Marseille Beaches, France

map of Marseille's Prado beach, france

A good map of Marseille’s Prado beach region. Note the unnamed river flowing out beside Plage de l’Huveaune having passed by the Hippodrome and whatever chemically-controlled paysage came before it.

Marseille Beaches Overview

These photos were shot  in July. Water quality control information was posted  with most beaches achieving a Good Quality standard while a handful got a lesser Moderate Quality grade.

There is an ‘Eaux de Mauvaise Qualité’ level in the ‘Surveillance Sanitaire des Baignades en Mer’ so ‘Moyenne’ is not so bad.

The Moderate water quality results came from (in order of poorness): Huveaune, Borely (near the horse race track), Catalans, Prado Sud and Anse des Sablettes (the only beach we didn’t photograph east of Marseilles’ port.

Huveaune, Borely and Prado Sud are clustered on either side of a small river that flows out into the sea after running beside the Borely horse race track so that’s an obvious source of bacteria/organisms and and consequently poor water quality results.

Facilities on all sizeable beaches were excellent, with lifeguards, first aid centres, fresh water showers, toilets and cafés.

Marseille beaches surfaces varied considerably, ranging from soft beige sand, to artificial gravel, to shingle and pebbles, but even the latter were mostly fine to walk on in bare feet.

Plage des Catalans

Plage des Catalans beach, marseille, france

Plage des Catalans, moderate water quality – presumably due to its proximity to the port – and soft sand.

Catalans is the nearest to the port of all Marseille beaches, easy walking distance from Parc du Pharo, Abbaye de St Victor and Fort St Nicolas. All the facilities are there including showers, changing rooms, lifeguard, café and plenty of shops nearby. Buses stop right beside the beach.

Le Bistrot Plage

Le Bistrot 'Plage', Marseille, France

Le Bistrot ‘Plage’.

There’s a gap of a couple of kilometres along Corniche President Kennedy, the coast road, before the next beach. Some ‘plages’ along this stretch of coast offer no sand but possibly access to the sea and plenty of loungers and eating/drinking facilities.

Plage du Prophet

Plage du Prophete, Marseille, France beaches.

Plage du Prophet, good quality water, fine sand, all facilities including lifeguard, showers, toilets and café, in spite of the diminutive size.

Bus routes 82 and 83 run along the Corniche from the port as far as Prado. Those wishing to continue east along the coast need to change to another bus.

Centre de Voile

Centre de Voile, the local sailing club, Marseilles, France

Centre de Voile, the local sailing club.

Apart from regular board sailing and dinghies, paddle boarding is currently popular and presumably for hire here along with windsurfers and dinghies, though the websites we visited to check were useless, so just show up and ask!
The beaches of Prado Nord are visible on the right.

Plage du Petits Rocas Blanc

Plage du Grand Roucas Blanc beach in the Parc Balneaire du Prado, Marseilles, France

Plage du Petits Rocas Blanc in Prado Nord, rinsed by good quality sea water but coated with rather coarse sand backed by a large expanse of gravel.

Petits Rocas Blanc gravel is just about walkable in bare feet on  sunny day but unattractive and it heats up more than the sand.

Plage de l’Huveaune

Plage de l'Huveaune, Marseilles, France

Plage de l’Huveaune, very fine sand but only moderate water quality, the most polluted water on this stretch of coast (though, TBH, not terrible). See the Prado beaches map at the top of the page.

L’Huveaune beach is covered with very good, soft, almost-white sand with all the usual facilities and bus stops close by, but is spoilt by the river outflow – behind that row of large rocks in the photo – that is pretty clearly the cause of water pollution.