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Mediterranean Marseille: Top 5 Things to do in Marseille

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Headed to the south of France this summer? How about Marseille? The oldest city in France, founded 2600 years ago, the port city sits just above the shores of the Côte d’Azur offering a lively mix of French, Corsican, Italian and North African influences, a flourishing restaurant scene, splendid views and near-permanent sunshine. Palm trees dot the landscape framed by medieval stone streets, terrace cafés and the Mediterranean sea more blue than blue. Here are top 5 things to do in Marseille: what to see, eat, drink and do when in Marseille.

Swim in the Calanques

Extending over 20 kilometers along the Mediterranean, the calanques offer breath-taking views and numerous sports activities for the romantic and the adrenaline-junkies. Millions of years old, these coastal fractures have given rise to a rugged landscape of caves, cliffs, and sharp rocks. Pack your bathing suits! A ton of hidden caves and tiny creeks to explore, it will take a good two-and-a-half-hour by foot along a marked path to trek around these limestone coves but you will find it well worth it. You can also access various sites by boat or by car. A true marine paradise.

Discover Mediterranean Heritage

A “museum of society”, the Museum of Civilisations of Europe and the Mediterranean (MuCEM) is a national museum located in Marseille. Located on the site of Fort Saint-Jean, this museum really wanted to be a building of stone, water and wind, and the modernity of this building blends perfectly with the Mediterranean relief.

This museum is dedicated to the conservation, study, presentation and mediation of a heritage related to the European and Mediterranean area. A very interesting afternoon to spend here!

Eat Bouillabaisse

France’s oldest city has a great selection of food, from the iconic bouillabaisse (boo-ee-yah-bess), a traditional soup of local fish – there is much debate over what it consists – but typically we can count rockfish, red mullet, conger eel, red scorpion fish and spider crab, served with tons of croutons, aïoli sauce and rouille sauce; as well as moules marinières (moo-ee mah-ree-nee-ey), also known as sailor mussels, prepared with garlic, onion and herbes de provence which include thyme, oregano, rosemary. You will never go hungry in Marseille, this we can say!

Play a Game of Petanque

Pétanque, which attracts both young and old, is a game where metallic balls must be thrown as close as possible to a small wooden ball called a cochonnet. Pétanque is taken very seriously in the south, and in Marseille, the Mondial la Marseillaise à Pétanque is held every year in July in the grand park Parc Borély and several parks around it. Pétanque is all in the wrist so rotate them well before taking your shot!

Drink a (few) glasses of pastis, 2 maybe, 3

No Pétanque game (nor visit to the south of France) is complete without a glass of pastis, the French anise and licorice liqueur. The simplest concoction you can think of: simply pour a 1/2 inch of pastis into a glass, and add cold water to dilute it, we would suggest in about five parts water to one part pastis. The drink will turn from a clear amber colour to a tasty milky mix. Sip slowly in the Meditarranean sun to stay hydrated. A perfect way to end an afternoon.

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