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Marseille basks in the glory of its prime location along France's Mediterranean coast. Once a trading port in the ancient Greek empires, Marseille is now France's second largest city and the largest port in the Mediterranean. There are about 1.5 million people living in the urban area, just a little more in the bigger metropolitan area. Marseille has a lot to offer for the traveller. Enjoy the great museums and stunning churches. Or just take some time off and just relax on the beach. If looking for something more off the beaten track take a day trip to explore some of the nearby coastline, which is stunning and has great rock climbing.
Marseille is divided into 16 municipal arrondissements. These are again divided into quartiers.
Opéra de Marseille was constructed in 1787 and reached its height of fame after the Revolution. Throughout the 19th century this opera house was the site of many famous operas. In 1919, after installing electricity, a fire destroyed the interior of the opera house leaving only the shell and the exterior stone colonnade. On December 4, 1924 the building was reopened and can seat up to 1,800 people. The Opéra de Marseille is located near the Old Port and the Canebière.
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Marseille has a Mediterranean climate with dyr, sunny and warm to hot summers and mostly mild but wetter winters. Summers last from June to September with temperatures around 30 °C and nights slightly below 20 °C. Winters have temperatures of around 12 °C during the day and a few degrees above zero at night, though occasionally they can plummit to -10 °C or lower and snow is not impossible as well. Precipitation on the whole is low, but increases from September to December.
|Avg Max||11.2 °C||12.6 °C||15.3 °C||17.7 °C||22.2 °C||26.1 °C||29.5 °C||29.2 °C||25.3 °C||20.3 °C||14.7 °C||12 °C|
|Avg Min||3 °C||3.9 °C||6 °C||8.5 °C||12.6 °C||16 °C||18.7 °C||18.7 °C||15.5 °C||11.6 °C||6.8 °C||4.1 °C|
|Rainfall||53.6 mm||43.5 mm||40.4 mm||57.9 mm||41.2 mm||25.4 mm||12.6 mm||31.4 mm||60.6 mm||85.4 mm||50.6 mm||52 mm|
Marseille Provence Airport (MRS) is located 27 kilometres northwest of the city. It is one of the busiest airports in France with over 7 million passengers in 2009. The airport has direct service to almost every major city in Europe, the Middle East and North Africa. Currently the only flight to North America is to Montreal.
Gare de Marseille Saint-Charles is the main train station in Marseille. This is a beautiful mid-19th century train station perched on top of a small hill linked to the city by an amazing set of stairs. This train station has 14 dead end platforms and 4 tracks leaving form the station. Outside of the station two lines split towards Vintimille, one track goes towards Briançon and the last track link the train station with the harbour of La Joliette. Avignon, Nice and Lyon have regular connection to and from Marseille and there are many TGV's to Paris, only taking 3 hours!
The A7 and A55 highways run north/northwest from Marseille while the A50 runs east.
Buses travel to Aix-en-Provence, Avignon, Cannes, Carpentras, Nice (including the airport), Orange and other destinations.
Eurolines and Intercars have many buses to other countries like Spain, Germany and Switzerland.
Algerie Ferries has scheduled services between Marseille and Algerian cities like Algiers, Oran, Bejaia, Skikda and Annaba. SNCM travels between Marseille and Algiers as well.
Cnan Maghreb Lines (website under construction) has boats from Marseille to Oran and Algiers.
There is a new tram system on its way, check the RTM website for more updates (in French).
Also, there are two metro lines in Marseille running from 5:00am to 9:00pm after which buses run the same route above the ground. It consists of two lines: Line 1 (blue) between Castellane and La Rose and Line 2 (red) between Sainte-Marguerite-Dromel and Bougainville.
An extensive bus network serves the city and suburbs of Marseille.
As in many other French cities, a short-term bicycle hire scheme nicknamed "Le vélo", free for trips of less than half an hour, has recently been installed.
Marseille has a large number of restaurants which cater to the needs of both the budget and luxury traveler. Local specialties include the world-famous bouillabaisse (fish stew) of course, but also pieds et paquets, ratatouille, soupe au pistou, bourride, aioli and so on. Bouillabaisse (fish stew) is made with a combination of fish and shellfish, tomatoes, onion, garlic, olive oil, fennel and saffron. It is normally served with shredded cheese melted on top and toast spread with aioli, garlic-flavored mayonnaise. A bottle of rose wine or red wine would be the ideal combination to wash it down.
Restaurants are clustered in several districts. There is a wealth of dining possibilities in the Vieux Port area and along the Quai de Rive Neuve. Lot of cheaper outdoor cafes outlets are also available behind the Vieux Port area. The restaurants near the Espace Borely offer spectacular view of sunsets overlooking the water.
Le Miramar and L’Epuisette are some of well known and reputed restaurants offering superb seafood and other exotic cuisines.
|Hostel de l'Etoile||Bastide de l Etoile 329 chemin de Chateau-Gombert||Guesthouse||86|
|Hotel du Palais||26 rue Breteuil||Hotel||83|
|Hôtel Carré Vieux Port Marseille||6 rue Beauvau||Hotel||85|
|Best Western Hotel Yachting||115 Rue Paradis||Hotel||-|
|Hotel Le Huitieme||72 avenue de mazargues||Hotel||73|
|New Hotel Bompard****||2 Rue Des Flots Bleus||HOTEL||-|
|Newhotel Saint Charles (ex New Hotel Select)||3, allee Leon Gambetta||HOTEL||84|
|Vertigo Centre||42 rue de petites maries||Hostel||85|
|Hotel Lutetia||38 all�e l�on Gambetta||HOTEL||83|
|Hotel Azur||24 cours Franklin Roosevelt||Hotel||81|
|London connection LDN||22 camille flamamrion 3rd floor left building A||Hostel||72|
|Hotel Belle-Vue||34, Quai du Port||Hotel||79|
|Hotel Montgrand||50 rue Montgrand||Hotel||77|
|Hotel Saint Louis||2 rue des recolettes||Hotel||83|
|Vertigo Vieux-Port||38 Rue Fort Notre Dame||Hostel||88|
|Comfort Hotel Marseille Nord Aix||Av de la Gardiette/ Chemin de Velaux Z.C Plan de Campagne,Les Pennes Mirabeau||HOTEL||-|
|Pension Edelweiss||6, Rue Lafayette||Guesthouse||86|
|Hello Marseille Hostel||12, rue de Breteuil||Hostel||85|
|Hôtel Première Classe Marseille||13, rue Lafon||Hotel||83|
|Hôtel Hermès||2 rue Bonneterie||Hotel||82|
|Europe Hotel Vieux Port||12 Rue Beauvau||Hotel||83|
|Hostel Sylvabelle Marseille||63 rue sylvabelle||Apartment||77|
|Campagne Saint Jean de Matha||127, chemin du Four de Buze||Guesthouse||-|
|Hotel Kyriad Paradis||115 rue Paradis||Hotel||84|
|Hotel Stars Marseille||32, Boulevard Antonetti||Hotel||69|
|B&B Kerestac||44 Chemin De la Nerthe||GUESTHOUSE||84|
|Le Bungalow Guesthouse||27 rue H�l�ne Boucher||GUESTHOUSE||-|
|Le Clos du Jas||15 Traverse du Jas de Serre||GUESTHOUSE||-|
|Villa Victoria||111 route de Saint Savournin Greasque||GUESTHOUSE||-|
|B&B La Sylvabelle||92 rue Sylvabelle||GUESTHOUSE||-|
|Apartement Guillaume||23 rue d'Italie||GUESTHOUSE||83|
|Decoh Paradis||211 rue Paradis||APARTMENT||-|
|Hotel Edmond Rostand||31 rue Dragon||HOTEL||84|
|Romain & Pascal B&B||33 rue Falque||GUESTHOUSE||-|
|Casa Ortega||46, rue des Petites Maries||GUESTHOUSE||87|
|Le Laurier Rose B&B||37, bd des Alpes||GUESTHOUSE||85|
|Pitchounette & Olives||11 Bvd Tellene||GUESTHOUSE||85|
|Hotel ARIANA||12 rue du théatre Français||Hotel||80|
|Villa Valflor||13 boulevard Molinari||GUESTHOUSE||-|
France is one of the best connected countries in the world, with data speed for upload/download ranked among the top 5 in the world. Most hotels and hostels would have in-house facilities to provide free internet access. Many major cities also have initiatives put in place to provide free wi-fi connection in public spaces. Alternatively there are internet cafés available in most cities/towns at a reasonable rate. Some private businesses, such as local cafés (or even the Starbuck's chain), may also provide wi-fi connectivity - keep an eye out for the signs by the shop windows/doors. Also look for the @ symbol prominently displayed, which indicates internet availability. However, with most homes now wired for the internet, cyber cafés are increasingly hard to find, especially outside the major cities.
See also: International Telephone Calls
To dial an international number from France, the IDD is 00, followed by the country code that you wish to dial, the area code and the phone number.
To call France from abroad, start with the international direct dialing (IDD) code from the country you're in, followed by French country code 33, the area code (drop the first zero in front of the area code), and the phone number. French telephone numbers are rarely given without the area code. The telephone number, including the area code, is made up of 10 digits. They are written in a set of 5 pairs of digits (i.e. 01 xx xx xx xx xx).
In France, the area code designations are: 01 - Paris Area ("Région Ile-de-France"), 02 - northwest, 03 - northeast, 04 - southeast, 05 - southwest, 06 - mobile phone providers. From 2010 onwards, 07 will also be assigned to mobile phone providers in order to cater for the surging demands for mobile phones.
Emergency numbers are 15 (medical aid), 17 (police station) and 18 (fire/rescue). You can also use the European emergency number 112 (perhaps a better choice if you don't speak French). These calls are free and accessible from virtually any phone, including locked cellphones.
France uses the GSM standard of cellular phones (900 MHz and 1800 MHz bands) used in most of the world outside of the U.S. There are several companies (Orange, SFR, Free, Bouygues Télécom and some others MVNOs like Virgin Mobile) offering wireless service. The country is almost totally covered but you may have difficulties using your mobile phone in rural or mountainous areas. If you stay for some time, it may be advisable to buy a pre-paid cell phone card that you can use in any phone that supports the GSM standard on the 900/1800 MHz bands. Then incoming calls and SMSes are free.
La Poste in France is also referred to as the PTT (short for postes, télégraphes et téléphones). The mailboxes are painted bright yellow and often there is a slot for local city mail and another slot for "outside mail". Normally there is a queue in the post office, but most of the post offices have the self service machine installed which is quite easy to operate. Nowadays many of the tabac and even some of the souvenir shops also sell postage stamps. Normally an overseas postcard costs almost as much as sending a letter. Mails sent in France also have a zip code. The first two numbers represent the administrative department (e.g. in Paris' case that would be 75).
Post offices are generally open from 8:00am to 7:00pm Monday through Friday, and 8:00am to noon on Saturdays. Apart from the basic job of mailing letters, most of the post offices do some banking activities also and some even have photocopy machines and cyber cafes for internet access.
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