The nice and not so nice of Marseille, France

in Pinmapple4 months ago

Before I came to Marseille in France, most of the online reviews I read about the city didn't have much good to say about it. Although it's France's second largest city, it lacks Paris cosmopolitan, or Nice's glamour. So I really didn't have high expectations of it, not that it mattered, I was in town for a day only.

Our cruise bus dropped us outside the Cathedral, a stunning building. My plan was to come back to visit in the afternoon before I returned to the cruise ship. But as @grindle said recently "the best plan is not to have a plan", I never made it back here.

I wanted to go to the Grand Basilica first, the highest point in Marseille. It was a 3km 40 minute walk, and would make a nice walk around the city, passing by the Old Port first. The Old Port is a swanky marina with lots of shops, restaurants etc where people, probably mainly tourists hang out. It took us about 20 minutes to get there and I was quite tired by that time because of the heat. I checked my phone, it said there was a bus from here that only takes about 10 - 15 minutes. I found the bus stop and saw the bus pull up so we immediatley jumped on without thinking. As I tried to pay with my contactless credit card, the bus driver said something to me, which of course I didn't understand. He beckoned me to get on. I wasn't going to query why. Turns out Marseille wasn't that bad, you get free bus rides.

Now I will have to come back to the Old Port in the afternoon but that never happened either.

Grand Basilica

The bus ride took us up the hill (glad I didn't have to walk) turning into little steep side roads. It's always nice to see parts of where the locals live when you travel. We were dropped off at the car park just below the Basilica, she looks so majestic divine.


Being the tallest point in Marseille the 360 degree view was stunning. We were high enough to get a birdseye view of the spectacular surroundings, but low enough to see the buildings and streets of the city quite cleary.


A service was being held inside the Basilica (it was Sunday) and it would be another hour till visitors were allowed in. We decided to wait as it was still early and it was nice up here. And the hour wait was well worth it! As I, and all the other hundred of visitors filed in, all eyes were automatically drawn upwards to the golden nave. It wasn't as peaceful as the religious buildings normally are due to the sudden influx of people, but nevertheless still very impressive.



We decided to walk back down to town, we can manage that. It was a very nice walk and it reminded me of San Francisco. I love the grand terraces of European buildings, they look so strong and protective.

Then I walked by this car parked on the side of the road. It was so weird. The metal part looks like a part of an old bench and it hooked perfectly onto the back of the car. I can't work out if the driver backed on it by accident? The car has lots of scratches on it. Or if this is some sort of ingenious French design parking mechanism.

The reviews about Marseille wasn't too wrong (apart from the free bus thing which was nice). Once we got back to the city and wandered around, we didn't find much interesting to do, or maybe we didn't look hard enough or go to the right places. There was something about the vibe that didn't sit with me.

Someone must have had a great party last night

I wasn't even in the mood to explore this church and I'm usually up for it.

The saving grace for the day was a visit to Palais Longchamp, a place so nice that it deserves its own post.

After that visit, we caught a tram to Place de la Joliette to take the free shuttle bus back to our cruise. Place de la Joliette is in between the town and the cruise terminal that's why I never made it back to the Old Port or the Cathedral. The area used to be the old docks and is now regenerated into a busy shopping mall with rooftop views facing the sea.

One nice thing I heard about Marseille a long time ago is Savon de Marseille aka soap. There was a stall inside the shopping centre selling them. They were so colourful, and I couldn't resist not buying some to take home with me. Marseille smells nice everytime I wash my hands now, and that's a nice memory of the city to have.

You can checkout all my travel post on the Pinmapple here or click on Mr Pinmapple below

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Wow, Grand Basilica is magical! The interior design is very much colorful and the paintings inside the church are amazing.

It really is quite something when you enter and see the gold shining down onto you

Wow, what an amazing experience would that be.😊

That's a place I haven't been. I'm not religious, but that church is impressive. I've not really done southern France. I am trying to learn the language again via Duolingo. I didn't really get into it at school.

Have fun.

I'm not religious either but I do enjoy visiting churches to admire it's architecture.

How is the French going? I never had the motivation to learn a new language unless I know I'm going to be using it every day, plus pretty much every one else speaks English 🙃

I remember bits of French from all those years of lessons at school, but I never really used it. I did learn German when I lived there, but I decided I ought to make an effort at another language that I may use. We English speakers can be lazy in this regard.

It's a pity that Germany isn't used much otherwise you could have built on what you know already.

Having the rest of the world speak English certainly makes us lazy, and uncompetitive. Everyone else can speak at least two and many even three or four languages

I've spoken some German at some Hive events :) I'm just a bit rusty on that.

I am in favour of Hive being more multilingual. It doesn't have to all be in English and we have tools to do the translation anyway.

good on you, travel is the thing that broadens our minds

It is in deed

@livinguktaiwan I am also a person who follows Christianity, and my hometown is known for having the most beautiful churches in Vietnam. However, I am still impressed by your photos. The architecture of the royal palace and cathedral looks truly elegant, modern, and imposing. I really like your photos.

Thanks fire your comment.

I believe churches in Vietnam are heavily influenced byw the French as well hence the beauty, you are very lucky to have them on your doorstep.

I love religious tourism so thanks for showing it, on the other hand, what a great party last night with so much alcohol!🤣😂😅.


Yes, it must have been a good party!

France is marvelous, seen like you have enjoyed a lot their while walking or visiting these areas of this place. Very interesting church ⛪ ✨

Lot's nof walking around, less enjoying as you read from me post 🙃

It sounds like you had a similar experience in the city as I had. It has some nice parts, the cathedral being one of them, but all in all nothing too special. The vibe is off there a little. It's nothing like Paris, that's for sure.

Yeh, I read your post when I was checking out places to go in Marseille, kinda weird for the second largest city, guess size is irrelevant in France

I think it's trying to turn around and improve itself but that will take some time I think.

It's a good place too seeing it from the top.

It was a long walk you have that day and you visited a lot of places.

The view from the top was very nice luckily I didn't have to walk uphill

It's a very beautiful place. The atmosphere seems comfortable. Thanks for sharing ☺️

Thanks for dropping by

You're welcome ☺️

Some say it is the grandest church in France!

I depends in who you speak to, I'm sure everyone has their favourite

At least he got the bus ticket for free. I always believed that visiting Marseille was a Paradise, in any case, being there would be impressive for me, traveling to Marseille from Venezuela. It's great that you were checking, to tell about it thanks to Hive, which is a great ecosystem where we learn a lot, thanks to your travels. From Venezuela @livinguktaiwan I wish you much success in Marseille and that everything improves. Thank you for your constant visits to my publications.

It's quite a long way from Venezuela, so I'm glad I can share it o Hive with those who can't make it easily

Thank you, it will always be a pleasure to accept your visit. successes

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Hey!! I like your post of Marseille! Recently I uploaded also a post in the Notre Dame de la Garde church. I like Marseille, and I believe it’s a very particular city, I found it between the fancy French style, and some kind of dangerous city, that keeps this characteristic beyond the try of retake the city and make it safe. I also felt some strange vibe over there and I felt insecure in different parts of the city.

I know, I saw your post, and the previous one, dropped you a comment as well 😃. Seems like the feeling about Marseille on Hive is pretty consistent

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What a beautiful and splendid church. I am also a catholic, I am very happy to know this place. Thank you for sharing.🙂

I'm glad I hung around to go in, it was worth the wait

Wuao que maravilloso es eso las imágenes se ven muy hermosas sobre todo la basílica es hermosa, que genial

Thank you, I'm glad you enjoyed the virtual tour


I always love to see the beauty of the European's building construction and design. They are all so wonderful. Love the Golden Nave, the painting in the church is so stunning. Awesome!

Really wish to visit and travel to some countries in the Europe one day.

Great Post and thank you for sharing 😉

I hope you have a chance to come to Europe one day, it's an amazing region with rich history across the countries

Good to know all those aspects about Marseille. Of course I'd love to visit it one day as well, but perhaps have a shorter trip than what I'm usually after so I don't waste too many days seein everything over and over again. Of course I'll do some research before but from some of your shots seems like a pretty chill and empty place with not too many points of interest, nor tourists

On the day we visited, there were four cruise ships docked in Marseille, each has around 2-3 thousand guests, that's about 10k. Even if only half of them went into town, that's 5k tourists. So it's another thing to consider when visiting these cities by the shore, as it's makes a lot of difference to your experience. Also check out Pinmapple for your research, I normally find some interesting places 🙂

No doubt about that! Pinmapple will be my guide ❤️

France is beautiful

Wow - that basilica looks incredible. There clearly are some pretty nice things to see in Marseille !

I managed to find two at least, so despite its reputation, I'm sure nit has lots more to offer

I'd have gone just for that view! As for the soap, I kid you not, that looked just like the DIY shop display of block paving here. That's love pretty colours everywhere!
Hope you're both well :-)

Imagine if you lay that in a corner of your clinic, it would be quite an IG attraction!!

The kids would eat it lol

Beautiful visit !

Thank you for making me discover that town :D
I have visited the rest of the region, but never Marseille 😂 !

Coming from a French, that definitely confirms our feelings of Marseille 😂

Haha ! Marseille seems to be a country on its own 😂

It is kinda sad to see how cities in France are closer and closer to some third-world cities. Sadly things like these get you a bitter taste when you visit it. On the other hand you can still be awed by architecture, food and crumbs of culture still left.