Paris – Gare de Lyon station has stood in Paris for more than 100 years, serving countryside destinations in France. It is also here where you can catch the high speed TGV trains to Marseille and various other parts of France. For a weekend trip to Marseille you can simply buy a return ticket, or if you have more time you can also purchase an Interrail one country pass.
The Interrail Pass
The Interrail France Pass costs €159 and it even includes the Eurostar trains between Paris and London. The journey from Paris to Marseille takes a little over three hours. It is mostly through flat areas, so I wouldn’t call it scenic but it is most definitely fast!
If you are hungry while on-board, you can visit the restaurant or just bring your own food for the trip. Unfortunately most French trains require a reservation at an extra fee, so even if you have an Interrail pass you will still need to make an extra booking. This is also true for the TGV to Marseille.
Arriving in Marseille
Once you have arrived in Marseille, head over to the port and the old town. Marseille is the oldest city in France and so it is full of history. You will find remains from the Greek and Roman times at the local history museum while the centuries old churches are testament to its Christian past. Fishing continues to be an important part of life here. Fresh produce caught at night is sold at the local fish market every day.
I had dreamt about visiting Marseille for many years before my first visit. I read a lot about Boulvard de Prado and the port and always wanted to find out what they were like in real life. Unfortunately it was very rainy during my visit and the council was carrying out lots of road works so I was struggling to take any good shots. Parts of Marseille are very hilly and one of the top tourist attractions is also on top of a hill.
The Notre Dame de la Garde in Marseille
The Notre Dame de la Garde is on top of Marseille’s highest point, overlooking the sea and the mainland. This Catholic Church has stood here for centuries, with a golden statue of a saint crowning the structure. From here you will have an amazing vantage point over the city, providing ample opportunities to take panoramic photographs. If you don’t fancy walking up, you can take a taxi, drive or ride a bus to the top.
Inside, the church is covered in gold leaf and hundreds of paintings of saints and kings from centuries past. I particularly liked the golden domes as the light reflected off the shining precious metal. On my way down from the church I decided to walk toward the old port and take in the scenery.
On a clear day I imagine you can see quite far but unfortunately when I was there it was very cloudy and hazy. My room for the night was at an Airbnb on the high street. My visit coincided with the local marathon run, so on Sunday morning it was pretty noisy and made for a loud wake up call.
On my last day I walked to this fountain which commemorates the year in which running water was connected to the city of Marseille. At the back of this building is a museum which takes less than one hour to visit, but provide nice views over the city. Well, thank you for watching and please come back for more – but before you go, don’t forget to subscribe!
There is more…!
Read my article about the following subjects if you are interested in a road trip around southern France. I did it myself in a couple of days so it’s perfectly doable. If you like to watch videos, check out my youtube channel as well.