If Southern France is beckoning you, then Marseille is a truly French experience for expatriates to enjoy, with an enviable climate, excellent restaurants, and a wealth of culture, having been the European Capital of Culture in 2013.
Marseille is the second-largest city of France and the capital of the Bouches-du-Rhône department and Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur administrative region. It is a commercial hub, and regularly welcomes freight and cruise ships. Moving to France has never looked so good when you enter the port of Marseille!
If you’re partial to hot, dry Mediterranean summers and mild, humid winters, then Marseille’s climate is practically perfect. This climate lends itself to al-fresco eating in high-end restaurants that offer a truly gastronomic experience, waterfront walks that offer turquoise coves or bustling streets, and, if you have your sea legs, sailing aboard yachts in the Old Port (Vieux Port) and off into the Med.
Vieux Port is the vibrant heart of Marseille, and is set below Le Panier, an older part of the city. This neighbourhood, the oldest section of the city, is lined with narrow streets and an abundance of pleasant squares.
If you like to hit the shops, the area of the République quarter offers a plethora of stylish boutiques. In addition, major chains can be found at the Centre Bourse shopping centre, but be prepared find some high price tags for some authentic designer goods.
What makes Marseille a beautiful city is not just its heritage, but also its local population. The city captures the best of the real Mediterranean atmosphere within France, especially in summer. The local people are considered easy going and welcoming, and they believe Marseille to be completely different from any other city in France. They are aware and accepting of the expat community, and are keen to share all that they love about their eclectic home.
It would be remiss not to mention that, given all the above, Marseille is a busy, tourist city. Thus, expatriates living in Marseille, as within all cities, should be vigilant in busy areas. As long as you are careful, you will be safe and secure in Marseille.
There is a wealth of trendy and up-and-coming neighbourhoods in Marseille to find accommodation for expats. Belle de Mai is one such area, near to the city’s train station. It has seen major renovations and become an area for families, with a converted factory offering a skateboarding park, cafe and arty bookshop, a playground, and a bar and a restaurant. This area also plays host to numerous festivals, concerts, art exhibitions and social events for the city. Housing throughout Marseille ranges from apartments to villas, but there is enough variation and availability for single people, couples, and families to choose from.
Children of expatriates working and living in Marseille are able to attend one of the international schools, where English is the main language. Here they can study for international qualifications that are accepted in their home country.
Moving to France, and particularly Marseille, need not hinder your child’s education. The authorities created these schools, most notably Epim Marseilles, a bilingual school based in the city. If you are keen for your child to integrate and learn French, whilst studying in English, this could be a perfect solution.
If you enjoyed reading our expat's guide to the French city Marseille and if you’re moving to France, find out how our international removals team can help to arrange packing, storage and transportation on your behalf.