Marseille is the second largest city in France and the largest port in the Mediterranean, whose name is used for the anthem "Marseillaise". The European Capital of Culture 2013. The city is very old, founded in 600 BC, and is one of the oldest in Europe. Almost in the heart of the city there is the Vestige Garden (Jardin des Vestiges), where you can see the ruins of the original Massalia settlement.
Marseille is quite a large city, so it can be difficult to navigate on foot. Maps of public transport can be downloaded here. On the same website you can see the schedule of lines. Better buy 1-day ticket (~ 5.2 euros, 2017) or 3-days ticket (~ 10.8, 2017). There is also a metro in Marseille, but it is inconvenient for tourists.
If you come by car then we have good news. Marseille has underground tunnels and overpasses, there is an opportunity to drive from the outskirts and park in the very center in 10 minutes! We have not seen anything like this anywhere else. Also in Marseille we noticed a "green wave" of traffic lights, it's when you drive without stopping and you always have green light. This moment was used by writers of the script for the movie Taxi (1998).
All the main tourist life in Marseille boils around the Old Port. This is the main public space in the city. Recently there was a highway around the bay, but now pedestrian areas occupy 70% of the territory. From the Old Port there are boats to the famous If castle (Château d'If) and to the Calanque National Park.
We lived in the Old Port, in a fairly inexpensive Hermes hotel (booking.com). We recommend it due to excellent location and the roof terrace with the best view of the port. Underground parking Q-Park is located nearby (N 43 17.786 E 5 22.129) and can be booked online. This is the only parking in the center, so it makes sense to book in advance.
Be sure to see the amusing design of the pavilion Ombrière. If you do not look immediately at the second photo, it's hard to understand what it is. This mirror construction was built by the famous British architect Norman Foster for the project "Marseille - the cultural capital of Europe".
The cultural and business center of Villa Méditerranée and its surroundings
The nearest metro is Vieux-Port - Hôtel de Ville and Joliette. Underground parking Indigo (N 43 17.906 E 5 21.773). You can also park in Q-Park in the Old Port, these places are nearby.
The former territory of the port is now converted to a huge public space. Here are the Museum of European Civilizations and the Mediterranean Museum, the medieval fortress of Fort St. John (Fort Saint-Jean), the cathedral of Marseille and a small old town on a hill.
Despite the fact that the house is residential, it can be visited. It's free, you just need to leave your data at the entrance. Inside the house there are real streets with restaurants, offices, shops and gym.
Public space with restaurants and playgrounds. The place, most likely, is not entirely safe, as African teenagers are selling here light drugs, but quite interesting. In the adjoining streets there is a huge amount of graffiti.
The cultural center of La Friche (Friche la Belle de Mai)
Buses 49, 52, 582 to the Belle de Mai la Friche stop. There is a parking, entrance is here N 43 18.716 E 5 23.490.
The former industrial zone, the cultural center from 2013. Here are the theater, the studio, exhibitions, various markets. From the street it's more like some abandoned warehouse with a lot of graffiti.
The metro station Cinq-Avenues - Longchamp. Tram T2 to the stop of Longchamp. There is no parking.
The most interesting place here is not even the park itself, but the beautiful Lonsham Palace. It was built in honor of the opening of the Marseille water canal, which brought clean water to the city. The park is not open 24h: March, April, September, October - 8 - 19; May-August - 8 - 20, November-February - 8 - 17:30.
Getting there: Buses from Marseille Airport go to the train station every 15 minutes, the price is 8.4 euros one way or 13 euros return (2017). By train Marseille can be reached from Paris in 3 hours, Lyon - 1 hour 45 minutes, Nice - 2 hours.