Where to stay in Marseille for first time: 3 Safe areas

Finding where to stay in Marseille as a first-time visitor can be a headache. That’s why, in today’s article, I will help you to find the safe places to stay in Marseille for first-time visitors.

I will share with you what I believe are the best and safest areas to stay in Marseille for first-timers and tourists, along with a helpful map and areas to avoid. I’ll also share where I stayed in Marseille and recommend some of the best hotels for various budgets.

Marseille is the second-largest city in France, after Paris, located in the southern part of France, along the Mediterranean coast.  Marseille port is one of the largest in the Mediterranean. 

The city is known for its diverse population, including a significant North African and Arab community, which has contributed to its rich culinary scene and cultural diversity.

The city boasts several notable landmarks, such as the Basilique Notre-Dame de la Garde, a Catholic basilica situated on a hill offering panoramic views of the city and the sea. The Old Port (Vieux-Port) is a historic harbor with restaurants, shops, and a lively atmosphere.

Marseille is renowned for its delicious Mediterranean cuisine. Bouillabaisse, a traditional fish stew, is a local specialty. The city’s markets, such as the Old Port market, offer fresh produce, seafood, and local products.

Is Marseille safe to visit?

Marseille, like many cities, has both safe and less safe areas. As long as you stick to tourist areas and take standard safety precautions you should be fine. These include being mindful of pickpockets/scams, avoiding walking alone in poorly lit areas after dark, taking cabs at night (safer than subway), and traveling in a group.

As in all France and Europe, Marseille also has the risk of terrorist attack, so you should monitor local media for the news, be alert to possible threats, especially in public areas, and follow the instruction from local authorities.

You should also research areas you want to visit thoroughly. You can ask locals or your hotel staff if you have specific concerns. Tourist areas such as Old Port, Le Panier,  and La Corniche are generally safe to stay, but again always use common sense and take extra alert for pickpocketing.

You should avoid staying in the northern part of the city, which include the 13th, 14th, 15th, and 16th arrondissements. These areas have struggled with socioeconomic issues and crime. 

Where to stay in Marseille for the first time?

The best and safe areas to stay in Marseille for first-timers and tourists are Vieux Port (Old Port), Le Panier, and La Joliette. It is always important to stay vigilant, take care of your belongings, and avoid poorly lit areas at night no matter where you stay. 

Vieux Port is the most popular area in Marseille for visitors to book their hotels. It is a safe central area, known for its picturesque harbor, lively atmosphere, waterfront cafes and restaurants. Staying here gives you easy access to boat trips, markets, and key landmarks like Fort Saint-Nicholas and Fort Saint-Jean.

Le Panier is Marseille’s oldest district, known for its narrow streets, colorful buildings, and artistic vibe. It’s a charming area with a mix of boutiques, galleries, and cafes. Staying here provides a unique and authentic experience.

La Joliette is a modern and dynamic district, close to the port and the old town. There are also shopping areas, restaurants, and cafes. It is also well-connected by metro, making it easy to explore the city.

During my trip to Marseille, I stayed at the Les Appartements du Vieux Port. It was a good price hotel in a prime location, easy access to major sights and metro. Good base to explore the city.  The apartment was beautifully decorated, very clean with comfortable beds. 

Below is a map of the popular areas in Marseille for first-time travelers. You can scroll down to view the live map.

Map of the safe areas to stay in Marseille first time
Map of the safe areas to stay in Marseille first time

Let’s get into the details of the recommended areas to stay in Marseille, especially for first-time visitors. I’ll provide you with some suggestions for the best places to stay in each area, catering to every budget. 

All hotels in Marseille have been carefully selected by me from well-known and secure booking sites such as booking.com, with guest review scores of at least 8.0 or higher at the time I chose them. 

If you don’t like my suggestions (perhaps they don’t suit your budget or preferences), you can click the “MORE HOTEL DEALS” button where you can choose your own hotel.

3 Safe areas to stay in Marseille for first-timers and tourists:

1. Vieux Port (Old Port)

Vieux Port (Old Port) is one of the most iconic and historic areas in Marseille, making it a popular choice for tourists. Staying here allows you to immerse yourself in Marseille’s rich maritime history, enjoy stunning views, and have easy access to various attractions and activities.

The Old Port has a picturesque harbor, lined with colorful buildings and bustling with activity. You can take a leisurely stroll along the waterfront promenade and enjoy views of fishing boats and yachts.

Vieux Port is surrounded by several significant landmarks, including Fort Saint-Nicholas and Fort Saint-Jean. You’ll also be close to major attractions such as the Notre Dame de la Garde,MUCEM museum, the Vieille Charité cultural center, Pharo Palace and Saint Victor’s Abbey.

Its central location also offers easy access to the old town and nearby beaches such as Prophet’s Beach, Plages du Prado, or take a trip to Calanques National Park.

The harbor is a hub for boat excursions, including ferry rides to nearby islands like Frioul and Château d’If. These boat trips offer a unique perspective of Marseille and its coastal beauty.

The area around Vieux Port is filled with shops, cafes, and seafood restaurants. You can explore the Quai des Belges for seafood specialties, visit the fish market, or the Marché aux Fleurs (flower market), to experience the local flavors.

Vieux Port is well-connected to public transportation, making it easy to explore other parts of the city. The metro, buses, and water taxis provide convenient options for getting around.

You can take a ride on the little tourist trains called “Les Petits Trains de Marseille”, offering guided tours around the city’s key attractions. It is a convenient and informative way to explore Marseille’s highlights.

Best places to stay in Marseille Vieux Port for first-timers:

Mid-range ($$): Maisons du Monde Hôtel & Suites, popular 4-star hotel located in central location of Marseille, on Quai des Belges, easy walk from a Metro Station and  Boulevard La Canebière, where you can take public transport to visit all of Marseille’s famous sites. The hotel has a beautiful breakfast area, 24-hour front desk, and comfortable family rooms.

Mid-range ($$): Grand Hotel Beauvau Marseille Vieux Port – MGallery, lovely 4-star hotel located in the heart of Marseille, right by the old port. You will be located at the hub of the city, a good base for car–free travelers, and walking around is easy. Lots of restaurants nearby.  

Mid-range ($$): La Residence Du Vieux Port, great 4-star hotel, centrally located on Quai Du Port, right on the banks of the Old Port. Easy walk from La Canebière and the Vieux Port Metro Station,  for services to Saint-Charles Train Station. It has paid on-site public parking, a fitness center, and very good breakfast.

Mid-range ($$): New Hotel Le Quai – Vieux Port, 4-star hotel located in the heart of Marseille, offering views of  the Old Port and La Canebière shopping street. Easy access to Vieux-Port Hotel de Ville Metro Station and Belsunce Alcazar Tramway, for metro to Chanot Exhibition Center.

Budget ($): Hôtel Life Marseille VP – Vieux Port, 3-star beautiful hotel located in a prime location in the old port area of Marseille, within walking distance of all the key sites. You can walk anywhere in the city. Great base for a short stay. 15 mins walk from Saint Charles SNCF Station.

Budget ($): Les Appartements du Vieux Port, 3-star good value for money accommodation in central Marseille, close everything, easy access to Vieux Port, the metro, the Opera, Marseille Tourism Office, and the Le Panier area. The apartment is spacious and comfortable with modern facilities. You can find many restaurants, cafés and shops nearby.


2. Le Panier

Le Panier is an excellent base for those seeking a more bohemian and authentic experience in Marseille. It is one of the oldest and most charming areas in Marseille, giving visitors a sense of Marseille’s past.

Le Panier’s narrow, winding streets are filled with colorful buildings adorned with street art and vibrant murals. Just take note that Le Panier has some steep streets, so comfortable walking shoes are advisable. 

Le Panier is situated on a hill overlooking Vieux Port, providing panoramic views of the Old Port and the Mediterranean Sea. It is known for its artistic and bohemian atmosphere, where you can visit numerous galleries, boutiques, museums, and street art installations. 

This area is home to La Vieille Charité, a former almshouse turned cultural center. It now houses museums and exhibition spaces, including the Museum of Mediterranean Archaeology and the Museum of African, Oceanic, and Native American Arts.

Best places to stay in Marseille in Le Panier for first-timers:

Luxury ($$$): InterContinental Marseille – Hotel Dieu, an IHG Hotel, great 5-star hotel located in the historic quarter of Marseille, above the Old Port. Great base to explore the heart of Marseille, with theaters, shops, and museums within easy walking distance away. The hotel has an indoor swimming pool, paid airport shuttle services, and private parking.

Budget ($): Le Couvent Marseille, 3-star condo hotel,  beautiful converted 17th century Convent, located in a quiet area in the historic heart of Marseille, easy access to  Museum of European and Mediterranean Civilisations, Vieux Port/Joliette Metro Stations. 5 mins taxi ride from mainline train and bus station at Gare Ste Charles. Just be aware of the steep and narrow access street. 

Budget ($): Sous le Clocher, good value for money self-catering accommodations set in an old convent in Old Town, 5 mins walk to many bars and restaurants. Easy distance to the supermarkets, old port, downtown, and a boulangerie. Be mindful that the hotel is on a pedestrian street not directly accessible by car, you need to carry luggage up a short stepped street.


3. La Joliette

La Joliette is the new business and leisure district of Marseille located right next to the old town. It has some good brand hotels, and a metro station, making it a good base to explore the city.

Best places to stay in Marseille in Euromed – La Joliette:

Mid-range ($$): NH Collection Marseille, 4-star accommodation situated in La Joliette,. Many attractions are within walking distance. 10 minutes walk to the harbor. Easy access to the metro station.

Mid-range ($$): Residhome Marseille, great 4-star accommodation in Euromed – La Joliette district, easy distance from Les Terrasses du Port Shopping Center. It has family rooms, 24-hour front desk, and very good breakfast.

Budget ($): Marseille City Chambres&Appartements, good value accommodation conveniently located in a safe area (according to reviews from many travelers stayed here) near La Joliette, 10 minutes walk from main attractions including La Canebière, the city’s historic high street, and EuroMéditerranée business district. 15 mins walk to main train station.


In conclusion, Vieux Port, Le Panier, and La Corniche are the best places to stay in Marseille for first-timers and tourists. These areas are generally safe areas to book your accommodations, but it’s always important to take standard precautions to have a safe trip.

You can continue reading other destinations in France in these articles:

There you have it, my recommendations for the most popular and safest neighborhoods that you can stay during your first trip to Marseille. I hope you enjoyed my article and find it both informative and helpful.

If you have any questions or would like to share your thoughts, please don’t hesitate to leave a comment below. Your feedback is invaluable and helps me continue to create more quality content.

About Author: Ocean Cameron

I'm Ocean, founder and main editor of travelhotelexpert.com. I’m a passionate traveler who specializes in uncovering the best hotels and locations in every city, especially for first-timers, all without the need for a car.

Disclosure: This page contains affiliate links. This means that, at absolutely no additional cost to you, I'll earn a small commission if you click through and purchase something I've recommended. I only recommend products that I use myself or firmly believe in. Thank you!

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