One week in & near Marseille

Old Jun 29th, 2016, 12:39 PM
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One week in & near Marseille

We will have a week, this September. I'm thinking we will fly home from Marseille. I have been to Nice, Antibes, St Jean Cap Ferrat. Mostly, we want to be by the sea everyday. Will probably take day-trips inland, depending on the weather. We hope we won't need a car. Since Marseille is a hub for planes, trains and buses, I think we'll be good to/from Marseille. But what about getting to/from smaller ports and beach hotels?

Marseille looks like a very interesting city. I have booked the Grand Hotel Beauvau Marseille Vieux Port, but am not sure about our dates. We will be traveling from Vienna by plane (I assume). Does anyone have experience at this hotel? Or a better one to recommend? We want a balcony and a water view.

I'm thinking probably of splitting up the week, 3 nights here and 4 nights there. I have not booked any airfare yet. Maybe staying in Marseille the last part of the week is best-- to be closest to the airport.

So, where's the "here" and "there"? That's my question.

Cassis looks appealing. Is that a good choice for 3 or 4 nights? DH loves to swim, so we'd like a pool, plus beach access. Have been looking at this: http://www.roches-blanches-cassis.co...e-officiel.php

Then go to Marseille for 3 or 4 nights?

I would appreciate advice on the sequence of our two stops, and where to stay, eat, play??
(Budget for a room is around $300/night, preferably under that amount.)

Hoping Stu Dudley will chime in.
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Old Jul 1st, 2016, 12:59 PM
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I have changed our dates at the Grand Hotel Beauvau Marseille Vieux Port, to stay there 6 nites. We decided we'd prefer to stay in one place and do day-trips from there.

Assuming this will be a good place to be for the week. Since Marseille has easy access to trains, we will look for day-trips by train.

Unless someone has better advice?
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Old Jul 6th, 2016, 09:46 AM
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Y'all are making me nervous about Marseille. Anyone like it?
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Old Jul 6th, 2016, 10:49 AM
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Sorry, I've driven through Marseille a couple times, and was both overwhelmed and underwhelmed by the city -overwhelmed by the size and the traffic and underwhelmed by the city itself. I don't think there are too many beaches where your husband could swim. I also spent a day there a hundred years ago when I was a student in France and all I remember is lots of warnings about safety. So I am not the best person to offer an opinion. That said, I would choose some place else to spend a week. There are so many lovely choices in the south of France. Maybe some fans of Marseille will chime in to defend the city and offer better advice though
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Old Jul 6th, 2016, 04:25 PM
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Thank you! That's what I'm hearing. Mixed reviews.
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Old Jul 7th, 2016, 09:51 AM
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Was in Marseille for 4 days last month and found the city to be vibrant and safe. Vieux Port is an excellent place to stay (and I regret not staying in that area) and offers lots of eating options (from casual to high end), shopping and strolling. You'll have easy access to the train station using the ultra modern metro. We day tripped to Aix en Provence and thoroughly enjoyed it. It's less than an hour away by train. Wanted to also visit Arles, but the train workers were on strike, so that wasn't an option. We took the 'petit' tour train (there are 2 routes) to get around Marseille, which suited our needs. Do visit Notre Dame (you can't miss seeing it when at Vieux Port) - it's beautiful and offers stunning views of Marseille and the port. Make sure to visit the Tourist Bureau as they can provide maps and make suggestions for your day trips. The African market is fun to walk around and smell all the delicious meals being made. The produce for sale looked so fresh and delicious.

Your suggestion of staying in Marseille and using it as a base for day trips sounds good. IMHO, 2 full days in Marseille would work, then fill the rest of your time with day trips. Hopefully the trains will be running to where you want to visit. The train and long haul bus stations are next to each other, which makes getting around all that easier.

We found Marseille to be a 'working class' city, so if you're looking for glitz and glamour, it's not the place for you.

There are mixed opinions about Marseille, even expressed in tour books. What we found was a city that offered a lot to see, delicious dining options, provided easy access both within the city and to surrounding areas and friendly people, which made our trip memorable.

ENJOY!
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Old Jul 7th, 2016, 10:34 AM
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Re Cassis: it is a beautiful little port town, and if you want to spend 3-4 days on the beach, it would be perfect. Otherwise, except for boat trips to the Calanques (which I heartily recommend!) and hiking, there is not much else to do. We did it as a day trip last week, and that was just enough time for us. Just depends upon your interests.
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Old Jul 7th, 2016, 12:28 PM
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For me, Aix is charming, with a walkable center, lovely cafes, beautiful architecture, great food, fun markets in pretty shady squares, tiny cobblestone streets and a wide, shady boulevard lined with restaurants, but quiet in the evening. As a place to stay for a few days, I would choose it over Marseille (and have - twice).

However, I thought Marseille was vibrant and interesting and would enjoy staying there also. It is just much bigger and much busier. It does have the harbor though with boats and water, and that is lovely.
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Old Jul 7th, 2016, 01:13 PM
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Thanks for your replies. I talked with my brand-new SIL, who was in the Navy. He didn't recommend Marseille, for a one week stay.

I just finished buying our complicated itinerary:
Denver- Vienna
Vienna- ATHENS
Athens- Denver

Actually, Greece was my first choice, but initially we only had 4 nights and I didn't think that would be enough time to do Greek isles. But, I eeked out 7 nights!

So, ATHENS here we come.

The United lady was so helpful, because I needed to buy my ticket with miles, and DH's ticket (minus Vienna - Athens, because that's personal) with his business credit card. She worked the system every which way, and got it for me with 60K miles, and for DH at $1900, plus $175 for Vienna- Athens. We were on the phone for almost 2 hours. It's so awesome to find a phone rep who really helps. And, actually, she was breaking United's rule to handle 8 calls per hour.
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