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. (This guide is meant for use once travel is safe.)
Today, a frequent question about traveling to France concerns the coronavirus. When will France be safe for travel?
Here's the latest:
August 3rd: France has begun welcoming travelers back. Citizens of the EU are free to visit without quarantining or proving their good health.
France has begun to loosen restrictions for non-EU countries, like Canada and Australia. Anyone traveling from outside the EU is required to quarantine for fourteen days.
Presently, American citizens are not permitted to enter France unless they qualify for an exception.
The U.S. State Department has issued a Level 4 Travel Advisory for all international travel. This strongly recommends that Americans avoid international 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.
In light of the coronavirus, the State Department has issued a Level 4 travel advisory for international travel. This is the highest safety category. It means that international travel is unsafe.
Before the pandemic, the State Department assigned France a Level 2 travel advisory. For context, most of Western Europe also has a Level 2 travel advisory. This includes places like Italy and the United Kingdom.
Level 2 means that travelers should use increased caution. In France, travelers should be aware of the threat of terror attacks and occasional strikes—like the Yellow Vest protests.
In big cities, you’ll notice a large police presence. Their goal is to keep France safe for locals and travelers.
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.