Watch the comings and goings, the loadings and unloadings, and you'll get some idea of the importance of this small port to Marseille over its history.

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Vieux Port (The Old Port)

A place where time stands still.

The origin of Marseille's Vieux Port goes back to ancient Greece, when Hellenic adventurers seeking to invade Gaul would shelter their barges in this cove - and indeed, the port's shipyards are historic monuments considered city icons. Although nowadays most of the maritime action (such as a brisk business as a port of call on the Mediterranean cruise ship circuit) has shifted to the new port on the outskirts of the city, here you can still experience an atmospheric mix of both traditional fishing boats and fancy yachts, surrounded by the glamour of a luxury marina. For another take on this part of town (if you don't have a yacht of your own), check it out from the world's shortest cruise line (675 feet), the local ferry, operating since 1880.

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