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Campervan hire Marseille

France’s largest port and oldest city, Marseille is a gritty kind of pretty, ancient but not outdated, and surrounded by a sprawl of amazing green gorges, teetering cliffs, and France’s famous Provence.

 

Over a timespan of two millennia, cities come and go. Not Marseille; it’s been here for over 2,600 years! Best known as a bustling seaport at the crossroads of the Mediterranean, the docks of Marseille see tons of trade, commerce and industry. But being a modern port city also adds an element of urban grittiness. Up to a decade or two ago, Marseille even had a bit too much grit for the casual holiday-goer. Today’s Marseille, however, hits the sweet spot. Renewed and revitalised, the city shows its best sides of maritime history, Hausmannian grandeur, and Mediterranean hospitality, all while keeping a tang of urban tough. Multicultural Marseille is not just the right city for the urban adventurer, it’s also a great launch pad for nature lovers heading for the Calanques or Verdon Gorge. And the further your road trip takes you, the better it gets. Hire a campervan in Marseille and visit van Gogh’s Provençe, or make for the French Riviera, before heading into Italy!

 

Practical Information

Depot + Transfer

Our depot is located in Châteauneuf-les-Martigues, at only half an hour from Marseille’s city centre and at 20 minutes from Marseille Provence Airport (MRS).

Are you starting a road trip in Marseille? If you arrive by airplane, we’ll pick you up at Marseille Provence Airport and take you to our depot, where we’ll get you familiar with your campervan. After returning your campervan at our Marseille depot, we’ll drive you back to the airport. Free of charge in regular hours, of course.

Parking in the city

Street parking is limited in Marseille’s busy centre and its car parks are inaccessible to campervans, making parking in the city centre very hard. The best option is to park your campervan in the outskirts of the city and use public transportation.

Camping grounds nearby

You’ll find a few camping sites near Marseille for your campervan. Camping Garlaban is located at the edge of the Calanques, while Camping Le Mas and Camping Marius are located on the Côte Bleue. Camping Félix de la Bastide sits furthest west along the Étang de Berre Lagoon. The camping sites may not be in the city centre but they’re close to both Marseille and nature.

 

About Marseille

France’s oldest city was founded around 600 BC as the Greek colony Massalia. The trade port quickly became an important polis and continued to prosper under and after Roman rule, right until Frankish forces sacked the city in 739. Marseille saw a huge revival in the 10th century, was then awfully crippled by the plague (it’s thought Marseille was amongst the first places were the plague spread), and bounced back a century later. The city was terrorized by the plague twice more, the most devastating outbreak killing 100,000 people in and around Marseille in 1720. But as awful as the Great Plague of Marseille had been, the city had people to spare by 1792, when it sent 500 volunteers to Paris in order to defend the revolutionary government. The Marseillais, who loved the idea of liberté, egalité, fraternité, were so enamoured with the idea of joining the revolution it had them singing the whole way to Paris. Their enthusiasm must’ve been contagious, because the song they were singing is now the French national anthem, La Marseillaise!

Today’s Marseille is still an important trading port––in fact, it’s the Mediterranean biggest commercial port. But instead of spotting freight ships, we recommend you stroll the Old Port to see yachts bobbing in the marina and catamarans sail by. Next to the port lies Marseille’s oldest neighbourhood, Le Panier, with ochre-coloured walls, stone stairways, and petit rues all over. On the other side of the port, visit the Basilique Notre-Dame de la Garde, a 19th-century neo-Byzantine church with a huge golden statue of the Virgin and Child atop its tower. Did all the walking around arouse an appetite? Get a taste of the local cuisine and try bouillabaisse, a fragrant fish-and-seafood stew with wine and saffron. Spend the afternoon at one of Marseille’s renovated museums, like the Musée d’Histoire de Marseille, the MuCEM or Musée des Docks Romains. But when you hire a campervan in Marseille, the most fun part is getting out of the city and into wilderness––which, with the breathtaking Calanques, is right around the corner!

 

What to discover

In and around the city

Cité Radieuse

Nothing quite characterizes the post-war period as the design of this apartment block, built between 1947 and 1952 by the Swiss architect Le Corbusier. It was later repeated across all Europe. If you’re into architecture, history, or just have a general fancy in the way we humans do things, take a tour through this building, despite being a place where currently live more than a thousand people.

Boulevard Longchamp

Park your van for a moment and take a walk along the incredibly-beautiful Boulevard Longchamp. The Palais you see in this picture and its park were built to celebrate the conclusion of the Canal de Marseille that ended centuries of water supply problems for the city.

MuCEM

This cutting-edge museum was built in 2013, restoring a share of the city’s waterfront right next to the 17th-century Fort de Saint-Jean. Not only does the Museum of European and Mediterranean Civilizations have a range of interesting exhibitions, but a visit to Fort de Saint-Jean is included in the ticket.

 

Recommended locations

Montpellier

At a two-hour drive from Marseille, hire a campervan and visit Montpellier, the capital of Languedoc and a city whose Gothic city centre is seemingly carved out of stone. Visit the highest part of the city at the Promenade du Peyrou, a square designed during the reign of Louis XIV and featuring a statue of the Sun King himself. Enjoy the lively Place de la Comédie, with bars and restaurants set on a Hausmannian stage. Pay a visit to the Montpellier Cathedral, which Gothic arches seem to come straight out of Game of Thrones. And if you’d like to get out of the city, just hop in your van and drive to Pic Saint-Loup, a jagged mountain with stunning surroundings, or visit one of the most beautiful villages in France, Saint-Guilhem-le-Désert, a dreamy medieval village made of stone.

Narbonne

Right next to Montpellier and at two-and-a-half hours from Marseille, rent a campervan and head to Narbonne, a former Roman city which magic still amazes today. Get to know the city’s cathedral, a 14th-century gothic untouched building; the archbishop’s Palace, which is where the Roman Via Domitia started, connecting Narbonne, Cadiz and Rome; or visit the Horreum Romain, a 1st-century network of underground galleries which served as corridors for Romans. Not so fond of the ancient Roman Empire? Pay a visit to Maison Natale Charles Trenet, where the singer of La Mer used to live. Marvel at the Pont des Marchands on the Canal de la Robine, a bridge like Florence’s Vecchio Bridge, with apartments built right on top of it. Don’t forget to taste the local delicacies of Narbonne and the Aude department, like Cassoulet, A pork and bean casserole.

Avignon

Less than 1,5 hour away from Marseille, hire a campervan near Avignon and visit what once was the centre of the Catholic world. That’s right, the pope lived here in the early 1300s, bringing his whole entourage and fortunes along. Explore Palais des Papes, a huge 14th-century palace that is stunning enough to have gotten the UNESCO World Heritage stamp-of-approval. Get close to the Pont Saint-Bénézet for amazing pictures of this bridge––or what’s left of it. Once 915 metres long, a catastrophic flood in the 17th-century carried of most of the bridge’s arches. Be amazed by the golden interior of the Basilique Saint-Pierre d’Avignon, built for the Pope. Or by the cutest street in Avignon, Rue des Teinturiers; or go back further in time with the Roman ruin Pont du Gard.

 

Depot Contacts

Phone: +351308 809 080

Email: [email protected]

Address: 1 Avenue de l'Homme À la Fenêtre - 13220 Châteauneuf-les-Martigues, France

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