Where to Stay in Marseille – 5 BEST Areas (+Hotels!)

Sunset view over Marseille featuring the iconic Ferris wheel beside the ornate Cathedral of Notre-Dame de la Major, with the Mediterranean Sea in the background

The ancient city of Marseille is located along the shore of the Mediterranean Sea in southern France. It is the oldest city in France, founded by the Greeks in 600 BC, and the capital of the Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur region, so it tends to attract many travelers. If this sounds appealing (and I’m sure it does), you’ll start wondering where to stay in Marseille.

Well, no need to wonder! I’ve compared all Marseille neighborhoods and carefully selected the top 5. 

The Old Port (Le Vieux Port in French) is the best area to stay in the city, especially if you’re visiting Marseille for the first time and want to be within walking distance of the main attractions and the best restaurants.

I decided to make things even easier for you, so I went through nearly all the Marseille hotels and handpicked the very best ones. There’s an option in each price category, so I’m sure you’ll find something that suits your travel preferences. 

Whichever area you choose, make sure to book your hotel as far in advance as possible. The city may be fairly small, but it sure is popular, and the best rooms always book out quickly!

Quick Picks for Your Stay

Don’t have time to read the whole post? Check out the best hotels in Marseille’s Old Port:

To help you visualize the city, here’s a map of the Marseille neighborhoods featured in this post:

A colorful map highlighting the best areas to stay in Marseille with numbered locations and labels for easy navigations
  1. Old Port: for first-timers
  2. Le Panier: for history buffs
  3. Notre Dame du Mont : for nightlife
  4. La Corniche & Roucas-Blanc: for beaches
  5. LA JOLIETTE : for budget travelers

1. Old Port (Le Vieux Port) – for first-timers

The bustling Vieux Port of Marseille, featuring a historic fort, boats docked in a marina, and the cityscape under a partly cloudy sky.

Located at the very end of La Canebière, Marseille’s most famous street is the city’s Old Port, i.e., the Vieux Port. Even though it may be old, the Vieux Port is the heart and soul of Marseille and is a hub of constant activity, teeming with locals and tourists alike! 

Make sure to go for a stroll by the water in the morning and buy some fish from the Marché aux Poissons fish market (map). But if you don’t feel like preparing your own meal, you can always opt for a delicious meal at one of the great fish restaurants lined along the port. 

The Old Port area consists of several smaller neighborhoods, but there are 2 that deserve your undivided attention – Opera and Saint Victor. 

As you can probably gather from the name, the Opera neighborhood houses the Opéra de Marseille which hosts a variety of cultural events. The Saint Victor neighborhood, on the other hand, is home to the Abbaye Saint-Victor (map), an abbey that supposedly holds the relics of the city’s patron saint, Saint Victor. 

From Saint Victor, you can easily hop into the adjacent neighborhood of Pharo and visit the Palais du Pharo (map), built for Napoleon in 1858, and even go for a swim at Plage des Catalans (map), a small but lovely beach. 

Vieux Port is one of the most touristy areas in the city, so there’s always something to do, which appeals to different types of visitors. You’ll see everyone from solo travelers to families with kids. Plus, there’s a great selection of hotels —my top picks are featured below.

Luxury hotel
A collage of three hotel photos showing interiors with a touch of luxury: a foyer with grand staircase and monochrome decor, a lush green vertical garden beside outdoor seating, and a modern living area with vibrant orange accents.

This five-star hotel perfectly mixes modern comforts with classic elegant style. Located in a 19th-century private mansion, Hotel C2 has incredibly bright and spacious rooms with all the facilities you could possibly want. Comfort aside, it’s a good option for tourists because of its central location, just a short walk from the main attractions.

Other accommodation options in Old Port / Vieux Port

Mid-Range
An inviting corner in a boutique hotel with a sunny yellow wall and eclectic art frames

A boutique hotel offering modern rooms with private bathrooms and free Wi-Fi, plus a daily buffet breakfast

Budget
An intimate rooftop terrace furnished with plush seating and a wooden table

This aparthotel is in a great location and provides accommodation in fully equipped studios and apartments

Airbnb
A minimalist bedroom with a large bed dressed in white linens

A 1-bedroom apartment with a kitchenette and a balcony overlooking the Vieux Port area and Notre Dame de la Garde

Things to do in the Old Port / Vieux Port

  • Go for a stroll along La Canebière
  • Buy some fresh fish from the Marché aux Poissons fish market
  • Take a ferry to the former prison, Château d’If
  • Explore the Opera and Saint Victor neighborhoods 
  • Admire the ruins at Port Antique (map), a small public park in Vieux Port
  • Visit the Marseille History Museum
  • Stop for a hot drink at the Cup Of Tea (map) tea salon 
  • Go for a ride on Les Petits Trains de Marseille

2. Le Panier – best area to stay for history & museums

A frontal view of the intricately patterned facade of the Marseille Cathedral, with clear blue skies above and scaffolding around the entrance.

If you’re like me and believe that there is no better way to really feel at one with a city than to know its history, then head over to Le Panier (the Basket in English). It’s located on the water, just North of the Vieux Port, and is a very hip and trendy neighborhood where you can see how the city’s inhabitants have embraced both the new and old.

NOTE: Le Panier covers a larger area and also encompasses the La Joliette neighborhood, (which you can read more about below). In this section, I’ll cover everything in Le Panier, aside from La Joliette. 

Le Panier is a former fishing village and the oldest neighborhood in the city. It is renowned for its narrow, hilly streets lined with colorful murals. The area is an attraction in itself, so take at least a day to explore it — just remember to put on your walking shoes! 

The main attraction in the area is the Old Charity Center (map), an old beggars’ home dating back to the 17th century that now houses a cinema and a couple of museums. If you’re in the mood for shopping, you can explore one of the colorful markets in the area – I’d recommend Marché Du Soleil (map) for a good bargain on shoes and clothes. 

Apart from the colorful murals and steep streets, the one thing that stands out about this neighborhood is the sheer number of staircases. It seems that just about every rental apartment or cafe is located at least one staircase up. It truly is a mystery to me what they are doing with all the ground levels!

When looking for a place to stay in Le Panier, keep the staircases in mind!

Luxury hotel
A collage of three images from a hotel with stunning views and rooms: a dining area overlooking a cityscape, a bedroom with plush bedding and dark tones, and a spacious bathroom featuring a classic freestanding bathtub

This beautiful hotel won’t let you forget you’re on vacation in the Mediterranean! With sweeping balconies, stunning views, and modern designs, this luxurious 5-star hotel is a perfect choice for anyone looking for a high-class getaway in Marseille. You can enjoy a spa day and make the most of the indoor swimming pool, sauna, and gym. 

Other accommodation options in Le Panier

Mid-Range
A minimalistic living room in an apartment with a gray sofa and wooden furniture

Clean and convenient aparthotel, perfect for families or groups of friends looking for a little more privacy

Budget
A small modern dining space with a white round table and two plush velvet chairs

A lovely B&B offers amenities such as Wi-Fi access, air conditioning, and a hammam for your exclusive use 

Airbnb
A bedroom with bohemian decor, featuring a bed with blue bedding

Super cute loft apartment located in a historic building, nestled between the best museums in the city

Things to do in Le Panier

  • Walk around the winding streets and admire the murals
  • Check out the Museum of the Roman Docks
  • Explore the Old Charity Center
  • Stop by the historic Catholic church, Eglise Saint Laurent (map)
  • Spend an afternoon shopping at Marché Du Soleil
  • Try the delicious seafood at Entre Terre & Mer (map)

3. Notre Dame du Mont – where to stay for nightlife

A picturesque view of Marseille cityscape with Notre-Dame de la Garde basilica perched on a hilltop, as seen from a vantage point amidst urban buildings.

If colorful street art, vintage shops, quirky street performers, and, of course, bustling nightlife in narrow streets simply call your name, Notre Dame du Mont is the place for you! This small neighborhood is situated East of the Vieux Port, within walking distance of the top attractions, and is a hub of activity all day and all night long!

If your main mission is to party the night away, make sure to head straight to La Plaine, i.e., Jean Jaures Square (map). Packed full of bars, restaurants, and clubs, this is the center of nightlife in the city.

During the day, this fun area continues to live up to the hype, with plenty of hipster boutiques, coffee shops, and vintage shops. This area is quite international meaning it has a super unique vibe and is quite different from the other areas in this historical city.

While here, don’t miss out on the opportunity to snap a photo of the Cours Julien staircase (map) and catch a live music performance at Espace Julien.

Luxury hotel
A collage of three hotel photos offering unique decor and ambiance: a cozy lounge with plush seating and natural elements, a bright bedroom with blue accents and a touch of yellow, and a serene courtyard with historic architecture and greenery

An upscale boutique hotel with bright and spacious rooms, each with a private bathroom stocked with free toiletries. Buffet and continental breakfast options are available daily, and the kind and helpful staff is always ready to assist you with anything during your stay.

Other accommodation options in Notre Dame du Mont

Mid-Range
A serene private courtyard with a small pool, surrounded by flowering plants

B&B set in a farmhouse full of antique furniture, offering an organic breakfast and access to a swimming poo

Budget
A serene bedroom featuring a bed with white bedding and a dark blue throw

A budget accommodation offering family rooms and apartments with a fully equipped kitchen, a dining area, and a bedroom

Airbnb
A bright open-plan living area with a contemporary kitchen, light gray sofa, and round coffee table

Just a stone’s throw away from Vieux Port, this apartment has a cozy living room and a comfortable bedroom

Things to do in Notre Dame du Mont

  • Party all night in ‘La Plaine’
  • See the ​​Parish Church of Notre-Dame-du-Mont (map)
  • Admire the street art & take pictures on the colorful stairs at Cours Julien
  • Attend a live music show at Espace Julien
  • Explore the offer at Marché de la Plaine market (map)
  • Enjoy a delicious dinner at La Cantinetta (map)

4. La Corniche & Le ​​Roucas-Blanc – for the best beaches

A stunning view of a secluded cove with turquoise waters, anchored sailing boats, surrounded by cliffs and a striking orange mountain backdrop.

La Corniche is essentially one long seafront promenade that runs along the Mediterranean coast, South of Vieux Port, offering some of the most breathtaking views in France. Le Roucas-Blanc is a neighborhood that sits high above La Corniche on the famous white rocks, after which the area is named.

Prophet’s Beach (map) in Le ​​Roucas-Blanc is the most popular spot in the area and attracts a large number of visitors. In my opinion, this is a must-visit during your stay, but if you have the time, I’d also recommend venturing out to the neighboring area of La Plage and the gorgeous Prado Beach (map). 

Le ​​Roucas-Blanc offers unbelievable views from every angle. Still, nothing can beat the panoramic overview from the Basilica of Notre Dame de la Garde (map), situated at the highest point in the city. Nearby, you’ll also find Parc Borély (map), a great place to visit if you want to skip the beach for a day. 

The area around La Corniche and Le ​​Roucas-Blanc is also the safest area in the city, which makes it perfect for a worry-free family stay or a romantic getaway. Plus, the location is great for planning day trips! I suggest exploring Calanques National Park (map) near Marseille – it’s just half an hour’s drive from Marseille, and well worth it. 

Finally, I want to point out that Marseille is ideally located for exploring other cities in Provence (such as Avignon) and on the French Riviera, for example, Cannes or Nice, so if you’re traveling with a car, you can take a day trip to one of these amazing places. And even if you’re not, you can always rent a car and embark on an adventure.

Luxury hotel
A collage of three hotel photos that capture the essence of seaside relaxation: a minimalist office space with tranquil views, a sleek bedroom opening onto a balcony with ocean panorama, and a luxurious living area bathed in natural light

This hotel seems too good to be true. Located right on the La Corniche, the view from the start to the end of the day is a sight to behold. Wake up and enjoy the stunning views through your floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking the ocean, order room service, and then take a dip in the ultra-luxurious swimming pool.

Other accommodation options in La Corniche & Roucas-Blanc

Mid-Range
An intimate spa area in a stone-clad room with a small illuminated pool

A gorgeous hotel with an infinity swimming pool, a garden, free parking, and both American and continental breakfast 

Budget
A cozy bedroom featuring a floral-patterned bedspread

A cozy, fully equipped house within walking distance of the beach, featuring a balcony and an outdoor dining area

Airbnb
A chic and spacious living area with a gray sofa, white chairs and a wooden dining table

Beautiful, bright, and modern apartment with 1 bedroom and a living room with a sofa bed

Things to do in La Corniche & Roucas-Blanc

  • Go for a long stroll along La Corniche
  • Spend a day soaking up the sun at Prophet’s Beach
  • See the views from the Basilica of Notre Dame de la Garde 
  • Venture out to the Orange Vélodrome (map) stadium to see its unique roof
  • Go on a relaxing stroll at Parc Borély 
  • Explore the La Plage and go swimming at Prado Beach
  • Take a trip to Calanques National Park

5. La Joliette – where to stay in Marseille on a budget

A scenic view of Marseille featuring the Mucem Museum and the historic Cathedral La Major under a picturesque cloudy sky

My final recommendation for staying in Marseille goes out to the small waterfront neighborhood of La Joliette. Situated West of Vieux Port and part of the larger Le Panier neighborhood, this is a very quaint area, perfect if you want to be close to the main attractions in the city center without overpaying for accommodation. 

One of the top things to do in this area is visit museums. The first one you should visit — and an absolute must-visit — is the Mucem — Museum of Civilizations of Europe and the Mediterranean. Then, you can have some fun at the Museum of Illusions or admire the art at the Musée Regards de Provence

Other notable landmarks in the area are the Cathédrale Basilique Sainte-Marie-Majeure (map) and Fort Saint-Jean (map). When you’re done sightseeing and museum-hopping, you can indulge in some shopping at Les Terrasses du Port shopping mall (map). 

And if you’re up for a big adventure, hop on a ferry from Quai du Maroc! You can catch the ferry to Corsica or even opt for a visit to North Africa – there’s a ferry to Algeria! More information on prices and schedules is available here.

Luxury hotel
A collage of three hotel photos highlighting contemporary design and comfort: a simple yet elegant bedroom with hardwood floors, a chic reception area with golden tones and modern art, and a vibrant lounge with eclectic furniture and ample seating

A hotel with a rich history that still retains its original style and offers comfortable rooms with modern amenities, each with a private bathroom. Guests can book family rooms, enjoy the view from the roof terrace, grab a delicious cocktail at the bar, and have an unforgettable dining experience at the on-site restaurant. 

Other accommodation options in La Joliette

Mid-Range
A cheerful bedroom with a colorful striped wall behind a bed with crisp white linen

This 3-star hotel has modern rooms and is in the perfect location for exploring the rest of the city

Budget
The exterior of MEININGER Marseille Hotel showing a modern, clean-lined facade

Within walking distance of the Joliette metro station, this hotel has family rooms and a 24/7 front desk 

Airbnb
A comfortable living room with a navy blue L-shaped sofa

A 3-bedroom apartment that accommodates up to six guests, with air conditioning and Wi-Fi, a short walk from tourist attractions

Things to do in La Joliette

  • Explore the collection at Mucem – Museum of Civilizations of Europe
  • Visit the Museum of Illusions and the Musée Regards de Provence.
  • See the ​​Cathédrale Basilique Sainte-Marie-Majeure
  • Check out Fort Saint-Jean
  • Spend a day shopping at Les Terrasses du Port shopping mall
  • Take a ferry to Corsica and spend a few days there
👑 Luxury price:€230
💵 Mid-range hotel:€150
🛏️ Budget:€80
📍 Best area:Old Port
🛎️ Best luxury hotel:Hotel C2
🧳 Best mid-range hotel:Hôtel Marsiho
👛 Best budget hotel:Les Appartements du Vieux Port

FAQs about where to stay in Marseille

A majestic view of the Château d'If off the coast of Marseille, with clear blue waters, sailing boats, and a backdrop of the city's terracotta rooftops.

🕵️‍♀️ Is Marseille a safe city?

Yes, it is. Though its reputation has been slightly tarnished due to its history of trafficking and gambling, most parts of Marseille, especially the neighborhoods mentioned in this post, are generally safe.

🌆 Is Marseille a good city for tourists to visit?

Yes! The city has always been and still is an excellent destination for tourists. This city really has something for everyone, with distinct areas full of history, museums, art, nightlife, and beaches!

📍 What is the best arrondissement to stay in Marseille? 

Arrondissement 1 (the Vieux Port) area is the best place to stay in Marseille. It is the heart and soul of the city at the center of the action with its old-school charm and countless attractions.

🚣‍♂️ What are the best hotels in the Old Port area of Marseille? 

Hotel C2 is the best luxury hotel in the Old Port neighborhood, while Hôtel Marsiho is a great choice for mid-range travelers. If you’re traveling on a budget, Les Appartements du Vieux Port is the best option.

📅 How many days do I need in Marseille?

I recommend 3 days, if not more, for a trip to Marseille, which should be enough time to explore the Vieux Port, have a fun night out in Le Panier, and if you’re traveling in summer, spend a day on Prophet’s Beach. 

🚶🏽 Is Marseille walkable?

Yes, Marseille is a walkable city; in fact, walking is the best way to explore the city. However, I have to warn you that some parts of the city are quite hilly and steep, so I suggest you wear comfortable shoes and bring a water bottle. 

❌ Which area should I avoid going to in Marseille?

In general, you should avoid the Northern part of the city, particularly the 14th and the 16th arrondissement

🛬 How do I get from Marseille airport to town?

The best way to get from Marseille Provence Airport to the city is by train. The trains run frequently, and they’re the most affordable way to reach Marseille. More detailed information is available here

Final thoughts on where to stay in Marseille, France

The Vieux Port of Marseille at night, illuminated with lights reflecting in the calm water, showcasing a backdrop of Notre-Dame de la Garde.

If you have made this far into the post, I hope you now have a pretty good idea about what to expect from your trip and some good ideas for where to stay in Marseille!

And if there are too many options in this article, here are the 2 best hotels in Vieux Port, Marseille: 

  • Hotel C2 – a 5-star hotel at the heart of the city, situated in a historic building, featuring a pool and designer furnishings
  • Hôtel Marsiho – a comfortable boutique hotel boasting spacious rooms with modern decor and amenities 

Remember that booking in advance can help you get some of the best deals and save you the hassle of making arrangements at the last minute – it really pays to be prepared, especially in summer!

So, what are you waiting for? Book your hotels, flights, and travel insurance now so that you can visit beautiful Marseille and immerse yourself in its Mediterranean history!

If you have any more questions about your stay in Marseille, feel free to leave them in the comments, and I will help you out as best I can!

See you in Marseille,

Kate


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