Great food and cheap tickets: This port city in France is often underestimated

By TravelWiseFeb 27, 2024 21:59 PMNews
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Great food and cheap tickets: This port city in France is often underestimated
Tourists often bypass the beautiful city of Marseille. Source: Freepik

Most Brits travelling to France want to visit Paris or Nice when planning their vacation. However, one port city in France is often overlooked despite its great food and cheap airfare

The coastal city of Marseille should be on your list for 2024 as it is already popular with Parisians planning a weekend getaway. As the second city in France, this port city was once a huge shopping centre, according to TheScottishSun.

It was also once easy to get by train thanks to the direct UK-Marseille Eurostar service. However, it has been cancelled and Brits now have to change trains in Paris or Lille. Luckily, you can still get there with direct flights, which take about two hours with Ryanair and cost just £18 one way.

Most tourists in Marseille head to the Notre Dame de la Garde Basilica, which offers some of the best sunset views at the highest point in the city. In addition, there are many rooftop bars that also offer amazing views, such as Rooftop Hotel Hermes, Tuba and R2.

Great food and cheap tickets: This port city in France is often underestimated
Visitors can enjoy the magnificent architecture of Marseille. Source: Freepik

And since it's a port city, there are also several beaches to choose from, such as the most popular Prophet's Beach or Plage des Catalans. You can also take the ferry to the island of Ile Riou, where there are several beaches and trails for birdwatching.

Be sure to check out the Chateau d'If, a 16th-century castle and former prison on the island that was the setting for the book The Count of Monte Cristo.

The late travel writer Anthony Bourdain also admired Marseille. Back in 2015, he said, "If you've been to France, you've probably not been here, the second largest and the oldest city in France. It is located right on the Mediterranean coast. The food here is very tasty. But it is a victim of a bad reputation, a bad history. Marseille, as it turned out, is exactly the kind of place I like."

The only dish worth trying in Marseille is bouillabaisse, which comes from this city. The famous fish soup can be found in most traditional restaurants, or you can try it at Le Petit Niche, the only three-star Michelin restaurant in the city.

Great food and cheap tickets: This port city in France is often underestimated
Picturesque views of Marseille. Source: Freepik

It is also claimed that in 1962, the world's first pizza truck appeared in Marseille, so it is easy to find a slice of pizza here. Trendy Quartier des Createurs neighbourhood, where you can find vintage shops and handmade products, or the Cours Julien street, where you can find graffiti-covered walls and coffee shops, also worth a visit.

If you want to stay, you can find budget hotels like the Ibis Budget or Holiday Inn from £60 per night, or trendy boutiques like the Mama Shelter from £80 per night. Or you can stay at the Sofitel overlooking the harbour or the five-star Le Petit Nice.

Travel writer Qin Xie previously visited Marseille and said, "It's rough and ready: a working port and a bustling metropolis with all the charms of the Mediterranean. You'll be surprised to know that you can find anything here."

What you need to know about visiting Marseille

  • There are direct flights to Marseille from London and Edinburgh.
  • The cheapest Ryanair tickets start from £18 and last two hours.
  • You can travel by Eurostar train with a change in Paris or Lille.
  • Brits must have a passport with at least three months left in it.
  • Visas are not required for stays of up to 90 days within a 180-day period, but you must make sure your passport is stamped for entry and exit.
  • You may also need to confirm the availability of accommodation and funds, approximately 120 euros per day.
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