Top things to do

Top Choice Church in Marseille

Basilique Notre Dame de la Garde

This opulent 19th-century Romano-Byzantine basilica occupies Marseille’s highest point, La Garde (162m). Built between 1853 and 1864, it is ornamented with coloured marble, murals depicting the safe passage of saili…
Top Choice Museum in Marseille

Centre de la Vieille Charité

In the heart of the Le Panier quarter is this gorgeous architectural complex, built as a charity shelter for the town’s poor by local architect and sculptor Pierre Puget (1620–94), who was born just a couple of stre…
Top Choice Museum in Aix-en-Provence

Musée Granet

This fabulous art museum sits right near the top of France’s artistic must-sees, housing works by some of the most iconic artists associated with Provence, including Picasso, Léger, Matisse, Monet, Klee, Van Gogh an…
Top Choice Cafe in Aix-en-Provence

Book in Bar

Bibliophiles rejoice: this brilliant Anglophile bookshop has a huge selection of English-language books for sale and a thoroughly pleasant tearoom. Look out for occasional book readings, jazz evenings etc.
Top Choice French in Aix-en-Provence

Le Petit Verdot

Great Provençal food and great Provençal wines – really, what more do you want from a meal in this part of France? It’s all about hearty, honest dining here, with table tops made out of old wine crates, and a lively…
Top Choice Historic Site in Marseille

Vieux Port

Ships have docked for more than 26 centuries at the city’s birthplace, the colourful old port. The main commercial docks were transferred to the Joliette area north of here in the 1840s, but the old port remains a t…
Top Choice Historic Site in Marseille

Le Panier

From the Vieux Port, hike north up to this fantastic history-woven quarter, which is fabulous for a wander with its artsy ambience, cool hidden squares and sun-baked cafes. In Greek Massilia it was the site of the a…
Top Choice Modern French in Ventabren

La Table de Ventabren

Reason enough to visit medieval Ventabren, a hilltop village 16km west of Aix-en-Provence, is this Michelin-starred restaurant with canvas-canopied terrace, magical on summer evenings. Inside find exposed stone and …
Top Choice Museum in Marseille

Musée des Civilisations de l’Europe et de la Méditerranée

The icon of modern Marseille, this stunning museum explores the history, culture and civilisation of the Mediterranean region through anthropological exhibits, rotating art exhibitions and film. The collection sits …
Top Choice Bistro in Marseille

Café Populaire

Vintage furniture, old books on the shelves and a fine collection of glass soda bottles lend a retro air to this trendy, 1950s-styled jazz comptoir (counter) – a restaurant despite its name. The crowd is chic and sm…