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Marseille – Five Special Tourist Sites

By Thomas Sheridan

It's difficult to find the location of the cruise ship dock relative to tourist sites and public transit. The solution is to create maps and combine them with photos, public transit routes, and links to the best websites. Tom's website, www.TomsPortGuides.com is uniquely useful for self-guided touring from a cruise port. And it's FREE.


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There are dozens of great tourist sites around Marseille France. Here’s my short list of Five Special Sites.

Notre Dame de la Garde Basilica – “A Majestic, Beautiful Church”

This is the most popular tourist site in Marseille. It’s a “heavenly location,” perched high on a hill with commanding views over the city and Mediterranean. All the tours stop here, and it’s accessible by public bus #60. Be prepared to climb several flights of stairs from the parking lot to the church.

Le Panier Walking Tour – “Experience Old Town”

Le Panier is the “old town” area north of Vieux Port. The maze of narrow, winding streets restrict traffic on the one-car wide roads. This is a place to explore on foot. Walking gives you scenic views of the harbor and Mediterranean, access to museums, small squares, cafes, shops, restaurants, churches, and workshops of world-famous artisans producing hand made and painted clay figurines and tile.

Download the “Pedestrian Strolls” map from the Tourist Office Website:
http://www.marseille-tourisme.com/en/pratical-information/touristic-documents/

I’ve converted the “Pedestrian Strolls” map to an electronic map by adding GPS coordinates and street-level

photos for turn by turn directions. Using this information, you can preview the walk and see major attractions along the route. This will convince you to explore this area. It’s only a 30-minute walk round trip plus the time you spend at cafes, shops, museums, the Cathedral, and artisan workshops along the route.

For details, see my Marseille Port Guide at http://www.tomsportguides.com/Marseille-06-28-2013.pdf

Carrieres de Lumieres – “Art Like You’ve Never Seen It”

See http://www.carrieres-lumieres.com/fr/home

Unlike art museums that have a static display of paintings, this is a new and interesting way to view art. You enter a huge chamber used to quarry limestone inside a mountain. The only source of light is from projectors displaying French Impressionist paintings on the 30 to 50 foot high walls. The art slowly moves about the room while music plays in the background. It’s a sensory experience to help you see artwork differently.

Use these GPS coordinates to pinpoint the location on a map N 43° 44’ 55.13", E 4° 47’ 46.01"

It’s 850 meters from the popular hilltop village of Les Baux de Provence.

Aix-en-Provence – “Stroll Along a Tree-Lined Boulevard”

Aix-en-Provence is a 35-minute bus ride from the Marseille Saint Charles Train Station. Use bus line #50.

Buses depart Marseille every 5 minutes and drop you off at Gare Routiere, near the center of Aix-en-Provence. Take a leisurely stroll along Cours Mirabeau. It’s a tree-lined boulevard with fountains, shops, and cafes.

Popular tourist sites include St. Sauveur Cathedrale, Les Deux Garcons, and Musée Granet. Aix is also famous for the markets that specialize on different products such as food, flowers, clothing, etc.
Stop at the Tourist Office near the Gare Routiere bus stop to ask which markets are open and where they are set up.

Cassis – Relax at a “Fishing Village” near the Highest Sea Cliffs in Europe

Cassis was a fishing village. Now it’s a popular tourist site with shops, cafes, and boat tours to see the Calanques i. e., steep limestone cliffs beside inlets from the sea. Cassis is famous for its beautiful beach and scenic harbor. It’s next to the 394 meter high Cape Canaille, the highest sea cliffs in Europe.

Take a train from Marseille Saint Charles to Cassis. When you arrive, it’s a 3 km, 37-minute walk to the beach. I recommend a cab from the Cassis train station.

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