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FESTIVALS, HOLIDAYS AND OTHER ANNUAL EVENTS IN Marseille

There are a number of festivals, holidays and other events celebrated in Marseille each year. The main ones are listed below.

January 1 : New Year's Day (national holiday)

May 1 : Labour Day (national holiday)

On the first of May, it is customary to offer a sprig of lily-of-the-valley to close friends, family members or neighbours. On this day, anyone in France can sell lily-of-the valley sprigs on the street without needing a licence, provided the flowers have been picked wild or homegrown. Unsurprisingly, sellers can be found on almost every corner!

Third weekend in June : Fête du Panier (local event)

A three-day festival in Le Panier, Marseille's oldest neighbourhood, located on the north side of the Vieux Port, including many concerts and other performances, photographic exhibitions and fashion shows.

June 21 : Fête de la Musique (celebrated nationwide)

Notre Dame de la Garde, the Romanesque-Byzantine basilica overlooking the entire city, is the site of a popular pilgrimage for the Feast of the Assumption, preceded by a torchlight procession and mass on the evening of August 14.

July 14 : Bastille Day (national holiday)

This holiday celebrates both the storming of the Bastille prison in 1789, the key event marking the beginning of the French Revolution, which would culminate in the collapse of the absolute monarchy, and the end of the privileges enjoyed by the clergy and the aristocracy. In Marseille, this anniversary is commemorated each year with a fireworks display and dance parties open to everyone at various venues throughout the city.

August 15 : Assumption Day (national holiday)

Notre Dame de la Garde, the Romanesque-Byzantine basilica overlooking the entire city, is the site of a popular pilgrimage for the Feast of the Assumption, preceded by a torchlight procession and mass on the evening of August 14.

Third weekend in September : European Heritage Days (celebrated nationwide)

The aim of the European Heritage Days is to open up numerous sites and monuments, many of which are normally closed to the public. Each year, many places of cultural interest in Marseille take part in this event: public and private buildings, monuments, sites of historic interest, museums, etc.

Late September–early October : Marseille International Fair (local event)

A leading event of its kind in France, this fair held at the Parc Chanot convention centre brings together artists, craftspeople and exhibitors from around the world.

November 11: Remembrance Day (national holiday)

On this day, French citizens gather at war memorials to commemorate the signing of the 1918 Armistice officially bringing an end to the First World War.

December 25 : Christmas (national holiday)

In Marseille and the entire region of Provence, a centuries-old holiday tradition demands that Christmas Eve guests be offered 13 desserts after dinner (grapes, nougat, dates, etc.).

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CLIMATE AND WEATHER IN Marseille

Marseille has a Mediterranean climate. The city enjoys bright sunshine most of the year, in particular owing to the mistral, a dry wind that sweeps across the region 93 days each year, on average. Marseille has the lowest rainfall of all French cities, with an average of only 59 days with precipitation each year. Winters are mild and damp, with an average temperature of 8°C (46°F) in January and February, while summers are hot and dry, with the mercury often rising above 30°C (86°F) in July and August.

Month Min. Average Temperature (°C/F°) Max. Average Temperature (°C/F°) Average Rains (MM) Best Time to Travel
January 3/37 11/52 48/1.9 Not the best period to go
February 4/39 12/54 31/1.2 Not the best period to go
March 6/43 16/61 30/1.2 Not the best period to go
April 9/48 18/64 54/2.1 Not the best period to go
May 13/55 22/72 41/1.6 Good period to go Good period to go
June 17/63 16/61 25/1.0 Good period to go Good period to go
July 19/66 29/84 9/0.4 Good period to go Good period to go
August 19/66 29/84 31/1.2 Not the best period to go
September 16/61 26/79 77/3.0 Good period to go Good period to go
October 12/54 21/70 67/2.6 Not the best period to go
November 7/45 15/59 56/2.2 Not the best period to go
December 4/39 11/52 46/1.8 Not the best period to go
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Marseille Provence Airport

Marseille Provence Airport (previously known as Marseille Marignane) is located in the suburb of Marignane, about 25 kilometres (16 miles) west of the city centre.

  • Two terminals :
    • Terminal MP1 (Air France)
    • Terminal MP2

Getting from the airport to Marseille and back
  • By bus
    • A shuttle bus connects the airport with Saint-Charles train station, about a 15-minute walk from the Vieux Port.
    • Buses depart every 15 to 20 minutes from the airport and the city centre. The trip either way takes about 25 minutes.
    • Single tickets cost EUR 8.20, with reduced fares for youths aged 12 to 25 (EUR 5.80) and children aged 6 to 11 (EUR 4.10). The round-trip fare is EUR 13.10.
    • At the airport, tickets are purchased at Terminal MP1, opposite the shuttle pick-up/drop-off location. The ticket office is open every day from 6:05 a.m. to 10:10 p.m.
    • In the city centre, tickets are purchased at the Saint-Charles train station ticket windows, which are open every day from 5:20 a.m. to 9:30 p.m.
  • By train
    • More than 60 TER regional train lines serve Marseille from the Vitrolles Aéroport Marseille Provence train station.
    • There are TER ticketing machines at both the station and the airport. One-way fares range from EUR 20 to EUR 30.
  • By car
    • Parking facilities are grouped into three categories: Eco, Proximité and Confort.
    • The fee for the first 24 hours is EUR 9.50 for Eco parking, EUR 12.50 for Proximité parking, and EUR 15.50 for Confort parking
    • Counters operated by car rental companies are located in the open-air parking areas.
    • Business hours are 7 a.m. (8 a.m. on Sunday) to 11:30 p.m.
  • By taxi
    • Eighty-six taxis serve airport passengers 24 hours a day and 7 days a week. The fare to the city centre is about EUR 50.
  • Services: shops, bars and restaurants, currency exchange and banking, and Internet access (Wi-Fi) are available in the airport.
  • Telephone: +33 (0)4 42 14 14 14
  • Website: http://www.marseille.aeroport.fr

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GETTING AROUND Marseille

Public transport taxis and bicycles are the best ways to get around Marseille.

City Pass

Marseille's all-inclusive City Pass is a cost-saving and comprehensive sightseeing package. The pass offers free admission to 14 museums, a boat trip to the Château d'If with a guided tour, a trip on the Petit Train (a special mini tourist train) all the way up to Notre Dame de la Garde, and unlimited rides on all bus, metro and tram routes (ferries are not included). The 1-day City Pass costs EUR 24 for adults and EUR 16 for children, the 2-day version is EUR 31 for adults and EUR 19 for children and the 3-day pass is EUR 39 for adults and EUR 23 for children.

By bus

Nearly 80 bus lines cover Marseille's entire metropolitan area. Tickets are EUR 2 for adults and EUR 1 for children aged 4 to 10.

By tram

Marseille's tram network consists of three lines (T1, T2 and T3) with a total of 32 stations. This is a very pleasant way to visit the city, as Marseille's trams are the least crowded in France. Tickets are EUR 2 for adults and EUR 1 for children aged 4 to 10.

By rail

Marseille's metro is quick and efficient, but consists of only two lines. Tickets are EUR 2 for adults and EUR 1 for children aged 4 to 10.

By bicycle

Bicycling is without a doubt the most pleasant way to explore Marseille. Distributed throughout the city, 130 bike-sharing stations (about one every quarter mile) offer 1,000 bikes, free of charge, at any time of day. The concept is simple: pick up a bicycle at one station and return it at another one, at your leisure, 24 hours a day and 7 days a week.

By taxi

Taxis are plentiful in Marseille. There are about 1,560 cabs divided among 80 taxi stands. Thirty-two of these stands are equipped with telephones and may be reached via a single number: 0 811 46 90 90 (local call charges apply).

By boat

The Ferry Boat, immortalized by Marcel Pagnol in his film Marius with the impetuous Félix Escartefigue at the helm, takes you across the Vieux Port all day long. The “shortest ferry crossing in the world” will set you back EUR 3.
There also are scheduled ferry crossings between the Vieux Port and the islands (Château d'If and the beaches of Frioul). The price is EUR 5 each way. Be sure to check the times for the last departures in the direction of the Vieux Port.

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Visitor information

If you need additional help in planning your stay upon arrival in Marseille, stop by the tourist office on the Vieux Port.

Office du Tourisme et des Congrès de Marseille

Offers practical information and many useful recommendations (accommodation, restaurants, public transport, festivals, cultural events, etc.).

  • Address: 11 la Cannebière 13001 Marseille
  • Telephone: 0 826 500 500 (local call charges apply)
  • Website  www.marseille-tourisme.com

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Medical information

Vaccinations

There are no vaccination requirements for visitors to France.

For more information, contact Air France's international vaccination centre:

Food safety

There are no specific food safety risks. French government authorities promote good hygiene practices and put in place strengthened control procedures for sites especially frequented by tourists during the summer months.

Water

Tap water is safe to drink in Marseille.

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Administrative formalities

As a general rule, a visa is required to enter France. Foreign nationals in the two categories listed below are not required to carry a visa for stays of 90 days or less:

  • Citizens of the European Union (EU), the European Economic Area (EEA) or the Swiss Confederation
  • Citizens or nationals of certain foreign countries.

For stays of more than 90 days, a long-stay visa is required.

Travellers from all other countries must be in possession of a visa, regardless of the length of their stay. Visa applications must be submitted to the nearest French Embassy or French Consulate in the country of permanent residence well in advance of departure.

For further information, visit the website of the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs:
http://www.diplomatie.gouv.fr/en/coming-to-france/getting-a-visa/

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Useful addresses

To enjoy peace of mind during your stay in Marseille, visit the website of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of your country.

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Essential phrases

Here are a few basic French phrases that will make your stay in Marseille a little easier:

Hello / Good morning / Good afternoon: Bonjour

Good evening: Bonsoir

Good-bye: Au revoir

Yes: Oui

No: Non

No, thank you: Non, merci

Thank you very much: Merci beaucoup

I don't understand: Je ne comprends pas

Could you repeat that: Pouvez-vous répéter ?

Please: S'il vous plaît

What time is it: Quelle heure est-il ?

Excuse me: Excusez-moi

Airport: Aéroport

Train station: Gare

Taxi: Taxi

Hotel: Hôtel

Hospital: Hôpital

Bank: Banque

Telephone: Téléphone

I'm (…): Je suis (…)

I'm looking for (…): Je recherche (…)

How much is (…): Quel est le prix de (…) ?

Do you have (…): Avez-vous (…) ?

Where can I find (…): Où puis-je trouver (…) ?

Where can I buy (…): Où puis-je acheter (…) ?

I'd like (…): Je voudrais (…)

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Good to know

00 33
+ phone number without the 0 (calls to Marseille)
0 : 00
of time difference with
Hamburg
Start of daylight saving time: last Sunday in March
End of daylight saving time: last Sunday in October

BANKS

Usually open Tuesday to Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and 1:30 p.m. to 5 p.m., Saturday from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
GOVERNMENT OFFICES

Usually open Monday to Friday from 8:30 a.m. to noon and 1 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.
230 V / 50 Hz

And what about tipping ?
In Marseille like elsewhere in France, a service charge is always included in the bill. If you are particularly pleased with the service, you may certainly leave a few extra euros on the table. But this additional tip is neither expected nor necessary.