Click here for the best places to stay in Marseille

Marseille is one of the oldest cities in Europe, but it's also one of the most alive. It thrives on change and the influx of the new, a true global melting pot since its founding in 600BC. The best places to stay in Marseille reflect this diversity with everything from cheap and chic to five star luxury on offer.

Marseille is also the second largest city in France, by population, and the largest by area. So get ready to jump into the colourful markets - which will transport you to more distant lands, to marvel at the natural beauty of the Calanques - fjord-like cliffs which fall dramatically into the sea, and to delve into the history of the old part of town and the old harbour - le Vieux Port.

Being European Culture Capital in 2013 meant museums, galleries and accommodation options have had a recent spruce up, so it's a great time to visit Marseille. It wasn't just the galleries and museums given a spruce up leading up to 2013, it was also many of Marseille's historic palaces, churches and other treasures. And with 2600 years of history to explore you'll find plenty to keep you interested.

Whatever your reason for being in Marseille, hanging around by the old port and seeing local fishermen auction off their catch is worth doing. As is the Notre Dame de la Garde, a big old church with wonderful views over the entire city.

Marseille also has numerous museums worth poking your way through, and you should definitely stroll through le Cours Julien, which is the trendy area of Marseille, full of bookshops, cafes and a lively market on Thursdays and Saturdays.

Everyone who visits Marseille also takes a stroll along la Corniche, which is right beside the sea, and has a drink at Escale Borely, which also has great sea views. If it's a nice day it's also worth considering a trip out to the Chateau d'If, a fortress on an island just off the city. First a city defence, it was later turned into a prison, and is best know for appearing in The Comte de Monte-Cristo.

The areas of La Panier, the historic home of Marseille's marketplace, and Noailles, which is lined with Arabic and Indo-Chinese shops, are worth exploring as well if you have time.

Marseille is a great spot for romantics who thrive on buzz. Relaxing this town is not, but if you want lively nightlife, plenty of choice when it comes to cultural events - and even more when it comes to eating and drinking, then Marseille is for you.

Best places to stay in Marseille

For city chic

  • Mama Shelter is the ultimate chic city break hotel, care of Philippe Starck, naturally. A short stroll from the old port, this hotel occupies a cluster of old houses, so it's old and graceful on the outside and high concept on the inside. As well as plenty of clean, white lines there are whimsical touches, like ceilings doused with graffiti, and Marseillaise slang in the lift. And with prices starting from less than £60 per night this is also one of the best places to stay in Marseille on a budget.

For central location

  • If you're looking for somewhere memorable right in the centre of town, one of the best places to stay in Marseille is Casa Honore, a four bedroom B&B converted from a printing works. Beautifully designed, every care has also been taken over your comfort, and the huge all-white bedrooms have generous granite bathrooms, there's a tranquil courtyard swimming pool and it's only a few doors down from a truly excellent restaurant.

Slightly out of town

  • La bastide de Cabries is one of the best places to stay in Marseille if you want a base for exploring more of the charms of Provence. Peaceful and beautiful, this attractive sandstone bastide has panoramic views over the rooftops and a gourmet restaurant.

Still not sure? Browse though our list of all the best places to stay on Marseille, or call, or email, one of our gurus for advice.

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The best hotels in Marseille

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  • Mama Shelter


    Stylish modernity close to the old port. This Philippe Starck designed Marseille hotel offers industrial-meets-kitsch style and caters for a trendy crowd. Good for solo travellers, couples and families who like a buzzy atmosphere in minimalist surroundings. Excellent value.

    126 rooms from $75
    Value chic
    City Style
    Designer  -  Philippe Starck has worked his magic here
    Sights nearby  -  Port is nearby
    Recommended by  -  CN Traveller
  • La bastide de Cabries

    Aix-en-Provence (Cabries/Calas)

    Panoramic views over Provencal rooftops, gourmet food, and pop-art inspired rooms at this attractive sandstone bastide. A romantic setting for couples and great venue for a wedding reception.

    12 rooms from $109
    Sights nearby  -  Some 10km south of Aix en Provence
    Local markets  -  Good for local colour.
    Views  -  Great views from hotel
    Recommended by  -  Sawdays
  • Casa Honore


    Designer B&B in central Marseille. Huge all-white bedrooms and granite bathrooms, courtyard swimming pool, and an excellent restaurant a few doors down. A chic spot.

    4 rooms from $164
    City Style
    Quirky  -  Pretty much all items in the house are for sale if they take your fancy!
    Swimming Pool  -  Small Outdoor Pool
    Sights nearby  -  Well located for major sights.
    Recommended by  -  I Escape
  • Le Petit Nice

    Marseille (Marseilles)

    Where the Mediterranean sea ends there lies this five-star hotel. The spectacular views and calming ambiance extend to the cocktail bar, leafy terrace, swimming pool, famous Gérald Passédat restaurant and spacious rooms. These are immaculate and simple, decorated in a lovely contemporary style.

    16 rooms from $206
    Views  -  Incredible spot overlooking the sea. Gaze into the horizon with the Château d’If and the Planier lighthouse in the background
    Fishing  -  Calanque de Morgiou has been famed for tuna fishing since 1622.
    Sights nearby  -  Visit the old port of Marseilles.
    Sailing  -  Can be booked nearby.
    Recommended by  -  Relais & Chateaux, Tablet
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