By walking the most popular streets in Marseille, you can trace the history of the city and take in the Provençal culture. Along the way, you’ll discover the bright Marseille atmosphere. You’ll be able to admire breathtaking panoramas, explore colourful street art, and buy a unique souvenir from a local creator or an antique seller.

    Looking around the popular streets in Marseille is an experience in itself. From an authentic seafront in the Old Port to the lively hipster Cours Julien area, the busy shopping street of Saint-Ferréol, or the long boulevard along the Mediterranean Sea, you have plenty of choices when it comes to finding places to discover historical landmarks, go shopping, or simply enjoy the views with a glass of rosé.

    1

    La Canebière

    Feel the vibes of Marseille’s most famous street

    La Canebière is one of the most popular streets in Marseille, and it’s also a historical place. Starting from the Old Port and running to the Capucin neighbourhood, this wide street was once a symbol of the city and its port. You’ll discover beautiful buildings that witnessed intellectual and business activities of the past.

    La Canebière is a great destination for shopping. You’ll find luxury brands and department stores as well as unique shops like Maison Empereur, France’s oldest hardware shop. Pedestrianisation works have made this avenue a greener place, so you can simply relax and enjoy the walk. And why not have a break at one of the cafés lining the street?

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    Location: La Canebière, 13001 Marseille, France

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    photo by Patrick Nouhailler (CC BY-SA 3.0) modified

    2

    Rue du Panier

    Find out where the city started

    Just a few steps from the Old Port, la Rue du Panier is part of the authentic Panier neighbourhood. This is the place on a small hill where Greeks founded the city around 600 BC, and it has attracted immigrants and artists ever since. Take a walk along this narrow, colourful, and lively street to feel the distinctive atmosphere of multicultural Marseille – the one described in many books.

    You’ll find lovely souvenir shops, picturesque artists’ studios and galleries, and open-air cafés. There’s an official shop of Plus belle la vie, a popular French television soap opera featuring the Panier area. However, one of the most striking things about the street and the neighbourhood is its street art and graffiti.

    Location: Rue du Panier, 13002 Marseille, France

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    3

    Quai de Rive Neuve

    Where the postcard image becomes real

    Strolling on the Quai de Rive Neuve in the Old Port of Marseille is an experience in itself. It is beautiful and authentic. Breathe the salty sea air and admire the view. You can also enjoy one of the many restaurants here to relax on a terrace. Be sure to stop at the Bar de la Marine, a well-known bar that was the setting for Marcel Pagnol’s famous trilogy.

    Another interesting place to visit is a small museum devoted to Marseille’s soap, notorious for its beneficial effect on any skin. Close by, there’s another city’s landmark – the Fish Market, existing since the early 20th century. Finally, you can take a boat and leave to discover the Calanques massif, a real wonder of nature.

    Location: Quai de Rive Neuve, 13007 Marseille, France

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    photo by Patrick Nouhailler (CC BY-SA 3.0) modified

    4

    Cours Julien

    Explore the largest street art district in France

    Le Cours Julien is located in a lively hipster district, where people come to listen to music, meet with friends, and boost their creativity. You’ll love this colourful place for its artsy vibes, shops of local designers and creators, and bookstores. Le Cours Julien is the largest area in France devoted to street art and graffiti.

    This is a great place for food tourism. There are several markets, including the farmer’s market and the organic market, selling high-quality products from local producers. Grab a glass of fresh fruit juice and look around the small adjacent alleys to explore the best examples of local street art.

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    Location: Cours Julien, 13006 Marseille, France

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    photo by Fred Romero (CC BY 2.0) modified

    5

    Rue Saint-Ferréol

    Marseille's main shopping artery

    Rue Saint-Ferréol is the main shopping artery in the centre of Marseille. This pedestrian street brings together the most affordable brands. You’ll find a large variety of textile, fashion, jewellery, leisure shops, bookstores, and superstores like Galeries Lafayette. There’s also a shop dedicated to Marseille’s football team.

    The street is also interesting for its architecture. You’ll discover some beautiful facades along the way, often occupied by quite mundane brands and banks. You can come here on a weekday morning if you want to avoid crowds. Alternatively, choose Saturday afternoon if you want to enjoy a lively crowd – this is the time when young people gather on Rue Saint-Ferréol.

    Location: Rue Saint-Ferréol, 13001 Marseille, France

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    photo by Patrick Nouhailler (CC BY-SA 3.0) modified

    6

    Corniche John F. Kennedy

    Find the best spot to enjoy the sea view

    The Corniche John F. Kennedy is a 3-km-long boulevard running along the Mediterranean Sea from Catalan Beach to Prado Beach. Take your time to enjoy a long walk through one of the most popular streets in Marseille and find a great spot to admire stunning views of the sea and the Friuli archipelago. You can also take a picnic and relax on Prophet’s Beach, which is one of the oldest beaches in the city.

    Another option is to have a gastronomic break in one of the restaurants along the boulevard and enjoy the best mix of French cuisine with a splendid Mediterranean panorama. Finally, if you go towards the end of the Corniche, you’ll find the large Prado beaches where you can enjoy water sports.

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    Location: Corniche Président John Fitzgerald Kennedy, 13007 Marseille, France

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    7

    Esplanade J4

    Combine a seaside walk with a cultural visit

    • History
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    Esplanade J4 bears the name after a former hangar used for port activities. Today the 20,000-square-metre esplanade is a popular place in Marseille to combine a pleasant seaside walk with a cultural visit. Located at the foot of Fort Saint-Jean, overlooking the sea, the esplanade is surrounded by impressive buildings, including the beautiful Cathédrale La Major and the Pharo Palace.

    The MuCEM, an outstanding modern museum dedicated to the European and Mediterranean civilisations, is found on Esplanade J4. The museum building, a huge cube with its elegant concrete lacework, has become a popular Marseille landmark. After visiting the museum, don’t forget to head to the terrace to enjoy the exceptional view.

    Location: Esplanade J4, 13002 Marseille, France

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    8

    Rue Edmond Rostand

    The antique arts area of Marseille

    Rue Edmond Rostand, with its wrought-iron arch, marks the entrance to the neighbourhood of antiques in Marseille. Named after the author of the play Cyrano de Bergerac, the street is made up of elegant Hausman-style buildings with facades built out of cut stones and continuous balconies.

    The street is an excellent place to explore more than 30 antique shops and art galleries to find design and decoration rarities. Four times a year, the area becomes pedestrianised and locals and tourists come to discover old objects.

    Location: Rue Edmond Rostand, 13006 Marseille, France

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    photo by Rvalette (CC BY-SA 3.0) modified

    9

    Avenue du Prado

    Discover Marseille’s historical landmarks

    Avenue du Prado is a very popular street in the city centre of Marseille. It’s hard to pass because the avenue allows you to reach Prado Beach, the longest city beach and one that’s ideal for water sports. Just nearby, you’ll find vast lawns and a nice park.

    Stretching towards the Castellane neighbourhood, Avenue du Prado has several remarkable historical buildings along its length, such as the Neo-Romanesque-Neo-Byzantine-style Basilica of the Sacred Heart or the Armenian Apostolic Church. Don’t miss the Prado Cinema in an Art Nouveau historical building. The street is also popular for shopping, notably for its busy open-air market selling a bit of everything.

    Location: Avenue du Prado, 13008 Marseille, France

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    photo by Michiel1972 (CC BY-SA 3.0) modified

    10

    Rue Paradis

    Marseille’s bourgeoisie corner

    Rue Paradis is the second-longest street in the city and a historical landmark of Marseille’s bourgeoisie. Extending from La Canebière to Avenue du Prado, the street is home to several buildings of historic interest and many high-end boutiques. Take your time to stroll along the wide sidewalks of the street and feel the warm atmosphere of the daily life of French bobo (the bourgeois-bohemian group in France).

    You’ll discover major luxurious brands, jewellers, concept stores, young designers’ brands, chocolate shops, and excellent restaurants on Rue Paradis. There are also remarkable monuments, including the Saint-Joseph church and private mansions of the Gasquy family at numbers 292 and 294. Nearby, there’s the Cantini museum hosting a rich 20th-century art collection.

    Location: Rue Paradis, 13006 Marseille, France

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    Elmira Alieva | Contributing Writer

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