Marseille is the oldest, as well as the second largest city in France (behind Paris, obviously) and arguably home to the best climate in the country - it receives around 300 days of sunshine a year.
Founded by the Greeks more than 2,500 years ago it mixes a blend of ancient and modern, and as is the case with many port cities features a blend of cultures, from around the Mediterranean and beyond. You’re as likely to find north African flavours and accents as you are French, and it all makes for a huge melting pot of great cuisine and a lively nightlife.
Noted for its great beaches and exceptional natural heritage, with miles and miles (or kilometres and kilometres) of beautiful coastline, there’s plenty to keep you occupied however long your visit to the Provence coast.
Department - Bouches du Rhone
Population - 852,000
Average June temperature - 20.8oC
All fixtures local time (BST +1 hour).
Saturday 11 June, 21.00: England v Russia – Group B
Wednesday 15 June, 21.00: France v Albania – Group A
Saturday 18 June, 18.00: Iceland v Hungary – Group F
Tuesday 21 June, 18.00: Ukraine v Poland – Group C
Thursday 30 June, 21.00: Winner Match 1 v Winner Match 3
Thursday 7 July, 21.00: Winner QF3 v Winner QF4
Marseille is served by Marseille-Provence International Airport, located some 25km to the northwest of the city. Outside of the Parisian airports it is one of the busiest in France, with both scheduled and low-cost connections to every major city and many smaller, local airports through Air France, Hop! And Ryanair among others.
Connections to the UK and Ireland
Aer Lingus - seasonal to Dublin
British Airways - London Heathrow
Easyjet - London Gatwick, Glasgow International (from 28th June), Manchester and seasonal to Bristol
Ryanair - London Stansted, and seasonal to Edinburgh
There are a number of ways of getting to the city from the airport. There are shuttle buses connecting the airport with the main train station in the city centre - Saint Charles, from where you can change to the Metro Lines 1 and 2 as well as TGV and regional trains.
There are at least 3 services an hour from the early morning and evenings (4.50am to 10.10am, and 6.10pm to 12.10am), with departures every 15 minutes during the day. The journey time is approximately 25 minutes, traffic dependent.
A single ticket costs €8.20 and can be bought from the machine at Platform 2, between Hall 1 and Halls 3/4 at the terminal. To include Marseille public transport at the other end of your journey costs an extra 60 cents.
A return journey is €13.10 (€14.10 including Marseille public transport on each leg). Children 5 and under travel free, while 6 to 11 year olds travel for half price. 12-25 year olds can get a discounted fare of €5.80 for a single. All the buses are air conditioned and have wheelchair access.
There is also the option of taking the train - the station is served by the SNCF station ‘Vitrolles Aeroport Marseille Provence’, and a free shuttle runs from the terminals to the station around 20 minutes before each departure. There are direct services to Marseille, as well as other towns such as Montpellier, Avignon and Toulon.
The journey to Marseille takes around 20 minutes, and costs €5.10 for a single. Departures are roughly every half an hour during the day, and tickets must be bought before boarding the train - either at the ticket desks at the station, or online.
A taxi by contrast will cost you around €50-60 to the city centre (and more at night). There may also be luggage supplements. Most taxis will accept credit cards, but have some cash on you to be sure. There are cash machines located inside the terminal buildings.
One of the other popular ways of arriving in the city will be by rail - Saint Charles is the main station, located around a 10 minute walk away from the Old Port and main sights of the city centre. The train connects with the city’s two Metro Lines, as well as acting as a main hub for the city’s bus routes.
Paris is around 3 hours away by TGV, and there are even a handful of direct Eurostar services from London, which clock in at 6 and a bit hours. There are also TGV connections with Lyon, Nice, Strasbourg as well as foreign destinations like Geneva and Frankfurt.
Be warned, however, that the station is located at the top of the town, and so you’ll have to navigate down some fairly steep slopes to walk to the city, which might not be ideal for those with heavy luggage. Worse still, walking back up from the Vieux Port to the station - best take a taxi, or avail yourself of the city’s public transport options.