Marseilles and the Plage du Prado – a positive surprise

Marseille and the Plage du Prado – a positive surprise

We used to travel quite often in the south of France, but we never really saw the region around Marseilles as an attractive holiday destination, especially for a beach holiday.

Of course, the history of the city of Marseilles has always been fascinating, but the city's reputation, well, isn't really the best. It was clear during our stay in Marseille in April that we also wanted to take the region on the further outskirts into account and therefore also wanted to visit the Plage du Prado beach section, even if the temperatures didn't really allow us to swim in the sea.

Plage du Prado – an artificial beach area

prado strand 06The Plage du Prado, like many other beaches along the coast, was only created in the 1970s as part of a project to make it easier for residents to access the sea. The beach and surrounding parkland were surprisingly well received by locals and visitors and since then many French people have flocked to the coast to enjoy the activities on offer and relax in the extensive surroundings. The beach was artificially filled, first in the 1970s and later in the 1980s on the initiative of Mayor Gaston Defferre. The material required came from the construction of the Marseille Metro. It consists mostly of fine silica sand.

prado strand 03The Plage du Prado is 20 minutes by bus south of the old port of Marseille and we also used the bus line 83, which is available there every half hour, despite the strong mistral that could already be felt at the port of Port Vieux. In summer there is also a boat from Prado to Port Vieux once an hour.

In the summer months, many citizens use the Plage du Prado as a local recreation destination, so there was relatively little going on at the time of our visit, which could also have been due to the Mistral. However, the situation was completely different at sea, as numerous surfers and kite surfers (see our article Mistral and surfing) could be seen. It goes without saying that the Plage du Prado is also often used as a venue for numerous sporting events, including professional hang gliding and windsurfing championships. In July 2008, the Plage du Prado hosted the 2008 FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup, which was the first time it was held outside Brazil.

Restaurants and cafes open despite Mistral

prado strand 02Despite the strong wind, some restaurants and cafés were open, so we were able to warm up with a warm drink and a view of the wonderfully roaring sea.  

Prado beach has numerous toilets and changing rooms and is barrier-free.

Of course, in summer you can go out on the water: you can rent sailboats, kayaks and snorkels and fins on the promenade. If you want a little more action, you'll be spoiled for choice - options include windsurfing and snorkelling.

prado strand 05The beachfront stadium offers a varied program of sporting events all year round, including beach rugby, beach volleyball and BMX contests.

However, there is a small entrance fee for summer activities in the stadium.

If you want to turn your day at the beach into a longer day trip, you can also head further towards Plage Borély, where a Ferris wheel runs its rounds until late into the night.

The majestic Parc Borély also borders this beach.

prado strand 04And another tip that we learned while talking to us in the beach bar: If you're on a weekend vacation in Marseilles in September, you might be just in time for the annual Fête du Vent (Festival of the Wind), where over 100,000 kite builders and flyers gather from all over the world come to the beach.

Marseille and its beaches have long since become an attractive attraction and our information regarding a high crime rate in the city of Marseille has not been confirmed.

Please read as well:

Danziger Goldwasser and other abnormalities

Hike to the idyllic harbour of Vallon des Auffes


Life | Outdoors