The South of France. Is there any holiday destination more evocative of long sunny days on beach loungers? Marseille, the second most-populated city in France, challenges those stereotypes right from its premier spot on the coast.

And with over twice the surface area of Paris, it can be hard to know exactly where to stay in the city.
That’s where our travel gurus come in! We’ve pulled together a bunch of local tips on where to stay in Marseille, based on what matters to you!

Sorting your accommodation should be a breeze, so you can focus on what really matters: where you’re going to source the absolute freshest bouillabaisse from!

So follow us, and by the end of this article you’ll have the city mapped, knowing exactly where to stay in Marseille!

Quick tips – Where to stay in Marseille

  • Where to stay in Marseille your first time – Opera
  • Where to stay in Marseille on a budget – Saint Victor
  • Best area to stay in Marseille for nightlife – Notre-Dame-du-Mont
  • Coolest place to stay in Marseille – Le Panier
  • Best neighborhood in Marseille for families – Thiers

IN A HURRY? HERE’S MY TOP NEIGHBORHOOD FOR FIRST TIMERS:

FIRST TIME IN MARSEILLE

Opera

Opera is right in the middle of the action, situated on the business end of the port and encompassing the famous Vieux Port area. It’s where the concentration of tourists is highest, and with good reason.

Places to visit:
  • Watch living history take place at the long standing fish market on Quai des Belges.
  • Take a ride on the giant Ferris Wheel to see the sights and lights of the city.
  • Try the bouillabaisse at any one of the many seafood restaurants lining the port.

Where to Stay in Marseille

Marseille is one of France’s coolest cities. Not worried about where you’ll be and just looking for a fit for you? Check out our top picks for Marseille in general!

Best Hostel in Marseille – Pitchounette & Olives

 In this old and typical district of Marseilles, you can meet people and artisans of the neighborhood, participate in many activities, discover the beauty of the city day and night, not to mention the pleasures of the sea and the coast Marseillaise.

Head over to our comprehensive guide to the best hostels in Marseille before starting your backpacking adventure!

Best Airbnb in Marseille – Large Modern Studio near the Tourist Attractions

This 24 square meter studio is on the fourth floor and is ideal for a single person or a couple visiting Marseilles. Recently refurbished, it comes with a fully equipped kitchen, a bathroom with an Italian shower, and a study room. Right next to Vieux-Port and rue Paradis, the location is ideal and you are at proximity to transports, bakeries, supermarkets, restaurants, cafes and shops.

Best Hotel in Marseille – B&B Casa Ortega

Located close to Marseille Tramway Station, this comfortable B&B is a convenient base. Rated 10.0 on travel sites, B&B Casa Ortega offers comfortable accommodation, in addition to free Wi-Fi, a swimming pool and luggage storage. 

Marseille’s Neighbourhood Guide

FIRST TIME IN MARSEILLE
Opera, Marseille
FIRST TIME IN MARSEILLE

Opera

Opera is right in the middle of the action, situated on the business end of the port and encompassing the famous Vieux Port area. It’s where the concentration of tourists is highest, and with good reason.

ON A BUDGET
Saint Victor, Marseille
ON A BUDGET

Saint Victor

Saint Victor is that trifecta of travelling dreams. It’s right in the middle, sitting directly next to Opera; it’s cheaper than it’s fancier neighbour, not being as well known keeps the prices down; and it has the most iconic monuments of the city in its boundaries. Score!

NIGHTLIFE
Notre Dame du Mont, Marseille
NIGHTLIFE

Notre Dame du Mont

East of the port area, and centred around a station of the same name, Notre Dame du Mont is the place to be in Marseille for an evening out.

COOLEST PLACE TO STAY
Le Panier, Marseille
COOLEST PLACE TO STAY

Le Panier

Le Panier lies on the other side of the port, just back from the edge of the Quai. French for ‘the basket’, it’s a charming, quaint old suburb with a history over 2600 years long.

FOR FAMILIES
Thiers, Marseille
FOR FAMILIES

Thiers

Thiers is directly up the grand avenue of La Canebiere, heading east from the Vieux Port. It’s appropriately pizza slice shaped. Did you know Marseille is as famous locally for its pizza as its bouillabaisse?

There are loads of cool things to do in Marseille. Located on the sparkling coastline of the South of France, Marseille sits in the middle of famous neighbours, Montpellier and Nice.

It’s a port town with over 2500 years of history, and it has a character and atmosphere entirely its own.

Marseille was once known for its seediness, now just a touch of rugged charm, and it’s a perfect place to stop on a coastal road trip. 

It’s easy to see why people fall in love with Marseille. While missing the polish of the Cote d’Azur, its scruffiness belies a warm heart. The streets seem real in a way that other places don’t, and the terraces and squares dotted throughout the old town are authentically welcoming.

It’s here, over a bottle of rose, that locals will lean over from their table to ask where you’re from. 

And it’s here that the city is referred to as being made up of 111 villages, by those same locals.

You can visit Cinq Avenues, with its ‘very French’ buildings and streets, or Endoume, with its stretch of rugged coastline. There’s L’Estaque, for the old port charm without the crowds. Or Cours Julien, for a combination of calm and cool!

Whatever your style, Marseille has an area that will fit. Whether you’re here for a good time, a long time, or the night time, our pick of neighbourhoods has you covered!

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Marseille’s 5 Best Neighbourhoods to Stay

There were so many to choose from (111) that whittling them down to just five was a tough ask, but we’ve done it!

#1 Opera – Where to Stay in Marseille Your First Time

Opera is right in the middle of the action, situated on the business end of the port and encompassing the famous Vieux Port area. It’s where the concentration of tourists is highest, and with good reason. It’s here you can watch the boats, both functional and luxury, go to and fro, and play ‘that boat’s mine’ to your heart’s content.

There are a range of fantastic dining options right around the port area, and a number of stunning squares just back from the harbour too. Wander up side streets and you never know where you’ll pop out!

There are bars and clubs for when day becomes night, ranging from wine bars to Irish pubs, and everything in between. 

Of course, prices can be a bit higher here, so there’s always the cheaper options. With one of those options in hand you can amuse yourselves under the giant mirror at the end of the port, or sitting on the side and dangling your feet over the edge.

The lights reflecting in the waters of the port, from the grand old buildings (and grand old boats) is a fairytale scene, and worth a moment, whatever your budget!

In the morning, if you’re up bright and early, make a point of watching the catch of the day come in and be sold at the Quai des Belges fish market.  

Opera, Marseille

Things to See and Do in Opera

– Watch living history take place at the long standing fish market on Quai des Belges.

– Take a ride on the giant Ferris Wheel to see the sights and lights of the city.

– Try the bouillabaisse at any one of the many seafood restaurants lining the port.

– Sip a pastis with water, by the water.

– While away some time in the sun, dangling a foot over the harbour wall.

Best Hostel in Opera – Hello Marseille Hostel

Hello Marseille is offering a genuine traveller’s accommodation at the very heart of the historical center. Located in the ‘Vieux-Port’, you benefit from an exceptional access all the main cultural and entertainment sites like our famous ‘Calanques’ National Parc.

Best Airbnb in Opera – Large Modern Studio near the Tourist Attractions

This 24 square meter studio is on the fourth floor and is ideal for a single person or a couple visiting Marseilles. Recently refurbished, it comes with a fully equipped kitchen, a bathroom with an Italian shower, and a study room. Right next to Vieux-Port and rue Paradis, the location is ideal and you are at proximity to transports, bakeries, supermarkets, restaurants, cafes and shops.

Best Hotel in Opera – Grand Hotel Beauvau

Strategically located in the heart of the city, this 4-star hotel makes for an excellent base in Marseille. It is close to La Canebiere, dining options and shops. This elegant hotel provides valet parking, 24-hour room service and an express check-in and check-out feature. 

Best Hotel in Opera – Escale Oceania Marseille

Escale Oceania Marseille Vieux Port offers modern accommodation in Marseille and is within a 20-minute walk of Castellane Metro Station. It is set in the area’s vibrant nightlife district, about a five-minute walk from Vieux Port – La Canebiere and Old Port of Marseille. 

#2 Saint Victor – Where to Stay in Marseille on a Budget

Saint Victor is that trifecta of travelling dreams. It’s right in the middle, sitting directly next to Opera; it’s cheaper than it’s fancier neighbour, not being as well known keeps the prices down; and it has the most iconic monuments of the city in its boundaries. Score!

It’s on the port, as far as Fort St Nicholas, and stretches back as far as Basilique Notre Dame de la Garde.

You’ll find squares for wining and dining here too, lined with pretty planter boxes and accessible by grand stone staircases. If you hit your timings right, a bar or two may be hosting musicians to serenade you while you eat. Hot top: if you eat at the cheaper place a few doors down, you’ll still be awash with music, for half the price!

The free entertainments and destinations make Saint Victor the best place to stay in Marseille on a budget.

Case in point: if you’re in Saint Victor, that also means you’re not far from Plage des Catalans. This city beach is only a short walk past Fort St Nicholas, and is a welcome respite from the concrete heat!

Another place perfect for chilling in this neighbourhood is the Parc Pierre Puget. It’s beautifully landscaped and dotted about with statues, and its cool green shade is a lovely way to while away an afternoon with cheese, bread and wine. 

Saint Victor, Marseille
Source: Henryk Sadura (Shutterstock)

Things to See and Do in Saint Victor

– View the city from the top of Basilique Notre Dame de la Garde.

– Visit the 5th century Abbaye Saint-Victor.

– Cool off at Plage des Catalans.

– Have a picnic, French style, at Parc Pierre Puget.

– Wander by the port, admiring the buildings and boats. 

Best Hostel in Saint Victor- Vertigo Vieux-Port

Located in the Old Port area, walking distance from beaches, bars, clubs, the central market and the famous Notre Dame church.We offer charming two-, three-, four-, five- and six-bed rooms. All of the dorms are very clean and equipped with comfy wooden bunk beds.

Best Airbnb in Saint Victor – Affordable and Comfortable Studio in Saint Victor

Located in Saint Victor, this cosy stylish studio is located in a quiet and peaceful street in one of the most vibrant neighbourhoods in Marseilles. Walk three minutes and you will reach the Old Port, and the place is also situated near public transportations, shops, supermarkets, bakeries, bars, cafes and restaurants. The room is very comfortable and comes with all the basic ammenities you need. There’s also a rooftop where you can relax and enjoy the vistas.

Best Hotel in Saint Victor – Hotel C2

This 5-star hotel provides a sun deck, free Wi-Fi and an express check-in and check-out feature. Staff are available 24/7 and can assist with booking tours and tickets. It also has a gym with a swimming pool. Each room at Hotel C2 features free wireless internet access.

Best Hotel in Saint Victor – Radisson Blu Hotel

Strategically located in the middle of the city, this 4-star hotel makes for an excellent base in Marseille. Surrounded by local bars and restaurants, it is a short walk from Vieux Port Metro Station. Radisson Blu Hotel Marseille Vieux Port has a gym with a swimming pool.

#3 Notre Dame du Mont – Best Area to Stay in Marseille for Nightlife

East of the port area, and centred around a station of the same name, Notre Dame du Mont is the place to be in Marseille for an evening out. 

The artistic atmosphere and Bohemian vibe of this neighbourhood had it in the running for coolest, but its selection of bars and restaurants gained it its crown as best in Marseille for nightlife.

There is street art every which way you turn in Notre Dame du Mont, and particularly in the Cours Julien sub-section.

This stretched out square is home to the hipster hallmarks of tattoo parlours, independent bookstores and coffee roasters. And the lanes running off the square are colourful with graffiti and murals by local legends and youths alike.

As the sun goes down, the crowds still keen to keep the evening alive will make their way to ‘la Plaine’, as Jean Jaures square is known. Here is where the party happens, with clubs and pubs galore.

This area was actually one of the grittier parts of the city, not so long ago, but is now a safe and welcoming haven for the young and young-at-heart to let their hair down.  

Notre Dame du Mont, Marseille
Source: Pani Garmyder (Shutterstock)

Things to See and Do in Notre Dame du Mont

– Be wowed by the all-encompassing art on the Escaliers du Cours Julien.

– Visit Espace Julien for its contemporary music scene.

– Watch the sun go down over the square with a beer or a coffee.

– Find yourself a first edition in one of the quirky bookstores.

– Dance the night away at Baby Club!

Best Hostel in Notre Dame du Mont – B&B La Sylvabelle

Great location in the heart of Marseille!! You will be close to the city centre of Marseille, and 10mn only from the famous Vieux Port!’ Located on the fourth floor of an opulent 19th century building and overlooking the gardens.

Best Airbnb in Notre Dame du Mont – Gorgeous Studio in the Heart of Marseilles

Built on three levels, this recently renovated house is spacious and you will have the entire first level for yourself. There’s a lot of natural light coming through the 25 square meters apartment’s big windows. It is perfectly located only a ten minutes walk from St Charles station and in the vibrant Notre-Dame-du-Mont area which makes it ideal to explore the city and enjoy local food and drinks.

Best Hotel in Notre Dame du Mont – Music Hotel

After settling in to their room, guests of Music Hotel can explore the area with use of Marseille Tramway Station, which is moments from the hotel. This 3-star hotel is located in the heart of Marseille’s entertainment district with restaurants, cafés and nightlife on the doorstep. 

Best Hotel in Notre Dame du Mont – Hotel Marseille Centre Prefecture

Located in Marseille’s city centre, this contemporary hotel provides comfortable rooms with free Wi-Fi. It is surrounded by a variety of popular nightlife options and is within a five-minute walk of Marseille Tramway Station. The hotel has 83 rooms and has been recently refurbished. 

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#4 Le Panier – Coolest Place to Stay in Marseille

Le Panier lies on the other side of the port, just back from the edge of the Quai. French for ‘the basket’, it’s a charming, quaint old suburb with a history over 2600 years long.

It earns the name of coolest place to stay in Marseille as it’s away from the more touristy areas of the city, and its narrow, winding streets tell their own story.

Being situated on the port, the neighbourhood has been home to immigrants for a couple of millennia so it’s grown into itself as a diverse and multicultural hub.

Walking through the lanes here, you’ll stumble across incredible artworks adding pops of colour to the yellowy bricks. There’s also a theme of greenery, with entire stretches seemingly in agreement that they should all decorate their home fronts with as many house plants and vines as possible.

This sense of community and neighbourly interaction is enhanced by the kids you see running from one house, round a corner and into another.

You can find independent galleries and cafes here too, if you take the right turn. Don’t use a map though; the best way to explore Le Panier is definitely by getting lost in the twisting streets.

And in its extended reaches there’s some pretty cool landmarks and attractions too. Heading further toward the north side of the port, you’ll find the enormous Cathedrale La Major, a little worse for wear on close inspection.

And also the fascinating MuCem, the Museum of the Civilisations of Europe, inaugurated in 2013, the year Marseille was named the European City of Culture. 

Le Panier, Marseille
Source: Zyankarlo (Shutterstock)

Things to See and Do in Le Panier

– Get cultural at MuCem.

– Visit the Musee de Docks Romains to see life long ago.

– Lose your way in the backstreets and find something better!

– Walk around the Cathedrale La Major and down to the water. 

– Wander the alleys, spotting the street art hidden in plain sight. 

Best Hostel in Le Panier – Hotel Hermes

Hotel Hermes boasts a privileged location to discover the city and it features a nice buffet breakfast and family atmosphere. The hotel also offers a solarium and roof terrace with unique view of the city, the Old Port and Notre Dame de la Garde.

Best Airbnb in Le Panier – Funky Apartment in the Heart of Panier District

This comfortable apartment is designed by a interior designer and fitted beautifully. Located right in the center of the historic district and the cool Panier district, it is in a very quiet and peaceful street which means that you can be in the middle of everything and go home to unwind in peace. Very close to the Vieux Port, the Mucem, Saint Jean etc, it’s ideal to discover the beautiful city of Marseilles.

Best Hotel in Le Panier – InterContinental Marseille

Those staying at InterContinental Marseille can wake up to breakfast daily at La Brasserie Les Fenêtres, plus dinner at Le Restaurant Gastronomique Alcyone after a day of sightseeing. Strategically located in the heart of the city, this 5-star hotel makes for an excellent base.

Best Hotel in Le Panier – Ibis Marseille Centre

Located in Marseille’s city centre, this hotel offers comfortable rooms with free Wi-Fi. It is close to the Porte d’Aix, dining options and shops. The hotel has 52 rooms and has been recently refurbished. Staff are available 24 hours a day and can help with booking tours and tickets. 

#5 Thiers – Best Neighborhood in Marseille for Families

Thiers is directly up the grand avenue of La Canebiere, heading east from the Vieux Port. It’s appropriately pizza slice shaped. Did you know Marseille is as famous locally for its pizza as its bouillabaisse?

It’s not a well-known tourist destination on its own, but its position between all of the good stuff has claimed it a space as the best place to stay in Marseille with kids. 

It’s within walking distance of the Old Port, so you’re in easy reach of the hustle and bustle that area has to offer. And the parks and playgrounds of Notre Dame du Mont are only about five minutes west from here.

The peace and grandeur of Cinq Avenues, with its manicured green spaces, is just north. While the stately elegance of Longchamp, which deserves an afternoon’s worth of your attention, is similarly nearby.

Importantly, about 300 yards up Boulevard Dugommier is the central station, St Charles, making for easy access to and from accommodation, and in and out of the city.

There are some sights to see in and around Thiers too, to be fair. The Marche des Capucins is around here, a vibrant multiethnic street food market where you can stock up on fruit and veg as snacks for a steal!

Thiers, Marseille
Source: Inu (Shutterstock)

Things to See and Do in Thiers

– Another stunning church! Pay a visit to Eglise St Vincent de Paul.

– Wander the market at Place des Capucins.

– Pay tribute to the fallen at the Monument des Mobiles.

– Do a family escape rooms at ExitGame.

– Catch a funny show at Comedie PaKa, if your French is up to it!

Best Hostel in Thiers – Hotel Azur

Enjoy a business trip or relaxing stay with friends or family. Hotel Azur has received the ‘quality label’ for traditional and authentic hotel services for over 3 generations. The management and the team will be delighted to welcome you to their warm and friendly hotel, open all year round. 

Best Airbnb in Thiers – Spacious Sunny House Ideal for Families in Marseilles

This spacious apartment with balcony is right in the center of Marseilles, in Thiers. Just a ten minute walk to the main station (St Charles), to the Vieux Port and to the Palais Longchamp, it’s perfectly located to sightseeing. Close to a bus station, subways, tramways, shops and restaurants, this sunny flat is an excellent base to visit as a family. It consists of two bedrooms, one large bathroom, a large living room and a fully equipped kitchen.

Best Hotel in Thiers – Maisons de Marseille

Situated centrally in Marseille, Maisons de Marseille boasts an accessible setting and is within walking distance of Saint-Charles Railway Station. It also provides free Wi-Fi, a garden and luggage storage. The apartments at the property have a coffee maker.

Best Hotel in Thiers – Le Ryad Boutique Hotel

This charming hotel in Marseille provides free wireless internet, as well as a library and laundry facilities. It is conveniently located in the city centre. Guests can soak up the sun on the terrace or enjoy a drink at the bar. 

Final Thoughts on Where to Stay in Marseille

Marseille is one of our travel team’s favourite French cities, with its style and diversity giving it a real sense of authenticity.

And while you’re here, you absolutely have to get out to the Calanques National Park. We guarantee the scenery will take your breath away (and so will the temperature of the water, even in mid-summer)!

Staying in our best hotel overall, B&B Casa Ortega, will have you positioned for just such day trips, from its spot near the station. And you’ve always got that pool to chill in, when you’re done exploring for the day.

So that’s it for our pro team’s advice on where to stay in Marseille. Just make sure you try the pastis!

“In Marseille I was surrounded by some of the best food in the world.” – Julia Child

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