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Stay in Aix-en-Provence or Marseille?

San Francisco...
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Stay in Aix-en-Provence or Marseille?

I'm planning a trip to southern France and I'd like to stay in either Marseille or Aix-en-Provence for a portion of my trip. Which would you recommend? And which is more expensive?

United Kingdom
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for Barnstaple, Robin Hood's Bay, Whitby
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1. Re: Stay in Aix-en-Provence or Marseille?

Well, it really depends what you are after in a place to stay. Aix-en-Provence is has a pretty city centre, with a beautiful cathedral and markets and is very keen on Cezanne the impressionist painter. Marseille is a large port city; the harbour is pretty but the main portion of the city less so.

We found accommodation in Aix to be pretty expensive, but the whole of the South of France is fairly so. We stayed in a small town near Aix in the end, Trets, which was lovely.

Guildford, United...
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2. Re: Stay in Aix-en-Provence or Marseille?

Marseille is the second largest city in France with a not entirely undeserved reputation for crime resulting in the nickname of Rio-sur-Mer. For a flavour have a look at 'Marseille's battle between culture and crime' in the British Observer newspaper 27.11.2011. Aix is about a tenth the size and a great deal more peaceful.

It is some time since I have been in SF but I would say that, like for like, hotels are no more expensive in S France, except for the room size, with French rooms smaller. Anywhere in France, at the cheaper end of the market, for around $100 a night you have a choice between old, traditional, somewhat shabby hotels and modern places along the lines of Motel 6, such as Ibis, Etap and Premiere Classe (anything but first class!) wholly lacking in character but reliably clean and tidy. There also a few places at around 10,000 a night for a suite with a private pool, mainly aimed at the Eastern European gangster market (bodies disposed of discretely) but I guess that is not what you are looking for?

Probably my worst ever hotel night was on my first trip to San Francisco when I wanted one night somewhere cheap and phoned a number at the airport. A bus took me to a place that looked like a WW2 concrete gun emplacement. The room had no curtains and the person next door kept the TV on all night. There were regular sounds of police sirens and gunfire, which wasn't entirely certain were coming from the TV or outside. I have stayed in some fairly awful French hotels but none quite that bad.

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3. Re: Stay in Aix-en-Provence or Marseille?

Personally out of the two I would prefer to stay in Aix and go to Marseille for a day visit.

As a rule of thumb like everwhere you get what you pay for. Some of the chain hotes like Ibis etc tend to be out of the main part of the town but there are good hotels in the centre depending on your budget..

The France can be as expensive as you make it. Down the road from us (not too far from Aix as it happens) is a great Relais Routier cafe where two of us can have a three course meal plus wine and coffee for under Euro 30.

Further on is another restaurant that we use where we never get away with a bill of under Euro120.

It is just a matter of looking around and eating where the locals do.

4. Re: Stay in Aix-en-Provence or Marseille?

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