Marseille France beaches offer pleasant Mediterranean weather, close proximity to the charm of the old port, and a range of pebbly or sandy beaches. While the beaches of Marseille may not be as beautiful as the fine white-sand beaches of other locations on the French Riviera, they can be well worth a morning or afternoon of sunbathing or swimming and diving. About twelve miles to the southeast, the Cassis beaches are a more popular destination if your goal is to lie out on the sand.
Plage du Prado
The Plage du Prado is the main beach and the most popular of the Marseille France beaches. You can take a bus or taxi from the main part of Marseille to reach it, and there is ample accommodation as well as many bars and restaurants in close proximity to the beach. The Plage du Prado was the site of the 2008 FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup, with a wide expanse of sandy area where you can play sports such as beach volleyball, soccer, and other sports. This is a popular beach, so you’ll be hard-pressed to find a secluded spot to lay your beach towel, but it’s still less crowded than more popular beaches in other Cote d’Azur or French Riviera locations, such as the Cannes beaches. You can swim in the clear water and it is also popular for surfing, although the surf can get crowded.
Plage des Catalans
This sandy beach is the closest beach to the Old Port of Marseille, and popular for its convenience. The sand is pleasant, although close to the buildings of town. There is a beach volleyball court, showers and lifeguards, and restaurants up by the road. Although the view isn’t the best of Marseille’s beaches—it’s surrounded by buildings and roads—you are able to look out on the ocean and swim in the clear blue waters.
Plage Escale Borely
This somewhat pebbly beach south of downtown Marseille is not ideal for lounging around on the sand, but it is the place to go for windsurfing during the summer and surfing during the winter. In the winter there are some nice waves, but competition is fierce to catch them. You’ll do best if you go on a weekday to avoid the crowds trying to share the waves. The beach here is well equipped with amenities such as showers, restaurants, and other conveniences.
Plage de la Pointe Rouge
One of the rare fine sand beaches in Marseille, Plage de la Pointe Rouge south of town is ideal for families and young children. The sand is soft and comfortable, and the ocean floor shelves gently downwards, making the water shallow and warm, perfect for beginner swimmers. During the crowded summer months, restaurants and food stands galore pop up all over the beach, and it is next to impossible to find a parking space. You can also go kite-surfing or rent a paddle-boat to get out on the water. Showers and lifeguards are provided during the peak season.
Calanques at Cassis
The nearby town of Cassis is a great place to get away if you’re looking for beautiful beaches in less crowded locales. The calanques, for which Cassis is famous, are miniature fjords, with breathtaking limestone cliffs reaching right down to the azure waters, punctuated with some of the most beautiful little beaches in this area. Some of the more famous Cassis beaches in the calanques are Port Pin and d’En-Vau, both secluded within the cliffs of Cassis—you won’t be sharing the beach with many other tourists here.
Plage de la Grande Mer, Cassis
For more of a typical beach experience at one of the most beautiful beaches in the area, check out the main beach near the town of Cassis. The fine sand is soft, and the pastel-colored buildings of this picturesque village make a great view amid the natural beauty of the coastline. Not quite as touristy as its neighbor Marseille, the beach at Cassis is slightly less crowded, with a great deal more local charm.