Pick up your hire car at Marseille airport and head for France's most multicultural city.
"We're a vibrant city and the finest example of multiculturalism you're ever likely to see. North Africa meets southern Europe in a rich melting pot of colours, flavours and smells."
What it lacks in terms of the chic, delicate beauty of its more celebrated neighbouring towns Marseille more than makes up for in edginess and authenticity. This is the real south of France.
It's a noisy hive of activity with the ever-bustling Vieux Port, Moroccan-style bazaars and busy back streets. But you can find tranquillity in the many beautiful museums and churches.
Marseille is very much a working city and life's a struggle for some, but it's also a happy go lucky kind of place and you'll find the locals chatty and friendly.
There is a Mediterranean climate with hot, dry summers and mild winters. Autumn sees the most rain, while spring and winter experience the occasional cold winds of the Mistral.
With such an abundance of freshly caught produce, the obvious choice is bouillabaisse - a saffron-based fish broth, followed by a variety of rock fish, served with croutons and fresh garlic.
One of the greatest footballers of all time, Zinedine Zidane hails from Marseille. His popularity was so great that fans even refused to blame him for the World Cup final France lost following his sending off.
Founded in 600 BC by the Greeks, Marseille is the oldest city in France.
"In Marseilles they make half the toilet soap we consume in America, but the Marseillaise only have a vague theoretical idea of its use, which they have obtained from books of travel" - author Mark Twain
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If you're left wondering about the model boats hanging in this impressive church, it's a throwback to the days fishermen used to have their vessels blessed here - which, at just under a mile from the old port, is a lot of carrying.
There's free parking on site.
This architectural masterpiece is almost as beautiful as the works on display inside. You will find collections by Perugino and Rubens as well as a display of local Provencal art.
You can park your hire car for free at Parking Chanterelle in Rue du Commandant Magnes.
Set in pleasant gardens with fountains and waterfalls, the Palais Longchamp is part of the same majestic construction as the Musee des Beaux Arts. Given it was originally built to disguise an unsightly water tower, it's fair to say they got a little carried away.
You can park for free at Parking Chanterelle in Rue du Commandant Magnes.
The ruins of this ancient Greek city and Roman port were discovered in 1967, when a construction company was preparing the site to build a huge shopping centre. Suffice it to say they relocated the shopping centre.
You can either park in Rue Henri Bar Busse or use the car park in the Centre Commercia Bourse. Both are free.
To the north of the Vieux Port, Le Panier is the oldest part of town and home to numerous great museums and a colourful North African district.
There is free street parking throughout the old town, but parking is still limited as the streets are narrow.
These spectacular fjords south of Marseille are a sight to behold. The turquoise sea set against the white limestone cliffs will have the camera working overtime.
It takes around half an hour to drive to Les Calanques. Take the A50 south from Marseille and park your car in Cassis. You can then walk or take a boat from here.
One visit to this stylish, attractive city and beautiful surrounding countryside will explain why famous resident painter Paul Cezanne spent most of his life trying to recreate its beauty on canvas.
Take the A7 north from Marseille and branch right onto the A51. It should take around 25 minutes to get there.
For some true seaside glamour, nowhere beats Saint-Tropez. The original location to show off your million dollar yacht and shop in boutique fashion stores in a picturesque setting.
It takes just under two hours to get to Saint-Tropez. Take the A7 north before heading east on the A8/E80.
Situated on the hills between the wine region of Provence and the overlooking Mount Ventoux, this picture postcard town will have you dreaming up a new life for yourself in France.
Head north on the A7, taking exit 22 to Vaison-la-Romaine. It should take around an hour and a half to get there.
" As Marseille is quite a big city, having a car is essential - especially if you are planning on leaving the main tourist areas and visiting the suburbs. Quartier du Panier, the oldest part of Marseille, is hard to drive around, being on a hill and also having narrow, crooked streets. It is better to park at the bottom of the hill and then walk up. "