How to get here in and out-Marseille
Plenty of transportation options here, the transport site
the park relays to drop off your car and come into the city at
Rond Point du Prado, Boulevard Michelet, enter by the alley on side
Bouganville, located by boulevard de Magallon ,and the traverse du Bachas
Saint Just, located at rue Beauregard, between boulevard Verd and boulevard Barry
La Fourragére, located at avenue des Caillols
Louis Armand, located by boulevard Louis Armand
La Timone, located by rue St Pierre
La Rose, Frais Vallon, La Rose, located by boulevard du Métro
Frais Vallon ,located by avenue de la Rose and the impasse de la Farandole
public parkings in the city webpage http://carto.marseille.fr/geoweb/cityportal/CityPortal/map.do?X=850000&Y=115500&Scale=10&typeId=37&tabname=plan&opac=100&mode=Plan
on public transport, an email for further information , firstname.lastname@example.org
The bus station, or gare routiére,open 7j/7, two ticket offices on the quais 10-11-12 for regular lines and 1 , 2 for international lines, contact tel +33 (0) 4.91.08.16.40 M-F from 7h30 to 19h ,Saturdays and holidays except May 1 from 8h-13h and 14h-19h (close Sundays) or email standardGRM@rtm.fr
the navette bus from airport to city center , is info official here http://www.navettemarseilleaeroport.com/
regional bus service network Cartreize from the bus terminal:
34 MARTIGUES (par Port Saint Louis du Rhône) TRANSPORTS ROBERT
50 AIX EN PROVENCE (Navette par autoroute) RDT 13
51 AIX EN PROVENCE (par RN8) RDT 13
53 AIX EN PROVENCE (par ZI Les Milles) RDT 13
64 TRETS (par Gardanne, Rousset, Peynier) SAP
88 VITROLLES (par Berre l'Etang) TRANSPROVENCE / SNT SUMA
89 VITROLLES (par LES PENNES MIRABEAU) TRANSPROVENCE / SNT SUM
91 AEROPORT Marseille Provence (par autoroute) TRANSPROVENCE
the bus service network of LEA from the bus terminal
17 AIX EN PROVENCE - CAVAILLON - CARPENTRAS VOYAGES ARNAUD
20 AIX EN PROVENCE - NICE PHOCEENS CARS
24 MANOSQUE AUTOCARS BREMOND / SCAL
25 VOLX - MANOSQUE- FORCALQUIER AUTOCARS BREMOND
27 GREOUX - CASTELLANE AUTOCARS SUMIAN
28 DIGNE AUTOCARS BREMOND / AUTOCARS PAYAN / SCAL / SUD EST MOBILITES
29 GAP - BRIANCON SCAL
30 GAP - BARCELONNETTE SCAL
31 NICE - SISTERON - GRENOBLE PHOCEENS CARS / SCAL
and the regional transport site for all modes here at paca mobilité
international bus lines webpage http://www.eurolines.fr/fr/
you can go to from bus terminal in Marseille , Germany, Spain (Madrid, Barcelona, Murcia), Slovakia, Prague, Czech Rep, Belgrade, italy,Holland,Belgium,Morocco, Hungary,Viena, Austria,London,Portugal, Poland (also serve by the lines of the company ALBATROS), and Romania(also serve by the bus line of company ATLASSIB FRANTA)
you can take a boat taxi from Vieux Port to Pointe Rouge ,see map here http://www.rtm.fr/sites/all/libraries/ckfinder/userfiles/files/plan_navette(1).pdf
2,50€ ,and from March 1 to May 14 every hour depart from 7h to 19h. From May 15 to September 15 depart every hour from 7h to 22h
trace your itineraties for all above here
and great blog with transport info in the city
you can find your schedules and line on metro ,tramway or bus here
you can catch the train at gare St Charles, very nice
or the train station
for toilets in train station here
there is also an airport nearby
the bus from airport to city and nearby
the train from airport to city and vv
grab a taxi at airport
take a cruise ship from Marseille and in
the boat crisscrossing the bay, for taxi and transportation
and not to missed the Ferry boat across the bay ,now new and modern.
The petit train or tourist train in marseille
The bus touristique or tourist bus upper deck of marseille
nice webcam of the vieux port of Marseille
info on taxis of Marseille here
- Road Trip
- Family Travel
Paris gare Lyon to Marseille St Charles by TGV in 3 hours and 20 mins. Fast smooth journey.Thats fast.! To travel on TGV trains you need a ticket with a seat reservation.Ticket can be bought online or in person at the rail station.
Marseille City Pass Worth a Look
Like most major cities Marseille has a pass that allows entrance to the City's museums, major attractions and allows use of local transport. In Marseille it is called the City Pass. Some of the things it covers includes;
Visit Marseille with an all inclusive package. The City-Pass is valid for 24hrs, 48hrs or 72hrs. The pass gives you access to many tourist and cultural services : on foot, by train or by boat, discover the oldest city of france !
-Free acces to the city museums
-Guided Tours of the town (Panier, Saint-Victor, Longchamp…) Reservations: 0826 500 500
-Visit of the If-Castle
-Free access to the subway and buses
-Tourist train to Notre-Dame de la Garde or The old Town : le Panier
-Boat to the If-Castle or the Frioul Islands
- Other discounts
Considering the boat trip to the If Castle or islands is at least half the price of the pass it is worth it for folks planning as little as one to two days in Marseille. Unfortunately we learned about the pass a little late in the first day we were in the City.
The cost of the pass is 24 euros for 1 day, 31 for 2 days, and 39 euros for 3 days. The above rates are for adults. There are special rates for families.
For more information on the City pass visit the following link;
The Frioul If Express
From the Old Port in the center of Marseille there are boats that run several times a day to the Frioul Islands, a group of four small islands just off the coast at a distance of about four kilometers from the harbor.
The most famous of these islands is the Île d'If, the site of a prison that figures prominently in the novel The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas père (1802-1870).
Most of the boats go from Marseille by way of the Île d'If to Port Frioul and then back to Marseille. The journey typically takes 25 minutes from Marseille to If, then 15 minutes from If to Port Frioul and then another 35 minutes from Port Frioul to Marseille, making a total of one hour and fifteen minutes for the round trip.
If you visit only one of the islands, the cost of a round-trip ticket is € 10.10. For a combined trip to both islands, If and Frioul, the round-trip costs € 15.20. (Prices as of April 2013.) They also sell one-way tickets for € 5.10, but this will probably not be of much use unless you know someone on Frioul with a boat.
The boat I took was called the Edmond Dantès (third and fifth photos), named after the protagonist of The Count of Monte Cristo.
The booking office and the dock in Marseille are located at 1 Quai de la Fraternité (formerly Quai des Belges) at the Old Port.
Next Frioul tip: On the Frioul If Express
Directions: Location on le vélo map.
The nearest bicycle station is 1211 -- Beauvau Suffren.
In March 2012 the German and French railways inaugurated a direct high-speed train connection between Frankfurt am Main and Marseille via Mannheim, Karlsruhe, Strasbourg, Lyon, Avignon and Aix-en-Provence. For the time being there is only one such train per day – but that’s much better than none!
Their original intention was to use a new version of the German ICE (InterCityExpress) for this run, but as usual the ICE had technical difficulties so service is currently provided by a double-decker French TGV train (“Train of Great Speed”) which leaves Frankfurt each afternoon at 14:01. The journey to Marseille takes seven hours and forty-five minutes, so the train arrives at Saint Charles station in Marseille at 21:46 in the evening.
The return train leaves Marseille at 8:14 in the morning. It reaches Frankfurt at 15:58 in the afternoon.
The full price (which few people actually pay) for a one-way ticket from Frankfurt to Marseille is currently € 147.00 (as of 2013), but I booked on the German railways website and got one of their “Europa-Spezial” tickets for 69.00 Euros.
For the return trip I wasn’t as lucky. Since the French railways require reservations – and do not sell more tickets than they have seats – it can happen that the train is sold out well in advance. I originally wanted to return on a Sunday, but since no more tickets were available I stayed on an extra day in Marseille and returned on Monday. The return trip cost me 98.40 Euros because there were no “Europa-Spezial” tickets available on that day, but I did get a reduction with my German rail card (BahnCard 50).
There is no dining car on the TGV trains, but otherwise I found the journey quite pleasant and comfortable. Refreshments are available at the TGV bar in the middle of the train (fifth photo).
Gare Saint Charles
This is the main railway station for Marseille. In a typical hour, trains arrive from Avignon, Brussels, Le Havre, Paris, Toulon, Bordeaux, Lyon, Aix-en-Provence and Hyeres. And once a day there is even a direct train from Frankfurt am Main.
As you can see from the first photo, the station is up on a hill or plateau. To get up there you can climb the grand staircase and feel suitably awed, or you can make a slight detour around to the left where there is a more prosaic entrance with escalators.
The staircase was finished in 1926 and was intended to glorify the French colonial empire, since Marseille was where people came by train to board their Messageries Maritimes steamships for the Far East or wherever. So this was the gateway to the colonies, so to speak, and was meant to be monumental. Presumably they had porters to carry their luggage.
The architect of the staircase was a man named Eugène Senès (1875-1960), who won an architectural competition in 1911 but didn’t actually get to construct the staircase until the 1920s.
On the staircase there are various sculptures intended to symbolize “The Colonies of Africa” and “The Colonies of Asia” as well as “Marseille as the Gateway to the Orient”. (These sculptures did not impress me particularly, so I neglected to take pictures of them, but perhaps I should have done so out of historical interest. Maybe next time.)
Second photo: Two of the tracks in the station.
Third photo: Trains at the station (from one of my hotels).
Fourth photo: Outside the station.
Fifth photo: Train leaving for Toulon on track 3.
Bike sharing system le vélo
Marseille has a bike sharing system called “le vélo” (not a very catchy name) that is similar to Vélib’ in Paris and Vé’lov in Lyon. It is run by the same company that runs the Paris and Lyon systems, JCDecaux.
In the General (Favorite) tips on my Paris page I have described in detail how these systems work, so I won’t repeat it all here. Suffice it to say that these bike sharing systems really do work – in Paris and Lyon, but not in Marseille.
In both Paris and Lyon you constantly see people riding around on the Vélib’ or Vélo'v bikes. And at the bike stations there is a lot of coming and going, as people check out bikes or bring them back. (See the photos on my Paris and Lyon pages.)
In Marseille you occasionally see someone riding one of the blue bikes, but not often. Usually the bikes just sit in the stations, unused.
The system has been operational in Marseille since October 2007. After the resounding success of the systems in Lyon (since May 2005) and Paris (since July 2007), the city of Marseille was hoping to have fifty thousand annual subscribers to le vélo. In reality, the number of subscribers peaked at 8,825 in the year 2008, and has been going down ever since.
By way of comparison: at last count, Vélo’v in Lyon had 42,000 annual subscribers. Vélib’ in Paris had 224,000. Paris of course has more inhabitants than Marseille, but Lyon has fewer.
It is not hard to understand why le vélo has been such a flop in Marseille. The main reason is that Marseille does not have anything resembling an adequate cycling infrastructure. Paris and Lyon (and many other French cities) have been rapidly installing new bicycle lanes and parking facilities; Marseille has hardly any.
Another reason is that in Marseille the system shuts down at night. You can return a bike at any time, but you can’t check one out between midnight and 6 a.m. In both Paris and Lyon, the systems are fully functional twenty-four hours a day and are used extensively at night, after the Métro, buses and trams have stopped running. (See my tip Vélib' at night on my Paris page.)
The bike sharing system in Marseille is not expensive, by the way. An annual subscription costs all of five Euros (in Paris 29 Euros), and a weekly ticket in Marseille is only one Euro (in Paris 8 Euros) – prices as of 2013.
I had a weekly ticket for le vélo and used it occasionally, but it was really hard to get where I wanted to go by bicycle (even though I am an experienced urban cyclist, as you may have noticed).
The bike station in my first photo is 1210 – Beauvau Canabière, with the opera house in the background two blocks away.
Second photo: The bike station 2272 – Joliette Dunkerque.
Third photo: The main terminal at bike station 1301 – Saint Charles Marseillaises.
Fourth and fifth photos: A lady on one of the blue bikes. (Her boyfriend had one, too.)
The Marseille Métro
Marseille has two Métro lines (also known in other parts of the world as the underground, the tube or the subway). Both of these lines serve the main railway station Saint Charles. The trains run every few minutes, so they are very convenient for travelers arriving by train who want to go to other parts of the city.
My recommendation for tourists, however, is to use the Métro as little as possible. On my Paris page I have written a tip called Five or six reasons not to take the Métro. Some of these reasons also apply to Marseille, even though the cycling infrastructure is not nearly as good in Marseille as it is in Paris.
The construction of the Marseille Métro was a unanimous decision of the Marseille city council in 1969. The stated purpose of the Métro was to reduce traffic congestion, but of course it had the opposite effect because the additional road space soon attracted additional cars, so traffic congestion was soon worse than ever.
There are plans to extend the existing Métro lines a bit further, but no new Métro lines are being planned as far as I know.
In my first photo, showing the long escalators descending into the depths of the Métro, there is an advertisement for Euroméditerranée, which is said to be the largest urban renewal project in southern Europe. The advert reads: “Euroméditerranée is building the Marseille of tomorrow”
The new tramways in Marseille
Unlike most French cities, which had a half-century hiatus between the closing of their original tram systems and the opening of their new modern ones, Marseille likes to boast that its original tram system was never completely abolished.
This is true, but only because one of the many original tram lines survived the mass closures of the post-war auto-mania period. From 1960 to 2004 only one tram line remained in operation. That was the old line 68, which survived because its central terminus was in a tunnel, so it could not easily be replaced by buses.
In the year 2000 Marseille started building a modern new tramway system, which began operation in 2007. Currently there are two tram lines, the T-1, which incorporates the old line 68 including the tunnel, and the T-2, which is completely new. More construction is underway, and there are plans to reorganize the system into three tramway lines.
As in other French cities, the building of the tramway is not an isolated project, but is part of a concerted effort to reduce motor traffic, upgrade neighborhoods, plant trees, improve the street lighting, widen sidewalks and install cycle paths.
Marseille has unfortunately not been consistent about installing cycle paths, especially in the city center.
For more on the new French tramway systems, see my tips on the tramways in Lyon, Strasbourg and Paris and on the extension of the Paris tramway which went into operation in December 2012.
On the Frioul If Express
As soon as the Frioul If Express leaves the harbor it suddenly speeds up and leaves Marseille behind in its wake.
Second photo: One of the many sailboats as seen from the Frioul If Express.
Third photo: Looking back towards the cathedral Sainte-Marie-Majeure and Fort Saint Jean.
Next Frioul tip: Views from the Frioul If Express
Views from the Frioul If Express
The island in the first photo is the Île d’If with its castle.
On the right up on the hill is the Basilica Notre-Dame-de-la-Garde.
Second photo: The row of stones in the foreground of this photo is a breakwater at one of the Frioul Islands.
Third photo: Off to the left in this photo is Marseille’s tallest building, the Tour CMA CGM.
Next Frioul tip: Île d’If
At the end of our walking tour, our guide told us that if we wanted to see some of the coast of Marseille south of the old harbor, an easy and inexpensive way to do this was to ride the number 83 bus to Métro Rond Point du Prado and back.
So I did that on my last day in Marseille. Unfortunately it was an overcast day, so the views were not spectacular, but I’m sure they would be much better on a sunny day.
In my first photo some small islands are visible through the bus window. These are the Frioul Islands, including the Île d’If with its castle and tower, which are visible in the second photo.
On the screen in the first photo are the initials “rtm”, standing for the city transport authority, the “Régie des Transport de Marseille”, and their slogan “changer de mode”. This slogan is somewhat clever because it can mean either “change your style” (of clothes, for example) or “change your mode” (of transportation).
According to the RTM website, Marseille has 77 bus lines with 1200 bus stops, served by 595 buses and 1428 drivers. All the buses have video surveillance.
Back to the beginning of our guided walking tour
Back to my Marseille intro page
I happened to be in Marseille on the day of their third annual Vélotour, which is described as “a unique festival in France, centered around an unusual bicycle ride, free style and accessible to everyone: men and women from 0-90 years!” They stress that Vélotour is not a competition, but rather an opportunity to re-discover the city and have a good time with family, colleagues and friends.
As you can see from the first photo, a lot of children took part. Nearly all the participants, children and adults, had to ride on the sidewalks in the center of Marseille, because there are no bicycle lanes and the streets are too narrow and dangerous.
The poster in the second photo reads: “Marseille as you have never seen it!”
Then it lists some of the participating institutions, the very first of which is the Marseille Opera. The opera house was one of the suggested stops on a 15 to 25 kilometer tour of the city. Here they could stop and have a look at the inside of the opera house (but I don’t know exactly how this was organized or what was offered).
According to the Vélotour website, Marseille is one of four French cities to offer a Vélotour festival each year. The concept originated in Dijon in 2006. It was taken up by Orléans in 2009 and by Marseille in 2010. A fourth city, Grenoble, will have a Vélotour for the first time on June 2, 2013.
In Marseille, six thousand people took part in the third annual Vélotour in 2012. The fourth edition is scheduled for September 29, 2013.
Third photo: Advertising for Vélotour at a le vélo bicycle station.
There really are some bicycle lanes in Marseille – just not enough and not where people need them.
I took the first two photos through a tinted window of the tramway T-1 up at Air Bel. The third photo is from Joliette, near the new urban development project Euroméditerranée. I actually rode on this particular bike lane, which was fine except that it ended after a block or two.
There are no bicycle lanes in the city center and none between the center and the Saint Charles railway station. Most of the streets are narrow and filled with speeding cars, so most people end up riding their bikes on the sidewalk. This is slow and inconvenient for cyclists and is a major annoyance for pedestrians, who after all have a right to walk safely and comfortably.
Marseille has an association called VéloUtile which is attempting to improve the cycling situation and change people’s attitudes – an uphill battle!
In France there is an organization of 214 cities, regions and departments called the Club des Villes et Territoires Cyclables (Club of Cyclable Cities and Territories) that was formed for the purpose of promoting bicycle usage through traffic calming and through a more equitable allotment of public space.
The cities of Paris, Lyon, Strasbourg, Toulon and Metz are all members of this club. Marseille is not a member.
CATCH THE TRAM
Would you believe the tramway in Marseille began operating in January, 1876, and still is operating to this very day. Forget about the old fashioned Horse drawn Trams used then, now they have the most modern electric Trams plying the streets of Marseille.
There are 2 Tram-lines, with a third being built.
We used one when we were walking to Palais Longchamp and got tired. The Tram ran down the middle of the street, and you buy your tickets from a machine. Fast and efficient, it was a good ride!
The listed website shows where the Trams run.
T1 Noailles - Les Caillols (6.1 miles)
T2 Arenc - La Blancade (5.4 miles)
M1 La Rose - La Fourragère (12.9 miles)
M2 Bougainville - Sainte-Marguerite Dromel (8.2 miles
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