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Marseille is one of the most colorful, vibrant cities in southern Europe and it is also a brilliant base for exploring the famous resorts and attractions of the South of France. The city’s airport is 17 miles from central Marseille, so it’s easy to rent a car and get around, whether you’re here for business or pleasure.
We’re ideally placed to provide you with a hire car as quickly and efficiently as possible. You’ll find that we’ve got a convenient pick-up location right in the heart of Marseilles Airport. It’s easy to find, whether you’re picking up a rental car or dropping one off.
You can rest assured that our Marseille Airport office features our famous best-price guarantee. This means that in the unlikely event that you can find equivalent car hire cheaper, we’ll refund the difference in full immediately.
With its lively streets and warm character Marseille is a great place to visit. As France’s second biggest, it spreads across a wide area so a rental car is the best way to make your way around.
You’ll find the A7 motorway runs just past the airport heading straight for the heart of the city and, in the other direction, leading directly to the beautiful city of Avignon, just 60 miles away.
Driving into the heart of Marseille is helped by the major arterial routes: the A7 can take you right into the city center, the A55 will get you to the famous Old Port area. There’s a major road tunnel here, the Tunnel Prado Carenage, which links to the A50 leading out to the east of the city to Aubagne and Toulon. If you’re heading further east to the Riviera, the A8 motorway is the quickest route.
The airport stands alongside a wonderful natural lagoon and you can take local roads to tour this area and the local beaches. Further afield the smaller, quieter roads allow you to head west towards the atmospheric Camargue region in the delta of the River Rhone. To the east, you can quickly drive to the fascinating city of Aix-en-Provence and into the foothills of the Alps.
You’ll find roads in the south of France are generally fine. There is a network of modern motorways and trunk roads, and the roads become more scenic and winding in the hills and mountains.
Traffic is generally well behaved and you’ll be able to get to your destinations quickly and safely. The roads around Marseilles conform to the standard French rules of the road.
Marseille has a loveable, more passionate atmosphere compared to the cities of northern France. With centuries of life as a busy Mediterranean port, the city has developed a gritty, lively character all of its own. It stands amid the attractions of the Gulf of Lyon and is at the heart of the French south coast, making Marseille a perfect platform for visiting a wide range of attractions from the Riviera to the Camargue.
The attractions of ancient Marseille
The center of street life and tourism in Marseilles is the large area around the harbor and waterfront known as The Old Port. There are scores of pavement cafes, bars and restaurants here among the cobbled quaysides and restored old buildings.
The harbor was started in the days of the Roman Empire and is full of historic sights. You’ll be able to see France’s oldest church here: the twin-towered Abbey of St Victor, which dates back to 415AD. There are two old forts that once guarded the harbor entrance, a 19th-century lighthouse and plenty of lovely period boats.
While you’ll at the Old Port look out for fishermen selling their daily catch at market stalls and boat trips heading out to the different islands offshore.
Explore the city further and you’ll find the Canebiere, the main street of the city. This wide, grand, tree-lined street leads back from the Old Port into the heart of the business district - some call it the Champs Elysee of Marseilles. It’s great to wander along the Canebiere browsing shops and cafes. Further inland, head uphill to the Panier district. Amid the narrow streets, you’ll find the Vieille Charite, a domed and colonnaded baroque church that’s now a fascinating arts center and gallery.
Explore the cultural highlights
You can’t miss the Museum of European and Mediterranean Civilisations or MuCEM. The spectacular modern architecture dominates the waterfront between Panier and the Old Port. Part of the Museum extends under the water.
The Marseilles History Museum is housed in an impressive recent building too, with a large open-air garden displaying items that were found when the museum was being built, including one of the oldest ships in the world.
For many, one of Marseilles’ most famous sights is the Stade Velodrome. The striking design gives the stadium unusual curves and twists, yet it holds more than 67,000 people. It’s the home venue for Marseilles’ soccer and Toulon rugby teams.
The south's great outdoors
If you have a hire car, you’ll find Marseilles is surrounded by acclaimed outdoor attractions. The southern suburbs lead into the Calanques National Park, which covers a wonderful mountainous shoreline and a group of idyllic unspoiled islands.
To the north are the Sainte Victoire Mountains and the large area around. This has been designated an official ‘Grande Site’, one of only a handful in France and is another wild, mountainous area to explore. You’ll soon be told by proud locals that it formed the location of many of Cezanne’s paintings.
Head west to find the Natural Park of the Camargue. If you drive to this huge flat marshy area at the mouth of the River Rhone you’ll see the famous white horses roaming free as well as flocks of pink flamingos.