Are there any beaches in Marseille ?
You do not think of Marseille to spend a holiday at the beach. When I talk about Marseille with my colleagues or friends it’s always the same, but there are no beaches in Marseille ! Well, yes! The city is not known for its beaches, but there are some. Marseille offers its users a wide range of seaside areas to suit all tastes along its south-west coastline.
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The Marseille beaches in France offer a pleasant Mediterranean climate, close to the charm of the old port and many beaches of gravel or sand.
If you look closely at the map below you will have proof: the Marseille beaches are there. And you will have something for everyone: some are perfect for families with children, others thanks to their orientation and their sensitivity to wind, perfect for surfing, others for windsurfing, others to take a drink or a meal at the seaside or, in the neighborhoods of the city, or during a hike in the creeks of distant rocky Marseille.
The man and the city of Marseille have managed to develop its beaches. Some are natural, others man-made, some are sandy, but most have pebbles or rocks; we are in the land of limestone, but of course, the sun is always present in the year.
We will present here the main Marseille beaches that you can enjoy during a weekend in Marseille.
While the Marseille beaches may not be as beautiful as the fine white sand beaches of other sites on the Cote d’Azur, they are well worth a morning or afternoon of tanning or swimming and diving . About 20 km south-east, the Cassis beaches are a more popular destination if your goal is to bask on sand.
The Saint Estève Beach is located on the island of Ratonneau in Friuli and you will find about three artificially created beaches. In the north of Marseille we will find artificially created beaches like the Corbière Beaches, north of Marseille in the old district of L’Estaque.
The Prado beach in Marseille is very family oriented and offers sports and activities for adults and children during the summer in July and August. You’ll have access to a wide range of popular, family-oriented activities, from snorkeling with mask and snorkel fins, to beach rugby, hip-hop, kite flying, and swimming lessons for kids. Some beaches in Marseille even offer free Wi-Fi.
Marseille has been a pioneer for its beaches compared to other cities on the coast, offering disposable ashtrays available at rescue stations. This is a first step even if other resorts have gone further in the reflection of beach cleanliness and quality, making non-smoking beaches, such as Ciotat; but still it is necessary to enforce this regulation!
As we have seen in other cities of the Cote d’Azur, Nice, Sanary and Toulon for example The city of Marseille has some beaches, luggage lockers, locks located near lifeguards. Here everything is done so that the day at the beach family is going well, fluorescent bracelets are available to parents to equip their children and note their name and phone number in case they get lost. The happiness of the family first and foremost.
If you look at the panoramic photo above you will notice that the city has thought to make access to its beaches easier for people with reduced mobility. The Prado Marseille beach is equipped with disabled parking spaces, as well as adapted toilets and showers. Hearing impaired and visually impaired people can benefit from appropriate signage. Swimmers with a disability benefit from an equipped area next to the rescue station, with a dedicated team, beds and special deck chairs, to allow them to swim.
The municipality of Marseille has made sure that each of the Marseille beaches is accessible by bus. They are more frequent during the summer period, but that does not prevent them from being quickly crowded at the end of the afternoon at bathing time after a day of work or school and sometimes to make a barbecue.
To get to the Marseille beaches it is worth preparing in advance and leave early in the morning and return either early or very late to avoid the crowd. Be patient by car to go to the Goudes, the journey time is around 1:30.
There is another transport solution between some’s of the Marseille beaches : it is the shuttle batobus Marseille. The service offers since 2012 between late April and late September, and allows to join the other Marseille beaches via a shuttle boat – the “batobus” that leaves every hour between the Old Port and Pointe Rouge. This service was originally intended for Marseille, but it was quickly a hit with tourists too. During the high season, between late June and late September, the shuttle will also take you to the port of Goudes. Plan to queue at peak times.
As in all cities now Marseille has a free bike rental system called “Le Velo”.
You will find stations everywhere in the city and even and especially near the Marseille beaches. A bike path runs along the south coast of Marseille.
One of the specificities of Marseille is the color of the sea which goes from the deep blue to the turquoise blue wonderfully clear, given the proximity of the beaches with a big city. These contrasts come from the reverberation of light on the white limestone rocks and islands, and sandy seabed. Depending on the direction of the wind and the mistral, the water temperature can drop significantly, from 25 ° to 16 ° for example, and can also be dirty depending on the direction of the wind.
It is true that if we walk in the city of Marseille is not the cleanliness that will jump at first sight. But the municipality has always put the necessary means for the quality and cleanliness of the Marseille beaches. The cleanliness of the Marseille beaches and water quality are regularly analyzed and are very often classified as “excellent” according to the standards in force. Moreover, wildlife is returning, moreover with the creation of marine parks to protect the coastline. It’s a sign of quality.
Cleanliness reports are available and can be viewed online and are also posted at each lifeguard station. You can download the free mobile app, Marseille Beaches Info, with up-to-date information on weather and environmental conditions.
The application is available on Smartphone and tablets to inform the general public about the quality of bathing water, the safety instructions in effect on the Marseille beaches, weather conditions, the flag of the day and the temperature of the water, the proposed activities.
You can download the Marseille Infos Beach app:
Of course the city of Marseille closes its beaches when the quality of these becomes unacceptable and this can happen in case of heavy rains for example.
As mentioned above, the Marseille beaches are oriented towards the south and west, so they are particularly exposed to the Mistral which will influence the quality of the water.
During bad weather it is better to seek shelter on the north west coast of Marseille, with its coves and beaches. For this purpose, a Train Express Régional called the Blue Train has been put into service between Miramas and Marseille and serves a few typical stations such as Mejean.
If the seaside season in Marseille officially starts in early June and continues until the end of the school holidays in early September, activities related to the sea, swimming, scuba diving and other are in full swing over a much wider period of time: from May to October, although some still bathe in December (the temperature of the sea can still be around 20 ° C).
The seaside season means that some beaches are thus secured and supervised by lifeguards: Corbière, Frioul (beach of Saint-Estève), Prophet, Prado North, South Prado, Huveaune, Borély, Bonneveine, Red Point, Sormiou and Catalans. On the other hand
The seaside season means that some Marseille beaches are thus secured and supervised by lifeguards: Corbière, Frioul (beach of Saint-Estève), Prophet, Prado North, South Prado, Huveaune, Borély, Bonneveine, Red Point, Sormiou and Catalans. On the other hand be cautious and informed that There are no rescuers in the majority of creeks. Some Marseille beaches are equipped for first aid and defibrillators. In case of emergency, for some of them, only the shuttles of the SNSM and the helicopter will be able to help you.
As you can see the Marseille beaches are quite safe and it is good to swim there.
As seen above you will have to be careful if you swim in the beaches of the creeks south of Marseille between red tip and the Goudes. If the weather is the sea are strong, the swell can surprise you.
First check the temperature of the water when the mistral is blowing, because under its influence the temperature of the water generally drops in significant proportions in just one or two days. The water is always cooler in the creeks, where the sea is deeper and underground rivers come to throw themselves there.
Before considering all activities on Marseille check the weather forecast, wind, sea, temperatures etc. , thanks to a reliable weather site.
MARSEILLE BEACHES LIST
MARSEILLE’S CATALAN BEACH
The beach of Catalans is made of sand ; it is the closest beach to the Old Port of Marseille, and the most popular for its comfort. This is the first Marseille beach you will encounter when leaving the Old Port. You can reach it by going down a staircase. The sand is nice, although close to the buildings of the city. There is a beach volleyball court, showers and lifeguards monitor the beach; many restaurants line the road that serves it. It also offers views of the bay at Château d’If. Although the panoramic view is not one of the best in Marseille because the beach is surrounded by buildings in the immediate vicinity, you can still swim in a beautiful clear blue water.
The City of Marseille also offers activities for children, and has developed a “submarine trail” free for divers, with panels explaining the flora and fauna of the region. But the main asset of the Catalans beach is its proximity to the city center; this explains its important attendance: that’s why it is better to take your precautions if you want to get there, given its proximity to downtown.
Also know that the Catalans Beach is so busy, that the city of Marseille has had to publish a decree in 2013, to limit the number of bathers to 1000 in summer. The police are responsible for enforcing this quota, even if sometimes it is to the detriment of some.
The Marseille beach of Catalans is the only Marseille beach that closes at 20:00 in the evening in summer. Because of its orientation it is also subject to pollution depending on thunderstorms and weather conditions.
Like most of the time in the south, the Catalans beach was lined with unauthorized bars and restaurants. By proceeding with their move, the municipality has been able to enlarge the beach by adding sand. Those who have the means will also be able to take advantage of the private and paying space that can be reserved for them at the Hotel “Le Richelieu” which overlooks the beach. Guests can rent sun loungers and serve drinks and light snacks. Access to the Catalans beach is a 10-minute walk from the old port or by bus 83.
MARSEILLE ‘S BEACH DES VALLONS
Everyone knows or has heard of the famous coastal road of Marseille, Corniche JF Kennedy. This road does not serve beaches strictly speaking, but you can find small creeks, more or less developed that are accessed by stairs from the main road. The beaches of the valleys are part of the beaches of Marseille.
These are mainly small rocky coves in which it is possible to swim. There are several such as those listed below: the Vallon des Auffes, the Vallon de Malmousque, the Vallon de la Fausse Monnaie and the Vallon de l’Oriel. Some are lined with beach restaurants.
BEACH OF THE PROPHET
After the beach of Vallons, you will arrive at the Prophet’s Beach, which you can access by stairs down the road. This sandy beach has a beach volleyball court, showers and a restaurant.
This beach is not facing offshore, as it is protected by a boulder jetty to protect it from the destructive swell during stormy days. Lifeguards monitor her during the day, and activities make her
This beach is not facing offshore, as it is protected by a boulder jetty to protect it from the destructive swell during stormy days. Lifeguards monitor the day, and the activities make it an ideal place for children, as well as a very popular beach for picnics, Marseille aperitifs and barbecues on summer evenings.
MARSEILLE BEACH PRADO
The Prado Beach is the main beach and the most popular beach in Marseille. This place is part of the large Prado Park which is more than 26 hectares. The latter was built in the 1970s using embankments earthworks excavations for the construction of the new metro. The whole of the Prado and its beach is more than 1 kilometer long, and runs along the coast for about a kilometer, to the point where the Corniche reaches the roundabout of David. The roundabout is unmissable with its huge replica of Michelangelo’s famous sculpture, which was erected in Marseille in 1952.
The Prado beach is a popular beach, so it will be difficult to find a secluded place to put your beach towel, but it remains less crowded than the most popular beaches in other areas of the Côte d’Azur, such as beaches of Cannes or Nice. You can swim in clear water. The beach is also popular for surfing.
The beaches of Prado host many cultural and sporting events throughout the year, especially in summer. So in September you can attend the Wind Festival Festival. Thus for a few days, champions from all over the world take care of distracting you with the evolutions of their kites, which they handle with the wind or the mistral, above the beach of Prado and the Mediterranean.
To get to the Prado Beach, you can take a bus or a taxi from the city center of Marseille. Here you will find accommodation, hotels and many bars and restaurants nearby. To get there the bus 83 will take you from the Old Port to the beginning of the park. From there, bus 19 takes you further along the coast.
The Prado beach atop Prado is divided into a series of distinct areas.
Prado Beach was the site of the 2008 FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup, with a wide stretch of sand where you can practice sports such as beach volleyball, football and other sports.
You will find the Plage du Roucas Blanc, well separated from the Corniche behind a heath of grass surmounted by a Jean Amado sculpture of 1989 dedicated to the poet Arthur Rimbaud, who died in Marseille: “The Drunken Boat”
You will also find in this park another great sculpture, The Seven Gates of Jerusalem by David Soussana (1985).
The city of Marseille has several leisure activities: a solarium, a sailing and canoeing center, volleyball areas, a small playground, toilets and showers, and a first aid station. The Prado beach is not lined with many bars, but crossing the road that runs along, you will find something to eat.
MARSEILLE ‘S BEACH OF THE HUVEVEAUNE
The Plage de l’Huveaune is also called the Plage des Véliplanchistes, or windsurfers, is, as its name suggests, the beach preferred by windsurfers and kitesurfers.
The beach is made up of a wide strip of sand – one of the few original natural beaches of Marseille. It is also decked with the sobriquet “Epluchures Beach”, because subject to pollution on days or blows the mistral.
If you are looking for a quiet place to bask in the sun, go your way, between the noisy road and water sports, no way to take a nap. The beach is equipped with an emergency station, a protective pier.
MARSEILLE’S BEACH BORELY
Borely Beach is located at the end of the road to the popular Borely Park. If you are looking for a beach with a variety of nearby bars, this is the place to be. Access from the road is very easy, but beware of parking because it is not easy to park your car. You will find dozens of tourist bars, clubs, cafes and restaurants around Borély Beach and Bonneveine Beach.
The city of Marseille opened Borely Beach in 1992, which for the occasion was presented as a replica of a trendy Ibiza beach. Borely beach is nevertheless a great place to have a good time with the family.
Guests can rent sun loungers. You will find a children’s playground, a Ferris wheel, a beach volleyball court, toilets and luggage lockers as well as a rescue station.
Park Borely has a skateboard park opened in 1991 and was one of the first of its kind. The city has recently renovated it. There is a private pay area.
Park Borely has a skateboard park opened in 1991 and was one of the first of its kind. The city has recently renovated it. There is a private pay area.
At the end of the park you will find the Beach of the Old Chapel, a pebble beach, which is protected from the sea by a wall of rocks low on the water. Its shallow water is cleaner than some other beaches. Local fishermen come and place their rods there, and they are very appreciated by the kitesurfers for their beachstart.
MARSEILLE’S BEACH DE LA POINTE ROUGE
The marseille’s beach de la pointe rouge is one of the few sandy beaches of Marseille. You do not have to frequent Red Point Beach for its beachfront restaurants lined up on this small crescent-shaped sand beach that are much less appealing than those at Borely and Bonneveine Beach. Do not expect to be served on white linen tablecloths or gourmet catering: these places serve pizzas, grills and salads in a simple and idyllic setting.
We will still give a special mention for the restaurant Yachting YCPR club.
Personally we also appreciate the restaurant “Les Trottoirs Marseillais”, located Vidal place at la Pointe Rouge, and whose dishes and service we have always satisfied.
The Pointe Rouge Beach in the south of the city is ideal for families and young children. The sand is soft and comfortable, and the seabed gently descends, making the water shallow and warm, ideal for beginner swimmers. During the busy summer months, it is almost impossible to find a parking space near the restaurants bordering this place. You can also go kite surfing or rent a canoe for an occasional trip. This place is equipped with showers and lifeguards are present during the high season.
At the bottom of a staircase, this Marseille beach has a swimming pool, and nearby, a large marina with a Yachting Club. There is a launching pad for jet skis; you can also rent pedal boats and boats.
On the other side of the street are arcades, where there are banks and shops, including one selling fishing gear.
Red Point is subject to erosion due to the sea, erosion that the city constantly fights by making regular contributions of sand.
To get there: Metro line 1 or 2, stop Castellane, then bus 19. From late April to September, a shuttle boat schedule – the “batobus” – runs between the Old Port and Pointe Rouge.
MARSEILLE’S BEACH OF MONTREDON
Just at the end of the bus route 19, you will find the old fishing village of Montredon, a few narrow streets lined with small fishermen’s houses cluster around a tiny beach of sand and gravel. As the small dive club in the port is now known for the very good restaurant at Aldo, a fish restaurant frequented by locals.
MARSEILLE’S BEACH MONT ROSE
Just after Montredon, is Mont RosE – a rocky coast rather than a beach proper – which is the closest nudist beach in Marseille and one of the oldest gay beaches in this part of France. To get there, take Bus 19, then plan a little walk.
MARSEILLE’S BEACHES OF GOUDES
At the end of a narrow and winding road, Les Goudes, a typical, picturesque and secluded fishing harbor nestled in a rocky cove, offers breathtaking views of the islands and, inland, views the steep limestone rocks that the overhang.
You will also find a small beach of gravel and sand and a marina with many bars. It reigns here a warm, without frills, authentically Marseillaise thanks to which one avoids here the tourist traps located closer to the city.
You will find here one of the most popular bar arround, serving fresh pintes of Guinnes, “20 000 lieues sous la bière” “20,000 leagues under the beer”
The detective hero of the novels of the popular thriller writer Jean-Claude Izzo has had a summer cabin here; his name would apparently be a declension of the “aïgo”, or “water” in Provençal.
You will not forget to take a look at the rusted remains of the telescope pulleys, a submarine cable boat built in the late 1960s that offered ten-minute walks to the bottom of the bay, and whose operation was stopped for security reasons barely 1 year after its inauguration.
Continue a little along the coast and you arrive at Cap Croisette, a wild bay, remote and steep. At one minute, a rocky beach and, opposite, the imposing mass of the island of Maïre. From here, there are many hiking trails. Caution ! The island is forbidden
Or visit Cap Croisette with its famous restaurant La Baie des Singes, a fish restaurant that is another local haunt and has served as a setting for many movies. The approach on foot is not easy, a walk of ten minutes on the rocks is necessary, and you need good shoes. The cape remains accessible by boat.
A restaurant that I recommend is The restaurant de la Grotte in the cove of Callelongue. The decor is superb as what you eat there.
Getting there : Take Metro line 1 or 2, get off at Castellane stop, bus 19 until the end of the route to Montredon, then take bus 20. In summer, you can also take the shuttle ( “Batobus”) from the Old Port to Pointe Rouge and from there, the direction of Goudes.