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Marseille in August - any areas to avoid?

(48 Posts)
SarfE4sticated Fri 21-Jun-19 22:35:03

Hi there! Hope you can help - we are thinking about going to Marseille for a 'cheap-ish' holiday over the summer. Going via eurostar (BIL can get us a discount) and staying somewhere central. We love modern art and galleries etc, but DD would also love to be near the beach for swimming. Don't want anywhere seedy or too noisy (although I have earplugs), but don't want to spend ages on a bus to get into the center. Any suggestions for areas to stay in? We're happy to go AirBNB but just need some tips of bits to avoid. Merci!

SarfE4sticated Fri 21-Jun-19 22:35:44

Oh - also any exciting daytrips you can recommend? I reckon we manage 2.

babbi Fri 21-Jun-19 22:37:25

Any particular reason you have chosen Marseille?

The reason I ask is have have travelled extensively world wide and can honestly say it’s by far the worst place I’ve ever visited...
it was an absolute dump ...
sorry ... possibly not helpful .. but there are many nicer places you could go to ..,

Teddybear45 Fri 21-Jun-19 22:39:25

It’s awful in itself but Nice isn’t far away. You could go there everyday. Maybe rent a car if in budget as it will give you more flexibility.

babbi Fri 21-Jun-19 22:40:05

Though thinking of it I was in the city centre (business trip ) and close to the port maybe more rural could be nice ?
Hopefully someone who’s holidayed in the nearby countryside could be more of a help to you - sorry 😐
Enjoy yourself when you get there ...

babbi Fri 21-Jun-19 22:41:04

I’m heading to Nice and Cannes for work in Sept again ... it’s lovely there ...

Expressedways Fri 21-Jun-19 22:43:26

Honestly, I’d avoid all of it. If you haven’t booked a hotel yet I’d add on a TGV to Nice and go there instead.

AgileLass Fri 21-Jun-19 22:45:08

I loved Marseille!

Day trip to Cassis, get a boat from there out along the calanque for sunbathing and swimming.

From Marseille itself you can get a boat out to the Chateau d’If and Ratonneau (nice beaches on the latter)

Aix is lovely for a daytrip as well.

SarfE4sticated Fri 21-Jun-19 22:46:18

We went to Nice last year! I thought it was meant to be a city of culture and looks very nice in the pictures. I imagine it to be a bit like Naples.
Is it really that bad? <bottom lip trembles>

SarfE4sticated Fri 21-Jun-19 22:47:24

Thank you @AgileLass - you've cheered me up :D

AgileLass Fri 21-Jun-19 22:48:54

It’s nicer than Naples, IMO but a similarly gritty, earthy, vibrant city. It’s had a good deal of sprucing up in recent years.

Great food as well. Area around the train station is a bit dodgy, I’d steer clear of there.

Camelos Fri 21-Jun-19 22:58:59

Just back from a few days in Marseille and had a lovely time. I stayed on avenue Pasteur which is short walk from harbour area but easy to get buses or walk to the beaches. Also got bus to the calanques which was beautiful. However getting eurostar back meant a change in Paris. First train delayed which meant we missed our connection back to U.K - last train of the day. We couldn't get a hotel in Paris so had a terrifying night in and around Gare du Norde station witnessing muggings, prostitution and gang fights whilst trying not to become a crime statistic also - the area is truely lawless - unlike anything I've experienced in UK and I've loved in some fairly 'vibrant' locations. Don't get the last train back would be my only advice but highly reccomend Marseille.

Cruddles Fri 21-Jun-19 23:01:09

Get off the train in Lyon and stay there?

SarfE4sticated Fri 21-Jun-19 23:07:27

Thank you @Camelos. That must have been really scary. I'll have a look into train times and changes tomorrow.

I realise that a city break isn't everyone's idea of a summer holiday, but we're a bit odd like that - thanks for your help everyone :D

buttermilkwaffles Sat 22-Jun-19 11:22:21

It's not my favourite French city, by a long way but I wouldn't call it a dump. Has some beautiful buildings and the area immediately to the East of Cathédrale La Major is nice with all the narrow streets (forgotten what that area is called) if a little touristy.
Boat trips to the Calanques or you can get a bus and hike on some attractive coastal paths. Palais Longchamp. Basilica.

Cassis and Aix for day trips.

That said, I would pick Lyon over Marseille, or if you want somewhere further south than Lyon, Nimes and Montpellier are both great and easy to reach by train.

Will be very hot in August though, too hot for me and Marseille has lots of hills!

Thursday452poh Sat 22-Jun-19 11:28:03

It’s not a dump, but like many french cities in the height of summer it smells strongly of wee. Very strongly!!
We went for a day trip from near Avignon....
In August the weather can be hit and miss towards the end of the month and can be very rainy... beginning of August is fine.
Look for somewhere with a pool as when it’s hot, it’s hot. Temp is about 38/39 this week out there!!!

SarfE4sticated Sat 22-Jun-19 12:05:44

Annoyingly we’re busy in July and back to school early September. Have two weeks in October/November by which time it might be a bit chilly. Maybe Bilbao 🤔

PouncerDarling Sat 22-Jun-19 12:08:14

Stay in the old port area, which is lovely. And get the train out to Cassis, which is absolutely gorgeous.

PouncerDarling Sat 22-Jun-19 12:09:12

You can also go up to the Marseille Notre Dame from the old port

SuckingDieselFella Sat 22-Jun-19 12:16:31

Get off the train in Lyon. It's a beautiful city, old Lyon is a lovely place to wander around, there are world-class food markets at the weekend, it's the food capital of France, you can go on a river cruise or just wander along by the riverside and stop for a coffee... Why would you want to go to Marseille?

Runkle Sat 22-Jun-19 12:23:02

I had a French partner from Avignon who said avoid Marsielles at all costs. Try Avignon or Lyon.

ImpossibleNovelty Sat 22-Jun-19 12:23:02

Marseille is the most threatening feeling place I’ve ever been (more than Naples, more than South Africa for example). Went with two burly men and even they felt concerned. I honestly found nothing redeeming there. Sorry OP but I would really think again.

strongandlong Sat 22-Jun-19 13:05:09

We spent a couple of days in Marseille last August. It was lovely! We stayed right by the marina (old port) and didn't stray that far from there, so can't help with areas. Just wanted to counterbalance some of the gloom here!

SarfE4sticated Sat 22-Jun-19 18:36:20

We tend to like to go to big cities for our hols, as neither of us are really sun worshippers. We like modern art and museums, and DD loves to swim in the sea. Marseille seemed like a good choice and we have friends who have been there and raved about it. Nice was great as lots of nice parks and galleries and a nice beach at the end of the road. I assumed Marseille would be similar but a bit rougher because of the port.
I'll have a little look to see if there is anywhere a bit quieter to stay nearby. We like Bilbao and Valencia and of course Rome and Barcelona, but it needs to be somewhere we can stay relatively reasonably and get to by a cheap airline.

DonkeyHohtay Sat 22-Jun-19 20:45:31

So pleased to see people recommending Cassis - we are off there next week! Flying into Marseille and leaving from there too, weren't planning on going into the city and judging from responses that's a good idea.

There's also a large water park just hte other side of Cassis at St Cyr Sur Mer which we're planning on taking the kids to.

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