Vieux-Port (Old Port), Marseille

Vieux-Port (Old Port), Marseille (must see)

The Old Port of Marseille is located on the Canebiere, the "Main Street" of the old city. Yes, the city is old, like very old. Originally used as a seaport of the ancient Phoenicians, a sea-faring nation that had colonies throughout the Mediterranean.

The old port itself was established in 600 BCE by Greek settlers from Phocaea. Shipyards were established by both Louis XII and Louis XIII during the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. Louis XIV erected the forts of St Jean and St Nicolas at the harbor's entrance. Apparently, in France, there has been no dearth of Louis.

In it's busy heyday, in the 1850s, the port was host to as many as 18,000 merchant ships a year. This amount of traffic rivaled that of major European ports like Liverpool or Le Havre. With the advent of steam the shallow depth of the harbor created problems for the deeper draft steamships.

In World War II German occupation forces, with the help, unfortunately, of the French police destroyed most of the harbor to deny its use by the allies. This became known as the "Battle of Marseille".

The Old Port today serves mainly as a marina. It is a terminal for local boats and ferries. It also has a fish market. It stars in quite a few movies, such as, The Count of Monte Cristo, featuring the Chateau d'If, and The French Connection and French Connection II, featuring Gene Hackman and Tony LoBianco.

Why you should visit:
The Old Port has been thoroughly renovated and it is mostly open to pedestrians. The harbor and the many historical sights and buildings can be seen when walking along the Canebiere.

Want to visit this sight? Check out these Self-Guided Walking Tours in Marseille. Alternatively, you can download the mobile app "GPSmyCity: Walks in 1K+ Cities" from iTunes App Store or Google Play. The app turns your mobile device to a personal tour guide and it works offline, so no data plan is needed when traveling abroad.

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Vieux-Port (Old Port) on Map

Sight Name: Vieux-Port (Old Port)
Sight Location: Marseille, France (See walking tours in Marseille)
Sight Type: Attraction/Landmark
Guide(s) Containing This Sight:

Walking Tours in Marseille, France

Create Your Own Walk in Marseille

Create Your Own Walk in Marseille

Creating your own self-guided walk in Marseille is easy and fun. Choose the city attractions that you want to see and a walk route map will be created just for you. You can even set your hotel as the start point of the walk.
Marseille Introduction Walking Tour

Marseille Introduction Walking Tour

Marseille was created by immigrants from all around the Mediterranean basin even before the Phocaeans. In about 620 BC a Greek Phoenician galley rowed into a small outlet called Lacydon Creek, looking for trade. They found it. Ligurians occupied the land, and being sort of Greek themselves, they didn't mind doing business.

The leader of the galley people was one called Protis. Protis was...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.8 Km or 2.4 Miles
Marseille's Old Town

Marseille's Old Town

Marseille's Panier (Old Town) is full of history. The nick "Panier" means "basket" and it comes from the 17th-century inn, Le Logis du Panier, that once stood on today's rue du Panier.

Over the course of centuries the cobblestone streets of Marseille's Old Town had been a haven for refugees, criminals, and prostitutes, as well as Resistance fighters, Jews and...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.9 Km or 1.8 Miles
Food and Shopping Walk

Food and Shopping Walk

Shopping in Marseille is a great way to mingle with the locals and immerse in new tastes, scents and customs. As with so much else in this melting-pot of a city, the top-of-the-range stores here rub shoulders with the funky little boutiques, high-street chains with scruffy discount outlets or traditional family groceries and bakeries.

Marseille doesn't have a flagship thoroughfare as such,...  view more

Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 1.8 Km or 1.1 Miles
Historical Churches Walking Tour

Historical Churches Walking Tour

Marseille is rich in sacred places, religious sights and buildings. Most of them represent Roman-Byzantine style and wouldn’t leave you indifferent. Often their interior is decorated with inlaid marble, mosaics and murals.

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.6 Km or 2.2 Miles