brands. If you want to enjoy a unique view of Marseille and its port I suggest you go up to the panoramic roof terrace.

In the surroundings of La Joliette there is also the Marseille Cathedral and the interesting Museum of European and Mediterranean Civilizations, a unique museum of its kind that wants to tell the relationship between the different Mediterranean civilizations.

This neighborhood is perfect to stay in a lively environment, cheaper than the center, but very comfortable: in just 10 minutes by public transport you will arrive, for example, in Le Vieux-Port.

In the area you can find much cheaper accommodation than the rest of the city and you will still be within walking distance of the center!

The best hotels in La Joliette

To stay in La Joliette I suggest you the Best Western Plus Hôtel La Joliette, a few meters from the Terraces du Port shopping center and the Mucem. The rooms are modern, all air conditioned and equipped with WiFi.

Alternatively you can evaluate the NH Collection Marseille, 4-star hotel with a cocktail bar, a garden and a fitness center. The building in which the hotel is housed dates back to 1864.

Other Hotels in LA JOLIETTE

7 - Cinq Avenues: where to sleep in Marseille in a quiet area

This residential area surrounded by large gardens it is perfect if you want to experience the big city in its most peaceful and everyday aspect.

Five avenues it is famous for its beautiful and elegant buildings and here you could experience sleeping in one of the typical Haussmann-style buildings and feel a little French too.

Don't forget to visit the Longchamp Park: inside the Palais Longchamp there is the Natural History Museum and the Museum of Fine Arts.
The Cinq Avenues district is not far from the center and in 10 minutes by metro you will easily reach the Old Port.

For the evening there is also the opportunity to dine in excellent restaurants or sip a cocktail in a bar.

The best Cinq Avenues hotels

To stay in the area I suggest you Life is good - CLIM - Longchamps-Canebière-Gare, a comfortable apartment equipped with every comfort even for longer stays.

8 - La Pointe Rouge: Where to sleep in Marseille for the beaches

The Pointe Rouge it is the right area to stay if you plan to go to the sea and enjoy the beach.

The marina of Marseille is housed here and you will find yourself amidst sailing boats and luxury yachts, in an atmosphere that is nothing short of a film.

In addition to going to the beach, here you can try your hand at sports such as sailing, kayaking and rowing.

In the evening you will certainly find the right place to eat fresh fish: there are many restaurants where you can eat well in the area.

Don't forget that the fish market is held every morning.

I advise you to choose La Pointe Rouge as a neighborhood only if you have already been to Marseille and you want to discover different and characteristic corners: to get to the center by public transport, in fact, it will take you about an hour.

The best La Pointe Rouge hotels

A good hotel to stay in Le Pointe Rouge is Villa Valflor, B&B housed in an ancient nineteenth-century villa. The rooms are all different and to embellish everything there is a beautiful garden with swimming pool.

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