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Basic info and car hire in Marseille

  • Location: Southeast coast of France
  • Population: 855,000 (2014)
  • Official language: French
  • Currency: Euro (€)
  • Weather: Marseille’s climate is Mediterranean with mild, humid winters and warm to hot, mostly dry summers.  Average daily winter temperature in Marseille is around 12°C (53 °F) but drops to around 4°C (39 °F) at night. Average summer temperatures are above 25°C (77 °F). Autumn and spring have the average temperature of above 15°C (59 °F). Winter and spring are often subject to Mistral, a cold, dry wind.
  • Holidays in Marseille: Check for public holidays in France.
  • Internet coverage: If you need internet access in Marseille, there are a lot of open free Wi-Fi networks. Check for a map of Wi-Fi networks in Marseille and the app for your smartphone.
  • Road conditions: Roads are well maintained but congested.

About Marseille

Legend says that in 600 B.C., Greek sailors from Phocaea chose to land and concentrate on their activity in the Lacydon Creek- known today as the Vieux Port. Upon their arrival, the leader of the Greeks, Protis visited the native Ligure tribe. On that same day, the Ligurian princess, Gyptis, was to be married. She chose Protis to be her husband above a number of other suitors. Luckily, he was just as crazy about her as she was about him – hence, Massalia/Marseille was founded.  Today Marseille is the oldest French city and the second largest after Paris, so a car hire in Marseille service is an excellent choice for comfortable sightseeing. In the 20th century, Marseille suffered from a serious image problem due to urban decay and high crime rates. Lately, the city had undergone a massive urban renewal. There are new galleries, designer hotels, chic restaurants and high-end shops and a wonderful Marseille Airport accepting tourists from all around the world, though the role of a port city is still preserved.

Driving in Marseille

  • Suitable for tourists: Very good connections. Motorways offer quick travel over large distances but are expensive.
  • Problematic areas: Traffic in Marseille is heavy.
  • Age limits: 18 (In order to hire a car, some companies require that a driver must have a driver license for at least a year and be older than 21)
  • International Driving Permit: Yes
  • Additional papers: ID (passport) and the proof of insurance (It is advisable to buy insurance at car hire company, in case your policy does not cover your insurance while driving in France.)
  • Additional requirements: A warning triangle is compulsory and a reflective jacket must be kept within reach of the driver inside vehicle. There is no current legislation demanding a fine for not carrying a self-test breathalyser (alcohol test) in the car, but it is required by the law.
  • Children in the car: Children under the age of 10 must travel in the back seat. If they weigh less than 15 kg, a child seat is needed and if they weigh from 15-36 kg, they have to use a booster seat with an adult seat belt. If travelling with children, you can hire a baby seat or a booster seat under extras during the booking process and collect them at your car hire agency’s pick-up location.
  • Drink & drive: Maximum BAC = 0.05 % (0,02 % for new drivers with less than 3 years of driving experience)
  • Driving side of the road: Right
  • Lights: Dipped headlights are recommended day and night and must be used not only at night, but also in poor daytime visibility.
  • General speed limits: 80 mph (130 km/h) on motorways (70 mph (110 km/h) in wet weather and on urban motorways), 55 mph (90 km/h) on other roads outside built-up areas, 30 mph (50 km/h) in build-up areas
  • Parking suggestions: There are plenty of parking stations in Marseille. Don’t leave any valuables in your vehicle.
  • Best time to visit: Spring and autumn are the best seasons if you want to have an active holiday in Marseille, since many walking trails on the hills and calanques around Marseille are closed in the summertime due to the risk of fire. However, it all comes down to your points of interest, budget, weather preferences and tolerance for crowds. If planning activities that require extra space in your car, hire an adequately sized car.

Drive your rental car around Marseille

To fully enjoy all the benefits of a car hire service you should take a trip outside the city. Hire a car and visit the Calanques, a series of miniature fjords on the coast near Cassis, south of Marseille. The calanques are a very popular sport’s climbing area, so if you are planning to take your climbing equipment with you. If you like beautiful countryside, visit Allauch and Plan de Couqes, communes on the outskirts of Marseille. You can grab a basket and have a picnic or take a walk in the hills to enjoy gorgeous view of the Marseille. Stunning côte bleue is also worth visiting. You can stop in L'Estaque, beautiful fishing port, the subject of many Cézanne’s paintings. Château d'If is a small island near Marseille which was used as a prison. The place was made famous by Alexandre Dumas in his novel The Count of Monte-Cristo.

What to see in Marseille

If you’re planning to visit Marseille, there are a number of possibilities your car hire service offers you. The heart of the Marseille is still Vieux Port (Old Port). It has been the natural harbour of Marseille since the antiquity and is one of the most scenic natural ports on the coast. Visit Saint Nicholas Fortress, explore the old quarter called “Le Panier,” taste the traditional Bouillabaisse fish dish and try the strong drink Pastis. High-end restaurants, ancient squares, abundance of historic buildings, lively districts, buzzing nightlife, breathtaking nature- anything you could possibly think of, Marseille has it all.

If you’re planning to visit Marseille, there are a number of possibilities your car hire service offers you. The heart of the Marseille is still Vieux Port (Old Port). It has been the natural harbour of Marseille since the antiquity and is one of the most scenic natural ports on the coast. Visit Saint Nicholas Fortress, explore the old quarter called “Le Panier,” taste the traditional Bouillabaisse fish dish and try the strong drink Pastis. High-end restaurants, ancient squares, abundance of historic buildings, lively districts, buzzing nightlife, breathtaking nature- anything you could possibly think of, Marseille has it all.

Our favourite spots

Hotels in Marseille

Where to eat, drink and party in Marseille

Marseille is bustling with life. In past few years many new places opened in Marseille. There are three districts which you shouldn’t miss. Old Port offers numerous bars and pubs where you can hang out with your friends or party the night away. Visit La Plaine’s alternative and underground bars most famous of which are Petit-Nice, Intermédiaire, Asile 404, Molotov. If you are more into trendy and chick new bars and clubs Marseille won’t disappoint you. Go to La Joliette/J4 and enjoy the scene. Dining out in Marseille is something you shouldn’t miss out. Rich culinary menu influenced by its surroundings offers diversity of fish dishes. Most famous is bouillabaisse, fish soup which combines variety of fish spiced with saffron, fennel and orange zest. Olive oil, herbs, fresh fruit and vegetables are also abundant parts of Marseille gastronomy.

Marseille is bustling with life. In past few years many new places opened in Marseille. There are three districts which you shouldn’t miss. Old Port offers numerous bars and pubs where you can hang out with your friends or party the night away. Visit La Plaine’s alternative and underground bars most famous of which are Petit-Nice, Intermédiaire, Asile 404, Molotov. If you are more into trendy and chick new bars and clubs Marseille won’t disappoint you. Go to La Joliette/J4 and enjoy the scene. Dining out in Marseille is something you shouldn’t miss out. Rich culinary menu influenced by its surroundings offers diversity of fish dishes. Most famous is bouillabaisse, fish soup which combines variety of fish spiced with saffron, fennel and orange zest. Olive oil, herbs, fresh fruit and vegetables are also abundant parts of Marseille gastronomy.

Major events and festivals