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France’s second city, this coastal destination has blossomed since being named European City of Culture in 2013, with swanky new museums opening up and the Old Port crowded with mast-to-mast pleasure boats. Head to nearby Le Panier for the oldest neighbourhood, or the Republic Quarter for stylish boutiques and trendy buildings. All this is overseen by the city’s protector, Notre Dame de la Garde (known by locals as ‘the Good Mother’), sitting atop the loftiest hill, illuminated at night, and capped by a gold statue of Madonna and child.
Described as both ‘grittier than the average Provincial city’ and ‘the New Orleans of France’, Marseille often divides visitors as it can take some people time to truly appreciate it. We think it’s a hidden gem!