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France’s fifth-busiest airport lies around 17 miles northwest of Marseille and the same distance southwest of Aix-en-Provence. It offers easy access to these cities as well as attractions in the Bouches-du-Rhône region. Shuttle buses operate between the airport and both cities, as do faster trains. Still, the swiftest way to arrive in Marseille and other cities in the region is with car hire in Marseille Airport, with Marseille being a 25-minute drive southeast along the coast.
Who to Book With
Hertz, Avis, Budget and Sixt all have presence at the airport, as well as a few other top agents. All car rental agents have counters in the car park, which is where vehicles are picked up. The car park is easily accessible from the terminal on foot.
Need to Know Essentials
Upon vehicle collection, the following documents are needed:
- Your driver’s licence (both parts for UK nationals)
- The credit card used to make the reservation
- Confirmation of ID via passport or a recent utility bill
- Proof of booking
In France, the authorities thoroughly enforce parking restrictions, which means that drivers can expect a hefty fine or even towing if they park in a prohibited area. Parking in a blue zone requires the driver to purchase a blue disc from a tourist office, police station or shop and to put it in eye’s view within the vehicle. Petrol pumps can be serviced or automatic and accept both credit and debit cards, but UK-issued cards are not always received so UK drivers should also carry cash. A warning triangle and a reflective jacket must be carried in all vehicles. Many motorways are toll roads and automatic tag lanes can be used by purchasing a telepeage tag.
For quick access, arriving passengers can self-drive to Marseille or Aix-en-Provence. Trains reach Marseille almost as quickly though there is no direct train access to Aix-en-Provence. Shuttle buses take around 25 minutes but stop running at midnight, leaving costly taxis as the only other option for late arrivals.
The Vitrolles Aéroport mp train station is a five-minute free shuttle bus ride from the passenger terminal. From here, SNCF trains run to Gare de Marseille Saint-Charles station in Marseille as well as other destinations, including Arles and Montpellier. Tickets can be purchased at the ticket desk or from ticketing machines.
Designated airport taxis are provided at the airport. They depart from just outside Hall 1. Between 19:00 and 07:00, taxi fares increase.
Marseille Airport to Marseille city centre is around £40
A bus ticket desk is located in the terminal. It sells tickets for Marseille Airport Shuttle buses to Marseille. Tickets can also be purchased online with a credit card. The bus to Marseille departs every 15 minutes between 05:10 and 00:10, and terminates at Saint Charles Station. A round-trip ticket costs around £10. There are also shuttle buses to a number of other destinations, including Aix-en-Provence, Salon-de-Provence and Saint Tropez. All shuttle buses leave from Platform 3, between halls 3 and 4.
There are two terminals at Marseille Airport that are connected by a complementary shuttle bus. Terminal 1 is the larger and main terminal and consists of three halls, while Terminal 2 handles low-cost carriers. Together they have an annual passenger throughput of over 7.5 million. Terminal 1 operates flights to European, North American, Middle Eastern and Northern African destinations, while Terminal 2 handles flights within Europe and Northern Africa.
There are nine car parks at the airport, with five dedicated to Terminal 1, one dedicated to Terminal 2 and one budget car park that is accessible by shuttle bus. Fares are cheapest in the Chéque Parking car park and most expensive in P1 and P6, which are the closest lots to the terminals. Prices range from around £2.50 to £5 per hour, while from two to 16 days in the Chéque Parking car park runs from around £15 to £25.
Wireless internet access is available in the boarding lounge of all halls and is provided by Orange. There are also computers with internet access in Hall 1, Hall 4 and Terminal 2 that accept credit card payment, with one hour costing about £3.50.
There are information desks at Domestic Arrivals Hall 4 and International Arrivals Hall 1.
Information Desk: +33 44 214 1414
Automated Information: +33 44 214 2020
Passengers with reduced mobility can avail of assistance by making a call to specialised personnel from one of the designated call boxes located outside of each terminal. All car parks have spaces reserved for passengers with reduced mobility, while shuttle buses between the terminals and to the cities are wheelchair-friendly.
Restaurants and Bars
Terminal 1 has two restaurants, with both Class’croute (Terminal 1, Hall 4) and Restaurant Bleu Olive (Terminal 1, Hall 4) serving regional French cuisine. Terminal 1 has four cafés, while Terminal 2 has three cafés and one Italian fast-food counter.
VIP Lounge Cézanne (Hall 1)
Lounge Van Gogh (Hall 1)
VIP Lounge Luberon (Hall 3)
Marseille-Provence's Business Centre (Hall 4)
Money and ATMs
ATMs are available in Hall 1 International Arrivals, Hall 3 Domestic Arrivals, Hall 4 Domestic Departures and Terminal 2. There is a bank branch in Hall 4 Arrivals that offers currency exchange services, while a currency exchange kiosk can be found in Hall 1.
Both terminals have shopping, with items available ranging from jewellery to regional food. Duty-free spirits, wine, tobacco, perfume and cosmetics are available in Hall 1 and Terminal 2 at Duty Free Provence, while perfume is also available at Marionnaud Parfumerie (Terminal 1, Hall 4). Food lovers can purchase products from the region at Découvrir La Provence (Terminal 1, Hall 1) and Provence (Terminal 2). There are also bookstores present in both terminals.