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10 Things to Do in Marseille in February

The cold February weather in Marseille is not an impediment to enjoy its monuments, natural spaces and seasonal activities. Discover this beautiful port city!

Ana Caballero

Ana Caballero

10 min read

10 Things to Do in Marseille in February

Marseille Square | ©Etienne Baudon

Local celebrations, beautiful natural spaces, sporting events, multicultural shows and much more. These are some of the activities you can take part in during your stay in the port city of Marseille in February.

You will have the opportunity to fly kites on the beaches of Marseille and watch the sunset over the Old Port while taking a boat ride. You can also visit the ski resorts of Provence from Marseille, attend a day of the city's Open 13 tennis tournament, enjoy Japanese culture at the Japan Expo, among others.

1. Enjoy the sunset from the Old Port of Marseille

Old port of Marseille| ©Jeanne Menjoulet
Old port of Marseille| ©Jeanne Menjoulet

Take advantage of your stay of 2 days or more in Marseille to enjoy a unique sunset from the Old Port of Marseille. To do so, you will be able to get on a boat for a small tour of the surroundings.

You will have the opportunity to contemplate a privileged sunset. During the month of February, the percentage of humidity is low and, therefore, the air is cleaner. Therefore, the colors projected by the sun are more vivid, compared to sunsets in Marseille in summer.

You can also walk along the marina while admiring the horizon or sit on one of the terraces. This way, you can have a drink or taste the local gastronomy.

Book a boat tour of Marseille

2. Be part of the big Carnival celebration during your visit to Marseille

Marseille Carnival| ©jeanmary inzerillo
Marseille Carnival| ©jeanmary inzerillo

If you make your trip to Marseille in mid-February, you must be part of the Carnival celebration. You will witness a great local street show and even have the option of escaping to Nice to visit its carnivals, considered the oldest in France.

Marseille Carnival

To enjoy the Marseille Carnival you will have to go to the Old Port area. There, a parade takes place in which you will see floats, acrobats, costumes, clowns, jugglers, among others.

In addition, in the marina you will find live music and craft sales. There are also theatrical performances and children's play areas, which is ideal for the little ones at home.

There are also dozens of terraces with restaurants and bars surrounding the port, from where you can watch the show. In fact, you could take advantage of the culinary variety of these places to take one of the gastronomic tours of Marseille.

Nice Carnival

If you have time in your itinerary, you can take advantage of your stay in Marseille to visit the city of Nice, which is less than three hours away by car or bus. There, you will experience one of the biggest celebrations, second only to the Carnival in Brazil.

At the Nice Carnival, you will be enveloped in a lively atmosphere of celebration 24 hours a day, for an entire week. You will see impressive floats, dance to the rhythm of the comparsas, among others.

Book one of the best gastronomic tours of Marseille

3. Join the celebration of the Virgin of Candelaria at the Abbey of St. Victor in Marseille

Saint Victor Abbey| ©Pearl, su maleta & Cia
Saint Victor Abbey| ©Pearl, su maleta & Cia

The Abbey of Saint Victor is one of the must-see destinations during your visit to Marseille, due to its great historical and cultural content. Moreover, if your stay is in February, you can be part of the traditional pilgrimage on the occasion of the day of the Virgin of Candelaria.

Pilgrimage

February 2 is a day dedicated to the Virgin of Candelaria. Therefore, if you are one of the faithful of the Black Madonna or simply want to be part of the local traditions, then you should join the annual pilgrimage.

You will walk with dozens of faithful through the streets of Marseille to the Abbey of St. Victor or you can go directly to the monastery. There, you will see the virgin in front of the crowd, dressed in a beautiful green dress, to be blessed by the archbishop, who also celebrates a mass.

St. Victor Abbey

If you wish to explore the Abbey of Saint Victor, you will have to purchase a ticket and, thus, visit the crypts (including the one that houses the Virgin of Candelaria), sarcophagi and chapels. In addition, you can access the cathedral and climb the tower, to contemplate the city, which during February offers an interesting snowy view.

  • Price: from 2€ per person.
  • Hours: every day from 9:00 to 19:00 hours.

4. Attend one of the annual Open 13 Provence tennis matches in Marseille

Palais des Sports| ©Frédéric BISSON
Palais des Sports| ©Frédéric BISSON

If you are a tennis enthusiast and plan to spend more than 4 days in Marseille during the month of February, then you have an appointment at the Open 13 Provence. This is a tournament held annually in the city, which brings together the best players of this sport.

This sporting event usually takes place in mid-February. For a whole week you can enjoy different matches in the arena of the Palais des Sports in Marseille. This is a modern multi-purpose stadium with a history dating back to 1988.

Tickets and the program of the week are available on the official website of the Open 13 Provence. You will just have to check all the information beforehand. In addition, if you attend during the qualifying period, you will be able to access for free.

  • Price: from 18€ (unnumbered) and 28€ (numbered).
  • Address: 81 Rue Raymond Teisseire, 13009 Marseille.

5. Celebrate the Japanese culture during your visit to Marseille at the Expo Japan

People at the expo japan| ©Saâd Zniber
People at the expo japan| ©Saâd Zniber

During 3 days in Marseille, the Expo Japan takes place every year. It is a meeting that takes place at the end of February, where you can celebrate Japanese culture in all its expressions.

Among the activities that you can enjoy during the Expo Japan, the following stand out:

  • Ichigo Scene: in this area you will witness some conferences given by gamers, mangakas and professional cosplayers. You will also see jpop music exhibitions and cosplay parades.
  • Sakura Scene: this is an open pavilion where you will have the opportunity to watch traditional performances (Japanese folklore), sing your favorite J-songs in the karaoke, play games, etc.
  • Sumiré Zone: destined for you to share with the authors of your favorite manga. You will be able to get autographs and take pictures with them.

In addition, if you are interested in martial arts, local clubs offer demonstrations of each of the disciplines. You can participate in a group practice and thus perform your first katas or martial arts moves.

Useful information

  • Address: the activity usually takes place at the Parc Chanot at 114 Rdpt du Prado, 13008 Marseille.
  • Price: from 8€ per person (tickets may vary according to your category (normal, genin, chûnin or jônin), so the price range is between 14€, 12€, 10€, and 8€, respectively.

6. Take advantage of the winter weather in February to visit the ski resorts of Provence from Marseille

Skiing in Provence| ©AD 04
Skiing in Provence| ©AD 04

If you are a winter sports enthusiast , then a day trip to Provence from Marseille in February will be a good alternative for you. There, you will find several ski resorts, usually frequented by tourists and locals.

You will be able to ice skate, ski, snowboard and enjoy beautiful natural and snowy scenery. Some of the resorts available are:

Ski resort d'Ancelle

This is a family ski resort with an extension of 30 kilometers, where you will find a total of 17 slopes. You can also sit on the terraces and enjoy the local food and drink while admiring the view.

  • Address: commune of Ancelle in the Provence Alpes Cote d'Azur (approximately 2 hours 14 minutes away from the center of Marseille).
  • Price: from 23€ per person.

Chabanon ski resort

At the Chabanon ski resort you will find about 35 slopes available for different activities. You will have the possibility to ski, slide downhill in snake gliss (sledge train) or yooner (a suspended seat on a ski). In addition, you will be able to do speed Riding (skiing with paragliding).

  • Address: French commune of Selonnet in the Provence Alpes Cote d'Azur (about 2 hours 30 minutes away from the center of Marseille).
  • Price: from 23€ per person.

Saint Jean Montclar ski resort

At the Saint-Jean Montclar ski resort you will have access to 32 slopes spread over 50 kilometers. You can go paragliding, ice skating, snowboarding, skiing and other variants of this sporting equipment.

  • Address: French commune of Montclar in the Provence Alpes Cote d'Azur (about 2 hours 16 minutes away from the center of Marseille).
  • Price: from 27€ per person.

7. Come to the Salon du Chocolat and enjoy this delicious product while learning about its history

Parc Chanot| ©cachecache
Parc Chanot| ©cachecache

During the second half of February, you have the option to attend the Salon du Chocolat. This is an annual event, originated in Paris, but nowadays celebrated in Marseille and other parts of the world.

You will learn about the cultivation of cocoa and how it is processed to meet the different needs of consumers. All this, through some conferences and live demonstrations.

Meanwhile, in the exhibition area set up in the Parc Chanot, which is where the event takes place, you will have the opportunity to taste endless presentations of chocolate. In addition, you will be able to witness a fashion show, where chocolate is the protagonist.

8. Enjoy the performances of the Toursky Theater in Marseille

Orchestra in the theater| ©Daniel MARTIN
Orchestra in the theater| ©Daniel MARTIN

Marseille is a city with an important cultural scene, which you can discover at the Toursky Theater. There, during the month of February you will find an extensive program, which incorporates theater, dance and musical performances.

Also, if you are lucky, you could enjoy some exhibitions of contemporary art, opera, flamenco, poetic circus, among others. Everything will depend on the schedule of activities scheduled for the second month of the year. Therefore, you must confirm the shows in advance on the theater's website.

  • Price: from 14€ per person (ticket prices may vary according to the show).
  • Address: 16 Prom. Léo Ferré, 13003 Marseille.

9. Tour Marseille aboard a tourist bus with free stops during the cold days

Marseille tourist bus| ©Mike Brocklebank
Marseille tourist bus| ©Mike Brocklebank

A good option to get to know the city is to take a tour aboard the Marseille tourist bus service. In this way, you will have a panoramic ride with the possibility of getting off and on freely at any of the 14 established stops.

Also, as you may know, the month of February coincides with the winter period in the city, so it will be more convenient to use the bus, in case of rain or snow. You can take the red or blue route of the Color Bus Marseille, which during this month of low season works from 10:00 am to 4:30 pm.

Book a ticket for the tourist bus of Marseille

10. Take a walk along the beaches of the Prado in Marseille and have fun flying a kite

Meadow beach| ©Ratozamanana Andriankoto
Meadow beach| ©Ratozamanana Andriankoto

Marseille in February is usually a rather cold place, but this is not an excuse for you to visit the Prado beaches during your stay. There, not only will you enjoy the beautiful natural scenery, but you will also be able to fly kites, as this is a very popular activity among the locals during this month.

To do this activity you will have to drive or take a bus along the Corniche road, while enjoying an amazing panoramic view of the Mediterranean coast. You will pass through the picturesque fishing village of Vallon des Auffes, which will surprise you with its stream, small boats and traditional food.

Finally, you will arrive at the Prado beaches, which stand out for their blue waters and white sand. You will find green areas, restaurants with seafood and some street stalls with traditional kites for sale.

You can walk, run, swim (if you don't mind the low sea temperature), lie on the sand and join the people flying kites. You will have an unforgettable day. Undoubtedly, a good plan if you have decided to visit Marseille with children.

The influx of tourists in Marseille in February

Marseille Cathedral| ©Chris Bancrof
Marseille Cathedral| ©Chris Bancrof

If you plan to travel to Marseille in February you should know that this is a month considered as a very low season in the city. Therefore, you will get fewer tourists in the streets, beaches, monuments and other attractions.

In addition, February is the season of low prices in terms of accommodation, airline transfers, car rental and entrance fees to sites of interest. In this sense, you could save up to 30% compared to the very high season (July and August).

Temperatures in Marseille in February

Coast of Marseille| ©Alexey Komarov
Coast of Marseille| ©Alexey Komarov

February in Marseille coincides with the winter season. Therefore, if you visit the city during this month, you will enjoy low temperatures with an average set between 7°C and 12°C. In fact, although daily measurements may vary by 1°C or 2°C, you will rarely see the thermometer read less than 7°C or exceed 10°C.

During the second month of the year the weather is quite cool in Marseille, the recorded rainy days range between 3 and 8, daylight hours increase to approximately 10. Meanwhile, the snow forecast is usually moderate.

All these weather conditions are quite mild, so they will not be an impediment for you to be part of the best tours of Marseille, either through a guided service or on your own.

What to pack to visit Marseille in February?

Luggage| ©tookapic
Luggage| ©tookapic

Like January, February is considered one of the coldest months of the year in Marseille. Therefore, if you plan to visit the city during this season, you should incorporate coats and some thermal garments in your suitcase.

Also, make a place in your suitcase for an umbrella, because you might encounter some unexpected precipitation. Also, pack sturdy socks and a pair of closed-toe shoes with good traction. This way, you will keep your feet warm, protected and avoid slipping when walking due to snow or moisture.