The capital of the Bouches du Rhône department on the Côte d’Azur, the once gritty port of Marseille has transformed from caterpillar to beautiful butterfly.
As the European City of Culture in 2013 and the European Capital of Sport in 2017, this remarkable city now contrasts striking modern architecture, like the MUCEM museum, with ancient landmarks such as Notre Dame de la Garde, an iconic structure unique to Marseille.
With the spectacular Calanques National Park not far from the Vieux Port, which has been completely rejuvenated by architect Norman Foster, and 300 days of sunshine a year, this incredible city is brimming with culture, heritage, Provençal prowess and modern excellence.
Relax on Degaby Island’s private beach
From the vast sandy Plage de la Pointe Rouge to the popular beaches at Parc Balnéaire du Prado, there are many attractive beaches in Marseille to explore. But as with all beaches on the French Riviera, they can get a little busy during the summer months.
But if you stay at the five-star C2 Hotel in Marseille, on Cours Pierre Puget in the heart of the city, you will be granted access to the hotel’s private beach on Degaby Island. The island is just 200 metres from the small port of Malmousque and guests travel there on the hotel’s specially-chartered boat from the Vieux Port. You’ll be whisked away for a private picnic where sunbeds and refreshments are provided.
Splash out on a luxury cruise
Some say that there’s no better way to experience Marseille and the Mediterranean coastline than as part of a cruise and there are a few options that can offer passengers the height of luxury on board.
Europe’s largest passenger ship, the high-tech MSC Meraviglia is offering a week-long itinerary of some of the Med’s most charming destinations. You could embark at Barcelona, then sail to Marseille where you can spend the day sightseeing, and then travel on to experience the splendour of Genoa (where you can take an excursion to the exquisite coastal resort of Portofino) and Naples in Italy.
All this is possible in luxurious VIP style by sailing with the MSC Yacht Club where passengers can benefit from a coveted Royal Suite, which features two balconies, panoramic sea views and a private whirlpool.
With Ponant, the only French cruise line, you can board the luxurious Le Champlain, and take an eight-day tour that takes you from Marseille to Malaga, stopping at destinations along Spain’s east coast, such as Tarragona, Valencia and the picturesque island of Majorca.
Dine out at L’Epuisette or Le Petit Nice
With Guillaume Sorrieu at the helm, L’Epuisette has been one of the most sought-after dinner reservations in Marseille over the last 15 years. The house’s signature menu “Fanny” has been described by the Michelin Guide to be “as dazzling as the July sun”, and wine lovers will appreciate the “particularly interesting” wine list.
Those into gastronomic delights should also sample Gérald Passédat’s cusine at the three-star Michelin restaurant Le Petit Nice, where your meal will be something of an art form. You can even sample the traditional dish of Marseille here, the bouillabaisse, in true Petit Nice style.
Charter a yacht
The wild, breath-taking coastline around Marseille is one of the most stunning on the Riviera and chartering a yacht is an idyllic way to explore. With the striking basilica of Notre Dame de la Garde dominating the skyline of France’s second city, the Caribbean-like turquoise waters are bordered by tall limestone cliffs and peppered with small islands.
The Golden Isles off Hyères, which include Porquerolles, Île du Levant and Port-Cros, which is a national park and bird refuge, are a highlight and offer some of the most picturesque views on the Riviera.
If you’re keen to sail regularly and would prefer to buy a yacht, Home Hunts offers a bespoke yacht-finding service. Whether you need a sail or a motor yacht, minimal interiors or a spacious aft deck for entertaining, the team will help you to find the perfect yacht for your needs.
Buy a home with a sea view
Buying a dream holiday home in one of Marseille’s most coveted locations is about as luxurious as you can get. This elegant five-bedroom villa (HH-11755292) is located in the heart of Roucas-Blanc, a highly sought-after area of Marseille.
There are so many enticing places to relax in this pretty home. Outside an inviting swimming pool is surrounded by beautiful gardens and a spacious sunbathing area, and there’s also a palm grove and shady terraces decorated with Mediterranean plants and colourful flowers.
Inside, the white contemporary decor and high ceilings create an uplifting and calming ambiance. In addition to the bedrooms there is also an independent studio, a sports room and a garage that takes eight cars – just in case you had any doubt that this property is an ideal location for hosting family and friends throughout the summer.
If you are looking to buy property in France, you can search Home Hunts’ online portfolio here at www.home-hunts.com. But if you would like to speak to a consultant about your specific property needs and the best locations to live in Marseille, call +33 (0)970 44 66 43.