Marseille, France is a bustling metropolis of over a million inhabitants. Not only is it France’s second largest city now, having passed Lyon in the mid-1990’s for second place, but it is also the country’s busiest port of entry. It is considered the New Orleans of France and is alive with activity, culture, and entertainment. Alexandre Dumas referred to the city as “the meeting place of the entire world.”
This ancient city founded by the Greeks was once witness to numerous wars and destruction, but is now a crossroads of global traffic filled with unique sights, smells, and sounds. Despite the appearance of slum areas that have arisen due to rapid population growth, Marseille is still a charming city that is filled with elegance. Especially colorful is the Vieux Port (Old Harbor) which helps to compensate for the dreary industrial docks located nearby.
If you are planning a family vacation, you will not be disappointed with what you find to entertain you in and around this historical city. Once symbolized by danger and intrigue, Marseille is experiencing a renaissance of sorts and is now one of the more popular tourist destinations in Western Europe. Additionally, it is easily accessible by virtue of the improved rail service originating in Paris. Here is a list of recommended family things to do in Marseille.
Calanques Marseille-Cassis – tours of the Bay of Marseille.
This is a non-stop 2-hour tour of the harbor that departs from the Vieux Port, travels past a dozen small islands, and explores caves filled with prehistoric engravings and paintings. Your children will be fascinated with the stories your tour guide unfolds about dinosaurs roaming the area in the Cretaceous Period.
A colorful combination of festivals, processions, and street fairs that will thrill the entire family. You and your family will enjoy the music as well as the shows performed at the Vieux Port, and the street theater.
Dance, music, and sports classes abound here coupled with a wide array of workshops and a library centered on games. The different classes and workshops involve the whole family so no one gets bored standing and watching the activities that are being conducted.
If museums and cultural destinations are what you are looking for, these are sure to please any traveler and their families:
Musée de la Marine et de l’ Ecomomie
This museum contains items that dating back to 16th century France. All of the displays and objects relate to the economic history of Marseille. Models and paintings are included with some of the artifacts.
Musée des Arts et Traditions Populaires du Terroir Marseillais
The Museum of Marseille is open to the public since the early 1920’s. It is one of the most popular tourist destinations when it comes to seeing what life was really like in the city during the 17th through the 19th centuries.
Musee d’Art Contemporian
Marseille’s Art Museum contains contemporary exhibits. Some of the artifacts are permanently on display while others are temporary and travel the museum circuit.