Marseille Life and Visitor Travel Tips

(Marseille, Provence-Alpes Côte d'Azur, France)

Photo of nearby CalanqueLife in Marseille is known for being led at an energetic pace and the many charms of this city are often compared to those of Paris. Locals in Marseille are particularly gregarious and enjoy many seasonal outdoor events, and al fresco dining whenever possible.

Although much of Marseille comprises modern housing estates and residential areas, there is still plenty of character. The Old Port (Vieux Port) district is truly the heart of the action, incorporating the marina and many good restaurants close to the waterfront. Whilst the city is home to a population of just over 800,000 people, the metropolitan area features in excess of 1.5 million inhabitants and is continually expanding at every opportunity.

Within the city proper, the Marseille Tourist Office is well worth visiting and features a number of helpful English-speaking staff. If you have some money to be exchanged, numerous banks and foreign currency exchange outlets are located on La Canebière and close to the Vieux Port, such as 'Canebière Change'. Most hotels, shops and restaurants are more than happy to accept payment by credit and debit cards, although if you need a spot of cash quickly, the city's plentiful ATM cashpoints are always on hand.

Further picture of the Calanque rock formation

Useful Contact Details

Marseille's tourist information outlet can be found in the Vieux Port area and is sited at one end of La Canebière. Staff here will be happy to help you make the most of your stay. An additional tourist office is located at the Gare. St. Charles train station and whilst smaller, is still full of the usual leaflets and some handy maps.

Marseille Tourist Office (Office du Tourisme et des Congrès)
Address: 4 La Canebière, 1er Arrondissement, Vieux Port, 13001 Marseille, France, FR
Tel: +33 (0)491 13 8900
Fax: +33 (0) 491 13 8920
Open hours: June to September, Monday to Saturday - 09:00 to 19:00, Sunday - 10:00 to 19:30; October to May, Monday to Saturday - 09:00 to 19:00, Sunday - 10:00 to 17:00

Marseille Tourist Office Annexe
Address: 18, Gare St. Charles Train Station, Marseille, France, FR
Tel: +33 (0)491 50 5918
Open hours: Monday to Saturday - 10:00 to 13:00 and 14:00 to 18:00

View of Calanque from the water

Language and Dialect

French is the official language in Marseille and throughout France, also being spoken in Belgium, Switzerland and Luxembourg.

Even the most basic French is useful when staying in Marseille, if it is simply to ask for directions or what the time is, so be sure to pack a pocket-sized French phrasebook. Below are some useful phrases to get you started.

Hello - bonjour
Hi - salut
Goodbye - au revoir
See you soon - a bientôt
Please may I have the bill? - l'addition, s'il vous plaît
How much is it? - c'est combien?
Is there a hotel near here? - y a-t-il un hôtel près d'ici?
Where is the nearest railway station? - où est la gare la plus proche?
Yes - oui
No - non

Image of Euro notes and coins


The French Franc is no longer the currency of Marseille, being replaced by the Euro (EUR) in 2002. Also used in many other European countries, the Euro coins and notes come in the following denominations.

Coins: 1, 2, 5, 10, 20 and 50 cents (eurocents) / 1 and 2 Euros
Notes: 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, 200, and 500 Euro