Marseille (Provence), France
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Approximately 7½ Hours
Meals not included
This full day is action-packed with lots of walking, sightseeing and shopping -- perfect for intrepid guests wishing to explore the wonderful Provence region.
Your guide and driver will whisk you away from the ship at Marseille pier for a drive along the highway. Your destination is the unique town of Aix-en-Provence. This charming city is the former medieval capital of Provence and boasts elegant 18th- and 19th-century architecture, wide boulevards, charming sidewalk cafés, and excellent shopping opportunities.
Your guide will show you around the Old Town, home to the stunning 12th-century Saint-Sauveur d'Aix Cathedral. It also boasts more than 200 statues, all protected monuments.
Then, you will be left with some free time to browse in the markets, galleries, antique emporiums and cafés. You will have time to purchase lunch (at your own expense).
Return to Marseille for a narrated drive through the city. Watch for the forts of St Nicolas and St John, and continue along the Canebière, Marseille's main street. Visit the impressive Notre Dame de la Garde -- the beautiful Basilica on a hill overlooking the city with a superb view of the Vieux Port. This 19th-century cathedral is decorated in a neo-Byzantine style, and its interior boasts impressive multi-colored marble, mosaics and murals. You will also view the Cathedral de la Major -- another striking Byzantine beauty that was rebuilt in the late 19th century.
Drive through the Vallon des Auffes, a quaint harbor that is packed with traditional fishing boats, and along La Corniche. The latter is a coastal route that runs nearly three miles almost along the Marseille coastline, offering sweeping views of the city, the Château d'If, and the villas of multi-millionaires.
You will end the day with a walk around Old Port (Vieux Port), the city's most bustling and vibrant district. Packed with fashionable bars and theaters, you will notice how the small fishing trawlers jostle for space among the many yachts. Enjoy exploring this colorful district, browsing the shops for Provençal crafts and souvenirs before the short drive back to Marseille pier.
Stores are closed in Aix-en-Provence and Marseille on Sundays during winter. Flash photography and video are not allowed in the cathedral in Aix or in the basilica in Marseille. Modest attire is required for visiting churches or cathedrals; knees, shoulders and midriffs must be covered; shorts are not allowed. This tour involves stairclimbing (167 steps) at the entrance of the Basilica Notre-Dame de la Garde in Marseille. Use of an audio headset (included) will enhance your tour experience.