Marseille, the mediterranean

Another big French city I have visited for business, and it brings nice souvenirs even if not too many photos ,again, is Marseille. It is capital of the department of Bouches du Rhone or No 13 in the region of PACA or Provence -Alpes-Côte d’Azur. Very old as it was founded by the Greeks mariners in 600 BC. It is the second biggest city in France behind Paris and the third biggest metro area behind Paris and Lyon. It has always an air of independance and been Marseillaise.

Lots has been written about this city an airport, train station, cruise port, bustling and lively city by the mediterranean, a city melting pot of France. It has lot to offer if combine with nearby Calanques and the corniches for magnificent views on the mediterranean sea.  Plus nice beaches such as that of Prado. Normally I get here either by plane or train, the airport is small enough to handle it easy, and quick transportation into the city either via bus or taxi. The bus ride is 8,50€ and takes you in about 25 mins from the airport to the train station Saint Charles right in city center. Very nice and frequent.You can even purchase your ticket at the airport webpage which is  at http://www.marseille.aeroport.fr/fra/index.jsp .   You ,also,have buses to popular destinations like Aix-en-Provence and St Maximin.  For taxis you can contact ahead for times,and rates at email taxis@taxis-aeroport.com , the official webpage for taxi info is at http://www.taxis-aeroport.com/ . By train I always purchase my tickets in advance at the main travel page of the SNCF train consortium in France here
http://www.voyages-sncf.com/ , the trains leave Paris on Gare de Lyon on TGV.  The train station in Marseille at Saint Charles is wonderful and easy to manoeuver, at the Esplanade Saint Charles, the regional TER train site can give you more scheduling choices in the region ,webpage at  http://www.ter-sncf.com/Regions/Paca/fr/Default.aspx   . Once in the area I have then rented cars, my favorite in France is Hertz, at http://www.hertz.fr/ ,but you coming from abroad can check autoeurope and kemwel sites for info.

Moving out into town as always the best is walking, but it has a nice metro system as well as local buses and tramway at http://www.rtm.fr/ for 1,26€ per ticket or the weekly pass at 12€ is very nice. It has the third biggest pleasure boat port in Europe, with many cruises into other parts of the Mediterranean and elsewhere the port webpage in French ,http://www.marseille-port.fr/

The main attraction to see in my opinion the first one is the Vieux Port area, very trendy, chic, quaint. The Basilique Notre Dame de la Garde (b. 1855_1870), the Cathédrale Sainte Marie la Majeure (b. 1852-1893), the Palais Longchamps (1869) site of museum of fine arts, or Beaux-Arts and museum of Natural History, old water treatment spot for the city.  The city has wonderful promenade boulevards, and its name a Ville d’Art et d’Histoire in France or a city of art and history classification.

I have stayed on my trips always at the Mercure Centre as my offices are all in the area, but for visitors is an splendid location too. close to center and train station Saint Charles, webpage here http://www.accorhotels.com/gb/hotel-1148-mercure-marseille-centre/index.shtml

for eating several good ones around the Vieux Port but my favorites are O’Malley’s pub Guiness, 9 , Quai De Rive Neuve , for great drinks and ambiance . For typical local food and history Bar de la Marine, 15 , Quai De Rive Neuve. Brasserie Chez Roger, 28 , Quai Du Port, for seafood ,fresh and nice ambiance, webpage http://chezroger.idhii.net/  . Le Poisson qui Marche, chemin littoral ,try the ballotin de dourade aux asperges!!

enjoy the city by the mediterranean it has more than it is publish. The official city tourist office is at http://www.marseille-tourisme.com/fr/a-marseille/ , the tourist office for the region is at http://www.visitprovence.com/

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