Marseille

The atmospheric Vieux Port
The unmistakable Notre-Dame de la Garde
The views from Palais du Pharo

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Marseille

Multicultural fragrances and flavours

Are you ready to find your way around Marseille on an MSC Mediterranean cruise?
When cruising southern France, you have to know that Marseille is the most renowned and populated metropolitan area in the country after Paris and Lyon. When you alight from your MSC cruise ship, the cafés around the Vieux Port, where glistening fish are sold straight off the boats on quai des Belges, are wonderful spots to observe the city’s street life.

Particularly good in the afternoon is the north (Le Panier) side, where the terraces are sunnier and the views better. The best view of the Vieux Port is from the Palais du Pharo, on the headland beyond Fort St-Nicolas, or, for a wider angle, from Notre-Dame-de-la-Garde, the city’s Second Empire landmark atop the La Garde hill. To the north of the Vieux Port is the oldest part of Marseille, Le Panier, where, up until the last war, tiny streets, steep steps Mediterranean introduction and houses of every era formed a vieille ville typical of the Côte.

You can enjoy many MSC cruise excursions from the Vieux Port. Were it not for the great metropolis of Marseille, just 30 km south, Aix-en-Provence would be the dominant city of central Provence. Aix is more immediately attractive, a stately and in parts pretty place that’s traditionally seen as conservative.

Capital of the Catholic Church during the early Middle Ages and for centuries a major artistic centre, Avignon remains another unmissable excursion. Low medieval walls still encircle Avignon’s old centre, as it nestles up against a ninety-degree bend in the Rhône river. Their gates and towers restored, the ramparts dramatically mark the historic core off from the formless sprawl of the modern city beyond.

Must see places in Marseille

Discover our excursions

4 results found

  • AIX-EN-PROVENCE

    CITY TOUR

    MRS02

    We will leave Marseille port for a 40-minute drive to the lovely town of Aix-en-Provence. The excursion starts with a visit to the famous XII century St. Saviour’s Cathedral and gardens. The Cathedral was built on the site of a Roman Temple and dates from a period that spans the XI and XIII centuries. Fronted by a richly decorated Gothic-style portal with elaborately carved doors, the Cathedral is flanked on the north by an unfinished tower. Enjoy a pleasant walk (1,5 hours) through the historic town centre before reaching the famous Mazarino Quarter, a residential district created by Cardinal Mazarin’s brother in the last half of the XVII century for the gentry of Aix en Provence. Free time for shopping. Please note: this tour includes long periods of walking on uneven ground and is not suitable for guests with walking difficulties. Conservative attire recommended for visiting sites of religious importance. Conservative attire recommended for visiting places of religious importance.
    • Best seller

    • May involve inclines, steps, uneven surfaces and/or extended periods of standing

      Difficulty Level
      Moderate

    • Duration
      4 h

    • Adults£45.00Price per person

    • Children£35.00Price per person

  • CHARMING ARLES

    CITY TOUR

    MRS19

    Board a comfortable modern coach for an enjoyable 1.5-hour drive to the historical city of Arles located in the Camargue region in the south of France. The city was once the main Roman colony of ancient Gallia Narbonensis. UNESCO listed the city’s Roman and Romanesque monuments as World Heritage Sites in 1981. The Dutch post-impressionist painter, Vincent van Gogh, lived in Arles for a year between 1888 and 1889, during which time he produced more than 300 paintings and drawings. Your panoramic walking tour includes the main sights such as the Church of St. Trophime, which once held cathedral status, the “Place du Forum” that inspired van Gogh’s famous painting and the Roman amphitheatre, whose 120 arches date back to the 1st century. The amphitheatre was capable of seating more than 20,000 spectators and was built for providing entertainment for the masses in the form of chariot races and gladiators engaged in bloody hand-to-hand combat. You will have time to explore on your own before returning to the ship. Please note: as the tour involves walking on uneven and rough ground, it is not suitable guests with mobility problems or using a wheelchair. Comfortable shoes and a hat (in summer months) recommended as well as conservative attire for visiting places of religious importance.
      • May involve inclines, steps, uneven surfaces and/or extended periods of standing

        Difficulty Level
        Moderate

      • Duration
        5 h

      • Adults£42.00Price per person

      • Children£32.00Price per person

    • MARSEILLES CITY TOUR

      CITY TOUR

      MRS06

      Join us on a visit around this important maritime town. We will begin at the Basilica of Notre Dame de la Garde which stands majestically on top of a hill. The Cathedral is made up of a lower and an upper church and was built on the site of an ancient chapel. Continue along the “Corniche” (coast road) where we will admire Borely Castle and garden (no inside visit). The excursion includes sightseeing in the centre of Marseilles and photos at Longchamps Palace before enjoying some free time in the “Vieux Port” (old port). Please note: this tour is not suitable for guests with mobility problems or using a wheelchair due to many steps and uphill path around the Basilica. Conservative attire recommended for visiting sites of religious importance.
        • May involve inclines, steps, uneven surfaces and/or extended periods of standing

          Difficulty Level
          Moderate

        • Duration
          4:30 h

        • Adults£45.00Price per person

        • Children£35.00Price per person

      • AVIGNON AND MARSEILLES

        CULTURE AND HISTORY

        MRS07

        Our starting point for this day-long tour begins in Marseilles, at the Basilica of Notre Dame de la Garde. This Neo-Byzantine church stands on top of a hill and was designed by the French architect Esperandiu between 1853 and 1864. The site was formerly a XIII century chapel dedicated to Our Lady of the Guard and features several votive offerings from safely returned sailors. Stop for an inside visit before continuing on a 1.5-hour coach ride to the medieval city of Avignon. Here we will visit the Palace of the Popes, an ancient fortress rich in galleries and chapels. The frescoes and hand-painted tapestries in the Popes’ bedrooms and private rooms bear witness to the former opulence of this residence. Make the most of your free time to stroll around and have lunch (non-inclusive) in one of the typical French brasserie-restaurants. Return to Marseilles for embarkation.Please note: walking on uneven ground and steps. This tour is not suitable for guests with mobility problems or using a wheelchair due to many steps and uphill path around the Basilica in Marseilles. Conservative attire recommended for visiting sites of religious importance.
          • May involve inclines, steps, uneven surfaces and/or extended periods of standing

            Difficulty Level
            Moderate

          • Duration
            7 h

          • Adults£69.00Price per person

          • Children£49.00Price per person

        The excursions in the programme above are intended to provide MSC Cruises guests with an idea of the different tours which can be arranged in each port of call; this programme is merely a guide and confirmation of each excursion and its description and prices will be made during your cruise. 
        Shore excursions programmes and itineraries may vary depending on local conditions and/or any unforeseen events in relation to the timing on the day of the tour.
         
        Some excursions are very popular and therefore availability cannot always be guaranteed, it is advisable to book in advance to avoid disappointment. The guides are guaranteed in English. Only for South America cruises, the guides are guaranteed in Brazilian Portuguese. Narration in other languages depends on the availability of guides. Please note that the final language of the tour will be confirmed on board during the cruise.

        Reach the port

        Port of Marseille

        This section contains information on how to reach the port.

        Cruise Terminal:

        Embarkation stands at MPCT,
        Môle Léon Gourret (Gate 4)

        Reach the port by

        • Car

          From highway A7, reach the A55 (« Autoroute du Littoral »): take gate 4 and follow the signs towards cruise terminal.
          Car
        • Train

          Arriving at Marseille Saint-Charles train station, you can take a taxi to the cruise terminal (15-20 minutes). 
          We suggest you not to take a bus as they stop far from the cruise terminal.
          Train
        • Plane

          Marseille Provence airport is located around 20 km far from the port.
          You may reach the cruise terminal by taxi.
          Plane

        France

        A discrete and slightly snobbish charm
        A discrete and slightly snobbish charm

        A holiday to southern France will take you to heaven. This Garden of Eden encompasses the snow-peaked lower Alps and their foothills, which in the east descend right to the sea, and to the west extend almost to the Rhône.


        The coastal hinterland is made up of range after range of steep, forested hills, while the shore is an ever-changing series of geometric bays giving way to chaotic outcrops of glimmering rock and deep, narrow inlets, like miniature fjords – the calanques. All these elements would count for nothing, however, were it not for the magical Mediterranean light. At its best in spring and autumn, it is both soft and brightly theatrical, as if some expert had rigged the lighting for each landscape for maximum colour and definition with minimum glare. A cruise to southern France is a good opportunity to visit the capital of the Riviera, Nice – a vibrant and intriguing blend of Italianate influence, faded Belle Époque splendour and first-class art.

        East of the city, the lower Corniche links the picturesque seafront towns of Villefranche, St-Jean-Cap-Ferrat and Beaulieu; the higher roads offer some of the most spectacular coastal driving in Europe, en route to the perched village of Èze and the tiny principality of Monaco. The Riviera’s western half claims its best beaches – at jazzy Juan-les-Pins and at Cannes, a glitzy centre of designer shopping and film.