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Visiting Marseille, better with or without a car?

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Chicago, IL
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Visiting Marseille, better with or without a car?

We're renting a car to drive around Provence for a few days and my plan for our final day (Saturday) is to go to see Marseille's old town and the Chateau d'If. I have our final night booked at the Holiday Inn in Vitrolles, it has a free shuttle back to the airport where we leave from early Sunday morning at 7am.

Would it make more sense to turn the car in Friday night to the airport or other location? I believe we will be coming back from Monaco in the early evening on Friday, we could drop the car at the ariport and take the shuttle to the hotel. On Saturday we could take the train into Marseille for the day, the hotel's website says it's a 15 minute train ride to Marseille and the train station is a few steps away.

Is this the train schedule? It looks like it's 4.70 each way from Vitrolles to Marseille and that the trains run really frequently

www.mrsairport.com/eng/acces/acces_train.jsp

Will visiting the old town and Chateau d'If take up most of a day? I hadn't given much thought to Marseille in the beginning but Frommer's gives it 3 stars out of 3 and Fodor's says that it's worth a stop. And I really want to see Chateau d'If which I'm guessing will take up a good chunk of the day.

Marseille, France
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1. Re: Visiting Marseille, better with or without a car?

|I'd definitely turn the car in on the Friday and save on hire charges and parking costs. You won't need it to see the things you want to in MRS; in fact, it would be a bit of a nuisance. You can either take the train or the airport shuttle to and from the airport and the city. As you're staying in Vitrolles, the train probably makes more sense, though I never use it personally as it's not right by the airport.

I would say you don't need most of the day to see the Chateau d'If. It's a great boat ride out there (around 40 minutes, if memory serves) but you can go round the Chateau itself in about an hour. It's possible to take the same boat a stop further on to the Frioul Islands, which are really nice and worth a visit, and so that might, combined, might make a half day excursion. More about the Chateau and the Frioul Islands: http://bit.ly/ajgYMr

Marseille, France
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2. Re: Visiting Marseille, better with or without a car?

And in fact I meant to mention.... another reason for not going in by car is the fact that the centre of Marseille is a bit of a building site at the moment. One-way traffic only on the Old Port and no cars on the lower part of the Canebiere. Not good if you don't know your way round town (and not good if you do either).

Chicago, IL
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3. Re: Visiting Marseille, better with or without a car?

Thanks! Once I confirm that the Holiday Inn is indeed that close to the train station and that we can drop the car off Friday night I think we will take the train in.

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4. Re: Visiting Marseille, better with or without a car?

If we take the train from Vitrolles into Marseille, is the station Gare de Marseille Saint-Charles? Is it close enough to walk to the Vieux Port area? From the train station or the Vieux Port area, what is the best way to get to the ferry for the Chateau d'If?

Is this the schedule? If so it looks like the last train back to Vitrolles from Marseille is 20:45?

…aeroport.fr/img/…horairesvamp.pdf

Marseille, France
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5. Re: Visiting Marseille, better with or without a car?

Yes, you'll end up at Saint Charles, which is the main train and bus station. It's a 10-15 walk from Saint Charles to the Old Port - downhill there, uphill back. Or two stops on the metro. You can pick up the ferry for the Chateau d'If on the Old Port.

It does look from that timetable as if the last train is at 20.45, which seems a tad early. But if you wanted a night out in Marseille, you could take the shuttle bus to the airport (it runs till late evening). Then either see if your hotel has a shuttle to pick you up or take a taxi -- it would be a short ride from the terminal.

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6. Re: Visiting Marseille, better with or without a car?

Thanks! I'm sure we will be able to get back to the hotel, I thought the last train time was a little early but if there are buses running to the airport (I assume also from St. Charles) we shouldn't have a problem getting back. And since our flight is so early I doubt we will stay out that late.

7. Re: Visiting Marseille, better with or without a car?

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