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): Picture of Marseille’s Vieux-Port and the Notre Dame de la Garde The Vieux-Port of Marseille with the Notre Dame de la Garde in the background

As the 2nd largest city in France, Marseilles has more than a few attractions to offer! The city offers an exhilarating combination of the old and the new. Marseilles was founded over 2,600 years ago, which makes it the oldest city in France. This can be seen in the different architecture throughout the city: from the ancient Abbey of St. Victor to the Hôtel de Ville and Notre Dame de la Garde, Marseilles’ history is all around. Contrastingly, Marseilles is also very much a city of the new: it is known for its French hip hop and rap music, for example. The Mediterranean city boasts many cultural influences, and has become quite the melting pot. In 2013, Marseille will even be the European Capital of Culture! There’s no better time to visit Marseille, but where to begin?

To give you a little taste of what the city has to offer, we’ve assembled a guide to spending 48 hours in Marseilles! Read the entire story here…»


Sometimes there’s nothing more satisfying than combining hedonistic pleasures and environmental correctness, and that’s just what you can do if you decide to go to Marseille from March 12-17 and attend the 6th World Water Forum, organized by The World Water Council.

Marseille from the Sea Marseille from the Sea

A major undertaking that is as daunting as necessary, the World Water Forum has been mobilizing creativity, innovation, competence and know-how when it comes to water from 180 countries every three years since 1997. This is where all stakeholders work together on today’s local, regional and global issues to come up with a common set of goals for the future. Read the entire story here…»


Notre Dame de la Garde Basilica Marseille Notre Dame de la Garde Basilica Marseille

There are many reasons to visit Marseille, France’s second largest city after Paris, and its famous basilica Notre-Dame de la Garde never fails to appear on everybody’s top list of things to see. Considered a minor basilica by the Catholic Church, but a major landmark by pretty much everybody else, Marseille’s “bonne mère” (good mother) is as well-known for the famous hill on which it stands as for the breath-taking view you can enjoy from there.

Although the actual basilica was only built in 1853, the La Garde hill has played a significant role in the history of the area for many centuries in the various capacities of look-out post, military fortification and religious site. The first chapel was built there in 1214 and quickly became a popular place of worship. At the beginning of the 15th century, the building is expanded and a vault dedicated to St Gabriel is added. One century later, King Francis I of France decides to fortify the city of Marseille with two forts: the famous château d’If, on the nearby island of If, and the fortress on top of the La Garde hill, incorporating the chapel. Read the entire story here…»


Bocce on the Beach Bocce on the Beach

The second largest city of France, Marseille is also the oldest one, stretching back all the way to antiquity. Add to that a dreamy location by the sea, a coveted Mediterranean climate and the influence of many cultures brought by the constant flow of immigrants throughout the centuries, then you can see why the capital of the Provence-Côte d’Azur region can easily become a vacation destination in itself.

Summer is a busy time for the South of France, when hordes of stressed out visitors converge from all around the world to relax and explore. But for the past 11 years, Marseille has gone one step further by offering its “Activités sportives de plages” (“Beach Sporting Activities”) from the first weekend of July to the last weekend of August. So once you’ve marveled at the historic sites and unwounded on the warm sand, you will have to the perfect opportunity to get back in shape and have fun at the same time with more than 23 activities divided into three categories.

Among the aquatic options you can, for example, test your skills at water polo or good old swimming, keep fit with aquagym or be plain silly with body-boarding.

The nautical buffs will be able to go on an adventure in a pirogue or a paddle.

But it is on the ground that choices truly abound: from the local tradition of pétanque (or bocce) to the Chinese martial art of tai chi, without forgetting archery, skateboarding, boxing, rugby and more, feel free to go knock yourself out! Read the entire story here…»


Marseille, France Oceanfront Marseille, France Oceanfront

If you have decided to spend the holidays in the South of France (and who could blame you?) but are unsure of the location, allow us to recommend Marseille and its famous festival of lights. It takes no less than 26,000 bulbs, 13,000 meters of light strings, 95 decoration pieces, 170 light bouquets and 100 trees to bring 300 areas in the city to glorious life from November 25 to January 10. Bonus: If you’re there on December 17, you can even join the organized night walk that will take you to the most dazzling spots.

The holiday season is also the opportunity to reconnect with long-time traditions such as the Santon Festival, which has continuously taken place there since 1802. So from November 20 to December 31, 40 santon-makers will exhibit their small hand-painted terra cotta figurines and diligently work on their nativity scenes on the Place General de Gaulle. Read the entire story here…»


Longchamps in Marseille Photo Longchamps in Marseille Photo

Stepping out of Marseille’s main train station, La Gare St. Charles, onto the wide stone staircase, starts a vacation in the South of France in a most idyllic way; you’re welcomed with an elevated, all-encompassing view of the oldest city in France.  In the distance stands the majestic outline of Marseille’s basilica, Notre Dame de la Garde, or “La Bonne Mere.”  Perched on the city’s highest point, this basilica and its golden statue are visible from almost anywhere in the city. Hop in for a visit of Marseille!

From this 2 Bedroom Vacation Rental in Marseille (PR-824) situated in the heart of the city, you’re steps away from the early 19th century built Palais Longchamps.  Surrounded by one of France’s most notable gardens, the palace is home to the Marseille’s Art and Natural History museums.   From here you can take the newly restored Tramway or stroll down Marseille’s main boulevard La Canebière. Built in the 17th century with the Champs-Elysées in mind, this giant street is home to many outdoor cafés and markets, museums, lots of hotels, and the impressive gothic cathedral St Vincent de Paul. Read the entire story here…»


Cafe in Marseille, South of France Photo Cafe in Marseille, South of France Photo

Marseille tends to get a bad rap when it comes to South of France vacation destinations – and that’s a shame. While it’s not for everyone, Marseille has so much to offer to the discerning traveler. You can find various lists of Marseille attractions easily enough; but New York Habitat would like to have a serious talk to you foodies out there about just how amazing Marseille can be.

Bouillabaisse was invented in Marseille, and the city’s authentic restaurants take great pride in being a part of this bit of France’s culinary history. A hearty fish stew, it is traditionally served with several kinds of delectable fish on a plate, the bouillabaisse broth in a bowl, and small sliced of grilled bread in a basket or tray with a side of rouille, a mayonnaise made of olive oil, garlic, saffron and cayenne pepper. Read the entire story here…»


Marseille, Provence, France Fish Market photo Marseille, Provence, France Fish Market photo

Marseille, the third largest city in France, is often overlooked by tourists for no good reason. It may not have the glamour and romance of Paris, or the gastronomical reputation of Lyon, but Marseille is a fabulous city in its own right. And with your own Marseille vacation rental from New York Habitat, you can discover this for yourself.

Founded in 600 B.C. by the Greeks, this oldest city in France has served as a major port for all those who have controlled it. Today, it still serves as a major commercial port for France, and a stop at ‘le vieux port’ to watch the fishermen in action is a must. On a clear day, you’ll also be able to see the island castle Chateau d’If, where Dumas’ Count of Monte Cristo was exiled. You can also visit the island if you wish. There are also many museums, displaying everything from Roman relics to works by Picasso. Sports fans will definitely want to take in a fooball or rugby game at the Stade Velodrome in Marseille. The local team, ‘Olympique de Marseille’ is one of the biggest and most competitive teams in France. Even walking through the city itself is enjoyable, especially for film buffs, who may recognize backgrounds from “The French Connection” or “The Bourne Identity”.

Marseille also has a rich culinary tradition. The fish soup ‘bouillabaisse’ is a renowned dish of the region. Due to its Mediterranean location and climate, you’ll also find many dishes that you might associate more with Italy, such as aioli and olive tapenade. And with your dessert, enjoy a glass of ‘pastis’, the drink of choice in the South of France.

We hope all these travel tips about Marseille convinced you that this city is a real jewel for the travellers. Read the entire story here…»


Velib velo France Velib velo France

Since July 2007, Parisians have been taking advantage of Vélib (from the French vélo en libre service), the city’s new eco-friendly shared bike service that makes it easy to forego fuel-eating cars for something kinder to the environment in Paris.

The public bike rental system is (almost) free, and has become the hip new way for city-dwellers and tourists alike to get to work, run errands or take a leisurely jaunt through the city. To rent a bike, simply head to one of Paris’ 750 renting stations and swipe a credit card at the “borne”, or atm-like machine, get a bicycle pass, unlock the bike, and take off! The first half-hour is free; or you can purchase one hour (1 Euro), a week (5 Euros), or apply for a yearly pass (29 Euros) by mail. When finished with your ride, simply park the bike an any station near your stopping point. Well-equipped with baskets and easily-adjustable seats, these bicycles are making alternative transit easy and fun! Read the entire story here…»