On a bright, sunny day, when a cool breeze comes off the Mediterranean, La Corniche is one of the most picturesque places in the world. This stretch of over 1.8 miles (3 kilometres) was formally named for President John F. Kennedy after his assassination, revealing the close links between France and the United States. Though the road was first built in the 1860s, it was renovated in the 1960s and today is both a popular route between Marseille’s tourist spots and a destination in its own right. On a visit to La Corniche bring a camera to capture some of the best views in the city from here.
Drive south from town along La Corniche. The road can get crowded during peak tourist season. Watch the light dance across the Mediterranean waters, occasionally stirred up by passing boats. Look out to the Château d’If, whose remains cling to the small island on which they were built. Bring binoculars to spot seabirds circling over the Frioul Islands or following fishing boats back into port.
Rest occasionally on the long bench lining almost 2 miles (3 kilometres) of the promenade, making it the world’s longest urban bench.
Head down to the beach access points dotted every once in a while for a swim or just to sip some pastis at nearby beach bars.
Notice numerous monuments, many of them focused on Marseille’s veterans, and admire the 19th-century villas that still stand facing the sparkling sea.
La Corniche runs across the seafront from close to the centre of Marseille, so it is easy to access even for just a small jaunt. Strolling along the whole length takes about 1 hour. Walk to the start from the Old Port in about 10 minutes. Travel here from the main train station in 15 minutes by car or 30 minutes by train. Parking along the road is difficult to locate, but you may find a few metered lots, especially closer to the Old Port. The road does not have bike lanes.