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Marseille is the second largest French city, located in the southern part of France. It is a major port city in the Mediterranean and one of the oldest cities on the European continent. It is a very ethnically diverse city and a wonderful place to explore. Beautiful sea, large cliffs, long beaches, historic old town, colorful markets and a great port are just a few things that Marseille has to offer.
Like all Mediterranean places, Marseille has sunny, dry and hot summers, while winters are warm enough so you can sit outside on the café terraces. Average summer temperatures are around 30 C, while winter temperatures are above zero. Spring months are very pleasant to visit Marseille when temperatures are nice and warm, with a cool breeze coming from the sea.
La Corniche is the road that goes by the sea and it offers splendid sea views. From the road you can easily reach Vieux Port or Marseille`s lively old harbor. There is an open fish market there where fishermen are selling their catch. The port offers some great views and the popular Canebiere Avenue is very close to the harbor. There are lots of cafés and bars near the port, as well as nice shops and stores where you can buy all kinds of things.
Basilique de Notre Dame de la Garde is Marseille`s most popular and biggest church that overlooks the entire city. In the past the fishermen were coming to this church to get their boats blessed before they went on to the sea. Even today you can still see many boats hanging near this church. The views from the church are breathtaking and you can easily lose track of time while sitting there. Besides walking to it, you can also reach this church by taking a tourist train that goes from the old harbor.
If you are a fan of museums, then visiting MuCEM or the Museum of European and Mediterranean Civilizations is a must. This museum has a fantastic architecture, and there is a very attractive castle there called Fort Saint-Jean which you can freely visit. Le Panier is the oldest historic part of town, where you will find the beautiful old monument called Vielle Charité along with many other exhibitions and museums.
Cours Julien is another popular area in Marseille, where you can see lots of fountains, statues, bookstores and kids playgrounds. There are also very popular markets there where you can buy many interesting things and find some great deals. Parc Borély is one very large park located just a couple of hundred meters from the sea. It offers great spots for having a picnic or admiring the natural beauty. If you want to enjoy by the sea, Marseille has a few nice beaches too. Most popular are Catalans, Corbieres, Pointe-Rouge and Prophetes. Along La Corniche there are several nice spots for swimming as well.
Another thing not to miss when in Marseille is to take a daily boat trip to the fortress island Le Chateau d’If. This place served as a prison in the past and was the setting for the popular novel The Count of Monte Cristo of Alexandre Dumas.