Gay Guide • MARSEILLE | What to See, Where to Stay, Best Gay Bars and Restaurants | LGBT Guide
Discover this City with our Quick and Practical Guide to Visit the Best Attractions, Savor Typical Dishes and Have Fun in the Best Gay Bars. All this through the Rainbow Eyes of the World Mappers
What to See, Best Places to Sleep, Where to Eat and to Have Fun in MARSEILLE ?
Find it out with the World Mappers !
WHAT TO SEE in MARSEILLE?
10 THINGS TO SEE in MARSEILLE
Approaching the Old Port or Vieux Port, one of the oldest and most important ports in the Mediterranean, is one of the top things to do in Marseille. Today it is one of the main tourist attractions of the city thanks to the presence of old shops, the Santa María lighthouse and the beautiful town hall (Mairie de Marseille). Go there in the early morning when the fishermen return from a night of fishing off the coast and sell their fresh fish. The port is also the perfect place for a glass of pastis, the local aniseed drink, while watching a beautiful sunset or to try Bouillabaisse (fish soup), the city's most famous dish.
Le Panier District
The oldest part of the city, a former neighborhood of fishermen and immigrants, is another of the most beautiful places to see in Marseille. Walking through the alleys and small squares, you will fall in love with the Provençal-style buildings with colorful facades, clothes hanging on the balconies, street art works and numerous cafés and alternative clubs. Exploration of the neighborhood can begin by climbing the medieval ramp des Accoules to discover places such as the Place de Lenche, the Place des Treize Cantons which houses the famous Panier chocolate shop, the museums of the imposing Vieille Charité, the Place des Moulins or La Grande Savonnerie, one of few places to buy authentic Marseille soap.
Basilica of Notre Dame de la Garde
The Basilica of Our Lady of the Guard, popularly known as "the Good Mother", is located on a hill 150 meters above sea level and is another of Marseille's must-sees. Built starting from 1853, it stands out for its neo-Byzantine style. From here you will have the best views of Marseille with the Mediterranean in the background (Don't miss the sunset show from up here).
La Major Cathedral
A unique church of its kind in France, facing the sea, it stands out for the white and green limestone of its facade, as well as for a beautiful interior decoration.
Fort Saint Jean & MuCEM
Fort Saint Jean, located at the entrance to the Old Port and with an important history behind it, is another of the places to see in Marseille. This fort surrounded by a moat was built between 1668 and 1671 by order of Louis XIV. Today it is connected by a metal footbridge to the MuCEM, the Museum of European and Mediterranean Civilisations, which is well worth a visit. Another of the fortresses to visit in Marseille is Fort Saint-Nicolas, located in the Old Port.
Boulevard & Palais Longchamp
Don't miss a walk along Boulevard Longchamp with its luxurious 19th century buildings, until you reach the imposing Palais Longchamp and its beautiful park. Two of the city's most important museums are located here: the Museum of Fine Arts and the Museum of Natural History, both included in the ticket if you buy the Marseille City Pass.
Opposite the Old Port opens the Rive Neuve, New Bank, of Marseille. For many centuries a place of swamps and marshes, this area remained uninhabited until 1400 when it was decided to build the old arsenals, later enlarged by Louis XIV. Today the Rive Neuve is a lively and animated place, where you can meet among the tables of the numerous bars and restaurants.
A beautiful walk of about 4 kilometers from the Catalanes beach leads to the Prado beach. From the seafront you can enjoy magnificent views of the Frioul islands and the Castle of If. Along the walk you will also come across Villa Valmer, the Chateau Berger, the huge Riva della Corniche and the small port of the Vallon des Auffes.
The Abbey of Saint Victor, founded in the 5th century, is one of the oldest buildings in Marseille and one of the most important religious centers in the south of France. Resembling a castle with a wall and various towers, it is famous for the important relics preserved here. Near the Abbey, don't miss the Four des Navettes bakery, the oldest in the city and specialized in Navettes, the typical Marseille biscuits with the characteristic shape of a ship.
Château d'If & Frioul Islands
Take a boat trip from the Old Port and get up close to the Château de If, a 16th-century fortress on a small island in the bay of Marseilles, which inspired Alexander Dumas for the prison where Edmond Dantès spent several years, in "The Count of Monte Cristo ".
Visiting this city at its best depends essentially on how long you have to fully enjoy it. Here is a solution based on the number of days available to you:
Day 1 - Complete Marseille - Google Maps
Extra - Château d'If & Alternative Marseille - Google Maps
Extra - Calanques National Park (By Boat or Car or Bicycle)
(By opening the Maps with Google, you can easily follow our path)
10 BEST EXCURSIONS from MARSEILLE
Luberon (Ménerbes, Gordes, Roussillon, Sénanque Abbey)
Arles & Camargue
Nîmes & Pont du Gard
Aix-en-Provence & Salon de Provence
Calanques National Park & Cassis
Avignon & Chateauneuf-du-Pape
Valensole & Lavender Fields
Gorges du Verdon
Cannes, Nice & Monaco
Click'n'Go - Click on Hotels, Restaurants, Bars & Clubs
to find them on the Map or visit their Website
WHERE TO SLEEP in MARSEILLE?
10 BEST GAY FRIENDLY HOTELS in MARSEILLE
Hôtel La Residence Du Vieux Port **** ® Tested by World Mappers
Map'Hotel • HOTEL LA RESIDENCE DU VIEUX PORT
You cannot have a better location than that of the Hotel La Residence du Vieux Port, in the beating heart of Marseille, directly overlooking the Vieux Port. A refined and design hotel, from whose rooms it is possible to admire the sunset over the beautiful Basilica of Notre Dame de la Garde. No doubt our Marseille adventure would not have been the same if we hadn't stayed here for the night. The staff is really professional, welcoming and LGBT Friendly and the abundant breakfast served on the balcony overlooking the port is certainly a detail that makes everything even more special. At the reception you will also find maps and information brochures on the city of Marseille.
For more information, click here: https://www.hotel-residence-marseille.com/en/
WHERE TO EAT in MARSEILLE?
10 BEST RESTAURANTS in MARSEILLE Quality / Price
€€€ - Chez Madie les Galinettes (Typical French) ® Tested by World Mappers
€€€ - Une Table au Sud (Michelin Restaurant)
€€ - Chez Étienne (Typical Restaurant) ® Tested by World Mappers
€€ - Boite à Sardine (Fish Restaurant)
€€ - Le Miramar (Delicious Bouillabaisse!)
€€ - Bobolivo Restaurant (Typicla French Atmosphere) ® Tested by World Mappers
€€ - La Crêpe au Carré (Speciality: Crêpes)
€€ - Marché Noir (Bistrot)
€ - Le Viaghji di Fonfon (Great Tapas, fantastic at Sunset!) ® Tested by World Mappers
GAY NIGHTLIFE in MARSEILLE
5 BEST GAY PLACES, BARS & CLUBS in MARSEILLE
L'Annexe Bar made in Marseille (Gay Bar)
The New Cancan (Gay Club) ® Tested by World Mappers
L'Endroit (Gay Bar) ® Tested by World Mappers
The Trash Bar (Gay Bar)
Bar Polikarpov (Gay Friendly Bar)
TRAVEL TIPS about MARSEILLE by World Mappers
To best visit Marseille, the Marseille City Card (or the option with the addition of the Pass for Public Transport) is essential, which will allow you to have discounts and free admission to the main attractions of the city. It is available for 24h, 48h or 72h. Here is what the Marseille City Pass includes (more info on this link) - to be collected at the Marseille Tourist Office:
- Unlimited public transport and the "Velo"
- Access to museums and monuments in Marseille, including the Mucem
- 1 Tour in a tourist train
- Boat to Isle If or Frioul Islands - OR - 1 Colorbüs tour (hop on hop off tour)
- Visit of the Castle of If
- 1 guided tour of your choice from the Marseille Tourist Office
- Discounts on many tourist and cultural activities and in partner shops
- Aubagne: birthplace of Marcel Pagnol and discount on tourist office activities
- Allauch: the mill of Allauch (Ricard)
- La Ciotat: Museum and Cultural Heritage and discounts on boat trips (Les Amis des Calanques), on visits to the Bastide Marin (garden and educational farm) and in partner shops
- Marignane: Raimu Museum and discount at the Tourist Office boutique
- Saint Victoret: Aviation Museum and Craft Museum
A few kilometers from Marseille, you cannot miss Martigues, a small village overlooking the banks of the Etang de Berre, with canals and colorful houses known as the Provençal Venice
Do you want to witness a breathless sunset over Marseille? The Chalet du Pharo restaurant is the one for you, a panoramic chalet hidden in the Jardin du Pharo. From here the view is undoubtedly magnificent! P.S. Remember to book on their site - click here
The BEST CALANQUES to SEE in MARSEILLE and HOW TO GET THERE
Undoubtedly one of the excursions not to be missed is the one in the Calanques National Park, which extends for 20 km from Marseille to La Ciotat. The best time to visit Les Calanques is in spring or autumn, in fact in summer it is really hot unless you start the trek very early. It is possible to get there by boat or through a trek on foot, keep in mind that it will take you about half a day. We opted for a nice boat tour on a catamaran, with the Brunch option on board and departure from the Port of Marseille thanks to the Levantin company, click here for more information. In order not to miss the best Calanques, it is necessary to follow the "blue" path, from which you will have a panoramic view of the Calanques. But which are the best Calanques not to be missed? Here are our favourites:
Calanque de Port-Miou
Very close to Cassis, in fact here you can park and walk for about 10 minutes. You can also decide to rent a kayak to be able to reach the next Calanque d'En Vau from the sea. Be careful because this Calanque is always very crowded.
Calanque de Port-Pin
This Calanque owes its name to the many pine trees that surround this little place. If you decide to reach it on foot from Port-Miou (about 2 km) it will take you about 40 minutes. For us it is one of the most beautiful Calanques and not to be missed.
Calanque d’En Vau
This is the most spectacular Calanque, thanks to its high cliffs and turquoise waters. Here you will also find a pebble beach which is very popular with locals. It is a real paradise for kayak lovers. Beware of wild boars who like to swim and sunbathe in this Calanque. It will take you about an hour to reach it from the Calanque de Port-Pin, but another 40 minutes to get down to the beach, as the route is steep.
Calanque de Sugiton
A little further, towards Marseilles, you will also find another magnificent Calanque, made up of two coves, each with a pebble beach.
Unusual and Particular Places to See in Marseille
Outside the classic places to visit of the city, there is a "Secret Marseille" that has simply bewitched us. Here are the 10 Things and Places to See in Secret Marseille (and Surroundings):
Cours Julien - The Cours Julien neighborhood is considered the alternative part of Marseille due to the presence of many Street Art works.
Rooftop Bar La Friche - A small fishing village east of Marseille. Known by locals as Bout du Monde, the edge of the world. Sea, colored houses and white rock are the characteristics of this place.
Les Goudes - A small fishing village east of Marseille. Known by locals as Bout du Monde, the edge of the world. Sea, colored houses and white rock are the characteristics of this place.
Aygalades Waterfalls - A corner of paradise, not far from Marseille. Ideal for a walk in nature and to cool off at the waterfalls.
Vallos des Auffes - A small marina hidden between two cliffs, not far from the Old Port of Marseille.
In Marseille, a visit to Cristal Limiñana, one of the last pastis factories in the city, is not to be missed to discover the production of the most famous drink in the south of France.
Don't miss a super instagrammable place in Marseille: it's located on the external pier in the most modern part of the MuCEM (after the bridge you see in the photo on the left), it's a corner of the structure that creates a fantastic optical effect. The result? Well, here it is:
Do you want to spend an alternative evening in Marseille? Don't miss The Carry Nation, a cocktail bar that harkens back to the 1920s and Prohibition era. Immerse yourself in the clandestine atmosphere of the time, with soft lighting and themed evenings.
Taste the traditional orange blossom scented Navettes (we fell in love with them), the typical sweets of Marseille from the historic Four Des Navettes bakery.
The oldest soap factory in Marseille "Fer à Cheval", dating back to 1856, is one of the last soap factories to pass on the tradition of the city. Unlike the products of the giants of the sector, the original Marseille soap requires special attention guaranteed by the master soap makers who take care of the soap paste. But we fell madly in love with Le Bazar de César Soap Shop, in the heart of the Panier district. A pretty little shop with attention to every detail where we stocked up on a lot of soap.
GAY FRIENDLY TOURS
Do you want to discover the city more deeply through Marseille's Best Gay Tours? We recommend the following local operators:
Gaily Tour - Tour Operator offering tours and excursions dedicated to the LGBT + community throughout Europe. Special Tours and Gay & Lesbian Friendly Guides ready to make you discover the beauties of this destination. Info & Booking: info@GailyTour.com
Marseille • Gay Tour & Cours Julien's Secrets
Be ready to take part to an extraordinary Gay and Lesbian walking tour of Marseille. From the Old Port where everything began 600 years B.C, Marseille reveals all its beauty. Walk along the Panier quarter, settled on a hill of the center of Marseille, whose narrow interlaces streets lead to pleasant squares. Then discover the historical center of Marseille. The tour will take you to the famous Canebiere and through the Cours Julien, the district of artist with gay places. Take a view of the many restaurants and bars of this picturesque district. Afterwards continue by public bus to the spectacular Cathedral of Notre Dame de la Garde, admire the golden ceiling mosaics of the basilica and enjoy a 360° sight on the city and its islands. Before the end of your tour, enjoy the splendid view of this French city. Included: * Gay or Lesbian Friendly Tour Guide for City Tour (3 hours) * Public Transportation Ticket
Marseille by Night • Gay Tour
Enjoy an enlightened Marseille and an amazing walking tour through Marseille's gay & lesbian bars and clubs to live on your skin the magic atmosphere and LGBT scene of the city. Enjoy your included drink (also alcohol free drink available) and own the night ! Included: * Gay or Lesbian Tour Guide for Night Tour (2 hours) * Drink in Gay Bar (1 Drink)
What to see near Marseille ?