Marseille Provence, the new standard-setter for Mediterranean cruising

As France’s no.1 boarding port for cruise passengers, Marseille Provence provides a wide array of cruise destinations to suit all tastes and budgets. Follow the guide, Jean-François Suhas, President of the Marseille Provence Cruise Club.

Atout France: For a stopover in Marseille/ Provence, which sites do you recommend visiting?

Jean-François Suhas: Go up the hill and look around the 19th-century Notre Dame de la Garde basilica. Take in the 360° panorama of France's second largest city and one of the most beautiful bays in the world. The view spans all the way from L'Estaque – an old haunt of Cézanne's and the crucible of cubism- to the north, down to the Vieux-Port, where the city was founded by the Greeks in 600BC. It extends towards the Massif des Calanques, Europe's first periurban national park, and also includes the Château d’If and Frioul Islands offshore.

- Take time to wander through the Panier and lose yourself in the maze-like narrow streets of Marseille's oldest quarter. Take in a few galleries and museums, before taking a well-earned break on a cafe terrace.

- Don't miss the J4/ Joliette area, the new face of Marseille that was constructed for the European Capital of Culture year, which continues to be a driving cultural force. The MuCEM, Villa Méditerranée, Regards de Provence Museum, Voûtes de la Major, Terrasses du Port and –recently reopened- the Docks... are just some of the cultural venues and retail centers that have transformed Marseille in the past few years.

AF: If you only had 24 hours to do a tour in Marseille and Provence, where wouldyou stop to eat and drink?
JFS: I would go down to the Vieux-Port to take in the authentic and friendly atmosphere, with bouillabaisse and pastis on the agenda! I would also go the J4 and La Joliette to check out one or two of the many trendy live music venues that have sprung up recently. I would finish the day going to the Friche de la Belle de Mai to be immersed into its arty, underground atmosphere.

AF: What is the best time to plan a cruise in Marseille & Provence and why?
JFS: In Marseille, the sun shines 300 days a year, so just try to avoid the 65 days when the weather is less predictable!

For more information, please visit the website of Marseille Provence Cruise club. (External link)

Marseille Provence Cruise Club

The Marseille-Provence Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the City of Marseille and Marseille’s port authority, the GPMM, came together in 1996 to create the Marseille Provence Cruise Club to develop the cruise sector and establish Marseille as an industry hub. That joint venture gave birth to a dynamic approach that has generated a real synergy between all the economic and institutional players in the local cruise market.