Marseille is a safe place to visit—with a little know-how. Locals helped us put together this guide to staying safe in Marseille, which covers everything from the coronavirus to tips for solo travelers.
Today, a frequent question about traveling to France concerns the coronavirus. When will France be safe for travel?
Here's the latest:
November 23rd: Presently, American citizens are not permitted to enter France unless they qualify for an exception. Currently, France does not allow any non-essential travel.
Is Marseille safe? Anthony Bourdain once noted that Marseille is a “victim of bad reputation.” Many are quick to dismiss Marseille as too dangerous to visit.
But locals tell us that Marseille is safe—as long as you follow a few precautions. The second-largest city in France, Marseille offers visitors excellent cuisine, ocean views, and a fantastic mix of cultures.
It’s a wonderful place to visit in France if you’re looking to get off the beaten path while still enjoying a big, dynamic city.
Before the pandemic, the US State Department assigned France a Level 2 Travel Advisory. For context, most of Western Europe also had a Level 2 travel advisory. This included places like Italy and the United Kingdom.
Because of the coronavirus, the State Department has given France a Level 3 Travel Advisory. This recommends that Americans reconsider travel.
Normally, France is safe to visit—but the pandemic has created new travel risks.
Although France is a safe destination, locals tell us you may encounter scammers and pickpockets—especially in big cities like Marseille. Common scams in France include:
Be on your guard, use common sense, and trust your instincts if something feels off. Locals note that these scams can occur throughout France, so keep them in mind whether you’re traveling to Paris or Marseille.
Locals in France tell us that Marseille is safe for solo travelers—but you should definitely keep some things in mind. They suggest:
For personalized advice on how to explore Marseille as a solo traveler, work with a local to plan your trip. It’s like having a best friend in France—but you can still explore on your own.
No matter where you go in France, it’s good to know a few phrases. Locals tell us that these are some good ones to keep in mind:
As a big city, Marseille is a good place to stay in France if you speak no French. People in restaurants and hotels will speak English. However, don’t expect everyone you meet to speak English.
At the very least, locals recommend saying bonjour when you enter a store and si’il vous plait and merci when you order something. The effort is deeply appreciated.