WELCOME TO MARSEILLE
Marseille is definitely a love-or-hate city. Let’s be honest, if you are looking for a busy gay scene with killer clubs and bars, you can clearly give it a miss. But if you are looking for skinny dipping sessions surrounded by beautiful nature, and want to explore a city full of character and history, then this might be your lucky day.
Things to watch out for:
The best time to visit Marseille would be between May and September. winters can be a terrible drag in the city.
Having a car is going to be a great help as the city is big and the transport far from great.
Bonjour! Marseille’s airport is 30 minutes away from the city and quite well served by bus. Don’t bother ordering a taxi, it will cost you a bomb – at least 100 euros (as a general rule avoid taxis in South of France). To stay in the city, Hotels and Airbnb are both good options. Most of the hotels are located in the Vieux Port area, the most central and crowded location. Avoid booking hotels located in remote areas or near the Train station, it can be quite dodgy. For Airbnb, try to stay central and on the main streets. We recommend in particular staying next to the following Metro Stations: Prado, Perier, Castellane, and Vieux Port.
After checking in to your hotel, it’s time to relax and go for the “apero” (pre dinner drinks). Have a delicious pastis (local drink, careful you will quickly get hammered) at the Polikarpov (http://www.lepolikarpov.com ), a gay bar with a big terrace located just behind le vieux port. While you’re there, grab the chance to meet some local hotties by asking them for “tips” on what to do in the city during the evening. If you haven’t had a shower yet and would like to avoid the gay crowd, go to La Caravelle (http://www.lacaravelle-marseille.com/anglais/) a charming bar at the first floor of Le Vieux Port with a view of the harbour.
Now it’s time to head for diner and the good news is that the food is one of Marseille’s selling points. If you want to stay in a gay environment, go to Le Bistro Venitien (https://www.tripadvisor.co.uk/Restaurant_Review-g187253-d816097-Reviews-Bistro_Venitien-Marseille_Bouches_du_Rhone_Provence.html ) on Cours Julien (Metro Cours Julien, you can also walk from Vieux Port if you feel like visiting the city). It’s a is a great option if you want to eat outside (it has a cosy terrace) and be able to tuck into a wide variety of food, such as mediterranean, pizza or thai dishes. The staff are also gay friendly (yeah, it means they’re all poofs) and the owner Marie might offer you some local liqueur if you have been (gay?)friendly enough.
For Italian food aficionados (there’s a lot of great italian food in the city), La Cantinetta (http://www.restaurantlacantinetta.fr/ ) is also a great choice and offers quality Italian cuisine (the best pasta in town). Try to book in advance to get a table outside and be careful as the menu can sting you a little for price.
If you then fancy finding your summer romance (or a casual shag), you can then head to the New Can Can (http://www.newcancan.com/ ), the only real gay club in Marseille. It’s usually quite crowded on Friday and Saturday nights, but during August, clubs in general can we be quite empty. The music is pretty varied (including some French oldies), so we would recommend checking the website before heading there. Also be aware that during summer, they sometimes change the location of the club, but again this should be indicated on their website.
If you are into cruising, one of the biggest spots in Marseille is the Parc Borely car park on the side of Prado Avenue. You will however need a car to get there. By the way, Parc Borely is a really cute park – not that you care.
Saturday 10AM (ISH!)
Morning, Sunshine! Hopefully the ten pastis you had yesterday didn’t make you sick (we warned you).
If you wake up early enough, a great way to kick off the day would be to visit Le Panier – the oldest and most characterful and authentic area of Marseille. You can also take the small train if you aren’t afraid of making a fool of yourself. It will take you to Notre Dame de la Garde, which has the highest view of the city. It’s worth a look.
After a nice breakfast on the vieux port, it’s time to go to spend your day on the only gay beach of Marseille – le Mont Rose. There are no shops around, so we would definitely recommend going to the boulangerie or the super marche before and making your own sandwiches. And don’t forget to buy rosé! There’s nothing better than getting sozzled on the beach. Getting there can be a bit tricky: go to Metro Castellane or Perier and take bus 19 until the last stop, Madrague de Montredon. Don’t get confused with bus19s, as it terminates at an earlier stop. Once you have arrived, turn to your left on Boulevard de Mont Rose and walk 2 minutes. You will find a little trail going up the hills. The beach is just behind (follow the over-tanned queens if you’re unsure).
Le Mont Rose is a rocky beach and you will only have access to the sea with a rope. So clearly not a beach for pampered diva Queens. Also, if it’s windy you won’t be able to enter the water, so don’t go there if the weather is too wild.
You will find the cruising area at the top of the hill just heap to the beach, in the middle of the pine tree forest. Most of the fun happens on Saturdays and Sundays between 2 and 7pm – but you should always be able to find “opportunities” during the summer time.
Once your skin has burned enough, it’s time to get a dinner with a view. Marseille offers many great restaurants on the seaside for a variety of budgets. Our favourite ones are: Au Bord de l’eau and La Grotte.
If you are still craving parties after dinner you have two options. First, if you have a car and are off the booze and like electro music, then it’s time to head to the Spartacus club near Aix en Provence. If you don’t get lost it will probably be a 20-minute drive at night. Be careful on the road – people from Marseille can be really crazy on the highway.
Alternatively, if you want to stay in the city we would advise going to the le Trolley Bus. Warning: this is not a gay place. They do, however, have a gay-friendly night called La Dame Noire.
It’s your last day, so take your vitamin C and let’s head early to the beach, you lazy bum.
If you followed my instructions and had a heavy night, we would recommend going to l’ile du Frioul where you can access beautiful beaches directly from the vieux port. The boat trip on its own is worth going there for, as it give you a fantastic view. The main beach is always crowded so try to get a quiet spot at the back of the islands.
If you are looking for something more physical (gym queen attitude), then you are ready for a trek in Sugiton, one of the most beautiful inlets in Marseille. And yes, it’s time to get naked again. We know you love it – here’s a nudist beach at the far end.