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Marseille, France - Mixing Old World and Modern

In one breathtaking view your eyes will settle on a highly modern museum and an ancient fort, this truly is the essence of everything Marseille. The only real way to fully explore this city is on foot, which makes it an active traveler’s dream town with perfect temperatures and something to see around every corner.
Port of Marseille France
Let's dive in to each of the amazing places in this single photo take from Le Palais du Pharo!

The runner in me was happy to find that I short 5 mile run would take me past all of these major sites around the port, while feeling completely safe and utterly entranced.

Running in Marseille FranceIn the distance is the Marseille Sainte Marie Majeur Cathedral, built originally in the 1850’s to attract new inhabitants who were passing by this port town on ship. I ran past this nearly every day and was simply in awe of the size and the beauty.Marseill CathedralWalk a few blocks closer to the water and you’ll be standing in front of the MuCem Museum {Museum of Civilizations of Europe and Mediterranean. This modern architectural piece in the heart of an old city was no accident. When Marseille was awarded the 2013 European Capital of Culture Award they wanted to show off the city as a place for innovation and the future, not just the past.   MuCem in Marseille FranceWalking around the lattice worked outside of the MuCem provides 360 degree views of the city. The openings are large allowing you to take in the boats sailing by, the people swimming, the fort and well everything! There is also a great dining space at the top to sit and fully enjoy the views.DSC04466Using a bridge from the top of the MuCem you can cross over to Fort Saint-Jean. Construction began in the 1660’s both to protect the residents and assert some control over the town.
Marseille Fort Saint JeanFrom the Fort, take the stairway down to sea level and you’re ready to explore the Old Port. For all the towns I’ve visited with ports, I’ve never seen once as packed or active as Marseille! There were thousands of boats of all sizes and constant activity with sailors and rowers alike entering the port.

On the weekends small stalls open up to sell hand made goods and throughout the week there is a fish market and farmer’s market. Around the port you’ll also find plenty of shopping and dining.Marseille France PortYou might notice in the top right of this photo is another church…this is the one that tends to get the most attention from visitors because of it’s ornate qualities. We hopped on a quick bus tour to take us up to Notre-Dame-de-la-Garde and then prepared to climb the 200+ steps! Notre Dame De La GardeDSC04625I had to pause and take in the views of the city which were simply amazing from this vantage point.
View of MarseilleDSC04605EXPERIENCES
Boat Tour of the Coast line:  I wasn’t sure this was something we needed to do…but a few minutes in I could see why they’d suggested it. It’s amazing to see the city from a different angel and after you get away from the main port to see the tiny towns that exist on the water and the massive cliffs where people sunbath!

Soap Making: Grande Savonnerie -- See more about this soap making experience in 5 south of France DSC04534

Fish spa: I’ve heard about these, but always been too nervous to try…then I figured what the heck it’s vacation right?! Honestly it was a neat experience for $15 euros, but I wouldn’t say my feet felt any softer or more amazing for the nibbling.
I have to mention this because, truth be told I’d hate for anyone else to stay here thinking they were going to get one thing…and getting something unpleasant instead.

Grand Nice Hotel sounded fascinating as it was inside the old Pastuer Institute, but with a very modern twist. Like colored hallway lights, air conditioning that stopped working and a nasty front desk crew. Yup you got it, this may be a 4 star hotel in some books, but not ours!

More France: Things to do in Nice and exploring Aix-en-Provence

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