10 Unmissable Things To Do In Marseille At Night
After you've found out all about what Marseille has to offer during the daytime, you may well be wondering what there is to do in this French city after dark. After all, who wants to spend every night of their stay here reading a guidebook or novel in their hotel room? The answer to that is no one.
Thankfully, there are lots of amazing things to do at night in Marseille so you won't be bored for a minute once the sun has slipped down behind the Mediterranean horizon. Finding enough time to fit in everything there is to do in Marseille at night during your stay here is another problem.
The one thing you won't need to resort to for nighttime excitement when you're visiting Marseille is taking photos of the Notre-Dame de la Garde and Chateau d'If, which is famous for its role in The Count of Monte Cristo. There are more fun things to do than that. Think of a leisurely French-style fresh fish dinner in the Vieux Port, the old port, taking a sunset cruise along the Mediterranean coast, riding the city's Ferris wheel, and then dancing until dawn in some of the many clubs.
Whatever you decide to do, you can't do it carrying your bags. If you've somehow got lumbered with your luggage, don't despair. Leave your belongings at one of the Bounce luggage storage facilities in Marseille. Bounce luggage lockers are a simple solution to any luggage storage problem you might have. They are conveniently located near the city's main train station, Gare Saint Charles, and are always affordable.
So What Is There To Do At Night In Marseille?
No, you can't go traipsing around the Calanques National Park after dark or learn about European and Mediterranean civilisations when the museums are shut. Those are activities you'll just have to plan for the daytime. To find out just what you can do at night when you're in Marseille, all you have to do is read on. Some things may well surprise you.
Go French In Vieux Port
While it might not initially sound very exciting, the old port, also called the Vieux Port, is well worth an evening visit. It's the oldest quarter in the city and has been Marseille's port for a couple of centuries at least. It may once have been an unsavory area at nighttime, but that has all changed, and now it's a vibrant spot in the city with an atmosphere all its own.
Take a wander past the fishing boats moored up along the quay then take a table on the terrace of Au Bout du Quai. Don't turn up too early though as dinner service doesn't begin until eight. Enjoy an aperitif while perusing the menu then, once you've ordered, sit back and relax as you enjoy the views of the Notre Dame de la Garde on its hilltop with the city spread out below from your Vieux Port vantage point.
If you visit Marseille in the winter, try the bouillabaisse, a traditional French fish stew. It's healthy and warming, but if you're here in the summer go for oysters, salmon tartare, or the monkfish with risotto. You won't be disappointed with any of them.
Also, to save some cash, this is one of the best areas to get Marseille street food. Grab your affordable meal to go and wander while you dine.
Spin On The Grande Roue de Marseille
Put a thrill into your night out in Marseille by taking a ride on the Grande Roue de Marseille. The Grande Roue de Marseille, or ferris wheel of Marseille, is located in the Vieux Port during the winter months and on the Borely promenade in the summer.
The Grande Roue de Marseille is one of the biggest of its kind in France and stands a staggering 180 feet high. All of the gondolas are open to the elements so it's not something you can do on a rainy day in Marseille, but it can prove to be refreshing on a warm evening.
The wheel operates until 11 pm, but if you're considering eating a fish dinner, it's a good idea to have your spin first as the revolutions are not always great for aiding digestion.
Discover Le Panier Quarter
Once you would have been literally taking your life in your hands if you went into le Panier Quarter after dark. Now though, it's a bohemian area full of street art, bistros, and wine bars that are popular with the younger crowd. It's actually one of the most popular areas to stay in Marseille.
Join the locals for a glass of wine on the terrace of Bar des 13 Coins, and while it may look similar to an old-fashioned British pub on the outside, it's anything but. If that bar isn't to your taste, try the Tout Vin a Point on the Rue de l'Évêché. It's a little classier and is decorated in a rustic farmhouse style that's pleasant on the eye. At Tout Vin a Point wine bar you can indulge in a glass or bottle of French plonk accompanied by some tasty cold cuts to nibble on while you do some people-watching. No, there aren't any sea views in le Panier Quarter, but sometimes you just have to manage without them.
Go Sky High
While the Museum of European and Mediterranean Civilizations closes its doors to the public at 7 pm, it's still worth going there. The MuCEM is the location of one of the best rooftop bars in Marseille and it stays open until 1 am.
You definitely won't be slumming it if you go to Dantes Skylounge. This rooftop bar has a huge glass-walled terrace and is decked out with comfortable armchairs and sofa-sized seating where you can chill to your heart's content.
Dantes Skylounge commands some of the best views over the city, of Vieux Port, and Fort Saint-Jean, so you'll be able to watch the sun glinting against the Mediterranean waves as it sets while sipping a classy cocktail. It won't be the most economic of experiences even if you only stay half an hour, but one that'll be worth every single euro and then some.
Sail Into The Sunset
Going sailing at sunset when you're in Marseille is something that's truly hard to resist. You don't even need to have great sea legs if you go out with a company like Levantin Catamarans either, as catamarans are renowned for smooth sailing.
You can choose how you want your outing to be too. If you're happy on a crowded boat where you're served a buffet along with around 100 others, it will cost you a lot less than if you go on a smaller cruise with less than 20 other passengers.
Most cruises depart from the quay in front of the MuCEM or from the harbor in front of the town hall at around 6:30 pm. The standard duration of sunset dinner cruises is about three hours, so once you're back on dry land there'll still be plenty of night left to do something else. If you need assistance getting to the cruise departure locations, consult our guide on how to get around Marseille.
Go On A Social Crawl
When you're traveling alone, it can be daunting to go out at night on your own. Make it a lot easier by joining a pub crawl. It doesn't have to be a rowdy, shots down the hatch, and move on to the next bar affair.
Pub Crawl Marseille organizes a pub crawl that's just as much a social getting to know you event as it is a boozy party. The crawl takes place three days of the week, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. Everyone meets up at the Vertigo Bar on Rue Sainte in the city center at around 9:30 pm.
Once you've met the guide and everyone else who'll be joining in the fun, it's off to the first of three bars. There are ice-breaking drinking games plus a few surprises along the way before the crawl ends in a nightclub where you can dance the rest of the night away.
Go For A Classic Night Out
If you've never attended an opera before maybe it's time to add it to your been there, seen it, and done it list while you're in Marseille.
The Opera Municipal de Marseille is housed in a historic building and has been staging classic works since 1924 so it can't be all that bad, especially as the majority of performances are total sell-outs.
The key to understanding what's going on during the performance is checking out the back story on the internet before the curtain goes up. That way, even if you don't understand a word of what's being sung, you'll have a general idea of what's happening.
If opera really just doesn't entice you as far as entertainment goes, try heading for Le Trolleybus instead. No, you won't be riding around Marseille on a hop-on hop-off bus, they don't work in this French city after 5 pm, you'll be going clubbing in Vieux Port.
Le Trolleybus is one of Marseille's best nightclubs and is somewhere you don't have to worry about not liking the music. This nightclub has three different floors and the music played on each is completely different. All you have to do is go from one to the other until you find your vibe.
Le Trolleybus opens four days of the week, Tuesdays, Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays from midnight until 6 am. Don’t miss out on the party by having an early night.
Dock des Suds
When you prefer live music to techno, house, and hip hop, or if clubs aren't really what rocks your boat, then plan for a night at Dock des Suds.
Dock des Suds is an event and concert venue on the Rue Urbain V where there are regular live performances from bands and independent artists representing all the genres of world music imaginable. You could go and there will be an internationally known group playing or it could be someone from Korea you've never heard of.
Don't expect intimate-style concerts, Dock des Suds is a massive renovated warehouse that holds audiences of several thousand and yes, it gets crammed every time there's a show on.
Save Money In Style
There's no arguing that Marseille can prove to be a little on the pricey side where eating and drinking are concerned. After a late night, even the best brunch in Marseille can set you back €25 to €35. If you've stretched your vacation budget to the limit and it just won't cover any more outings, there's still something wonderful you can do.
Going for a stroll along the Plages du Prado in the early evening won't cost you a penny. It's the spot where locals go to people watch until it's time for nature's spectacular. Find a bench somewhere along the Plages du Prado promenade and you'll be in the best spot to catch the stunning Mediterranean sunset.
If you've still got plenty of cents left, you might want to upgrade the experience by taking a table at the Cafe de la Plage. Here you can sip on a sophisticated cocktail while enjoying the same sunset.
Now you know all about the amazing things there are to do at night when you're in Marseille, you can forget about resorting to taking photos of the Notre Dame de la Garde, but don't leave your phone or camera in your hotel room. No one should miss the spectacular sunsets that occur in this French city whether you're forking out for cocktails or doing it for free.
The sunsets in Marseille are just as good seen from the Vieux Port as they are from the Plages du Prado, so if you're heading into the old port for dinner you don't need to go out of your way. Yes, there are trendy bars and nightclubs around the city center, but often the more rustic bars, like the ones you'll find in the Le Panier Quarter, will give you a much better and more French experience, so don't hesitate to try them.