Ch?teau d'if fortress in the Mediterranean Sea, near Marseille, France (Sami Sarkis/Photographers Choice/Getty)

Notre Dame's Gargoyle Marseille (iStockphoto)

Calanques of Port Pin in Cassis Marseille (iStockphoto)

Fountains in front of Longchamps Palace in Marseille, France (iStockphoto)


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What to do in Marseille

The story of the French seaside city of Marseille goes back to ancient history. Cave paintings nearby are 27,000-years old, and the original city was built by Greeks in 600 B.C. More recently, Marseille has evolved from trading settlement to military base to manufacturing hub to cosmopolitan cultural center and premier tourist destination. There are so many significant (and significantly old) sites in this port city that a week is barely long enough to take them all in. Whether it’s Romanesque cathedrals or fortresses built between the 12th and 17th centuries (including Château d’If, the setting of The Count of Monte Cristo ) or the landscapes that inspired the painters Georges Braque and Andre Derain, Marseille could fill an entire guidebook with its must-sees.