Want to have a unique and charming home base for exploring Marseille? If so, staying in Les Goudes is a great choice! It’s a way to be close to the action while getting to experience an authentic fisherman’s village. Picture a small peninsula jutting into the bright blue Mediterranean waters, a few winding streets lined with small fisherman’s cabins. Seafood restaurants, playing children, and the occasional friendly feline line the way. A little slice of heaven just minutes from Marseille’s bustling city center, you can view the mountains and the sea and enjoy some R&R.
Table of Contents
Don’t have time to read now? PIN this post for later when you’re planning your trip:
About Les Goudes
Once upon a time, Les Goudes was a sparsely populated industrial port that was built in the early nineteenth century. As time went on the village expanded, making it closer to the city and a desirable place for boaters and fishermen to build their little “cabanon“. Today Les Goudes has the privilege of being located at the edge of the Calanques National Park, providing it protection from overdevelopment. It is, however, becoming more touristy and can become quite crowded in the summer months. By staying in Les Goudes however, you can make sure to be the first one at the beach in the morning as you won’t have to search for parking!
Staying in Les Goudes: Getting There
Since staying in Les Goudes means you will be staying on the outskirts of Marseille, the best airport to fly to is the Marseille Provence Airport (code: MRS). If you’re traveling from the United States, you will be pressed to find a direct flight, however, you can usually find a good flight that routes through a major hub such as Lisbon (TAP Portugal), Paris (Air France), London (British Airways), or Frankfurt (United/Lufthansa).
If you are traveling from within Europe, the airport is also serviced by several European budget airlines such as RyanAir, Vueling, and EasyJet. As I mention below, the easiest way to get from the airport to Les Goudes is by renting a car.
When exploring the small villages in the South of France, my recommendation is always to rent a car. It is usually fairly inexpensive and an easy experience at this small airport. I recommend renting the car online before you travel to France, as we’ve found prices to be cheaper when renting from a US IP address. Once you pick up your car, you can simply type “Les Goudes” into your GPS, and you should arrive in Les Goudes within an hour!
Marseille has a large train station in the city center that is serviced by routes from Aix en Provence, Avignon, Brussels, Geneva, Lille, Lyon, Nice, Toulon, Arles, Barcelona, Dijon, Frankfurt, Hyères, Madrid, Montpellier, Nantes and Strasbourg.
Once you arrive at Marseille St. Charles station, you can take the Metro Red Line towards Ste. Marguerite Dromel and get off at Castellane, where you can hop on the #19 bus and ride it all the way to Madrague De Montredon (the last stop). There you can switch to the #20 bus to Callelongue and get off at Les Goudes stop.
Obviously, this is way more time-consuming and cumbersome but I completely understand the hesitation to drive in a strange city. One plus of getting here by public transport is that you will not need to worry about parking!
Your metro ticket will cost you 1.70 Euros and includes your bus transfer (you just have to switch within an hour).
Another public transport option that is more scenic (and in my opinion, more fun), is the water taxi! For this, you would take the Blue Line metro from the train station, towards La Fourragere. Get off at the Vieux Port, where you can find the water taxi right at the top of the port (adjacent to a huge pavilion with a mirrored ceiling).
Make sure you see the words “Pointe Rouge” on the sign, as this is where the first boat will go and then you will switch there for the boat that takes you to Les Goudes. You can get in line here and pay for your ticket on the boat, seats are first come, first serve. The price for the ticket is 8 Euros one way and you can find the schedules and updated pricing here.
When to Go
If you’re planning on staying in Les Goudes, when is the best time to go? I say this ad nauseam, but in my opinion, the absolute best time to visit the South of France is early Fall (September through early October). The weather is beautiful but not too hot, the prices are lower and the summer crowds have dispersed. Ah, and, maybe most importantly, parking will be much less of a headache! We stayed here in August and while it was nice, it was very hot and parking was quite tough. If you need more assurances that Autumn in Provence is the best time, see my post on Visting Provence in Autumn.
Where to Sleep While Staying in Les Goudes
Because Les Goudes has been saved from overdevelopment, you will not find five-star resorts or chain hotels here. The best place to stay in Les Goudes for an authentic experience is in one of the fishermen’s cabanon for rent via AirBnB or VRBO. If you want to get a great choice of accommodation, I would suggest reserving early, especially if you plan to visit during the popular summer months. We were able to find our place pretty last minute but there weren’t very many options left (luckily we loved our place!)
Also keep in mind that as traditional fishermen’s cabins, a lot of these places are small and cozy. I have however included a few larger ones.
I’ve already found the best listings for you for your trip below! (Including the one we stayed at for our week in Les Goudes):
Love the terrace at this cosy cabin, and the price can’t be beat!
I walked by this cute blue house every day – the charming roofdeck and great location, makes it a no brainer.
I love that this one has a jacuzzi on the terrace! Would be so nice especially once temps cool off a bit.
This listing boasts a beautiful terrace with a view of the sea. Can’t you just imagine enjoying sunset here?
Another great listing for a larger group!
Last but not least, the above listing is where we stayed this summer. While it doesn’t have a sea view, the mountain view in the evening was beautiful. The inside was clean, spacious and well equipped but I would recommend it for the terrace alone!
What to Eat
I think the obvious choice of what to eat when staying in Les Goudes is clear: seafood! The village boasts a small but excellent restaurant selection as well as a few casual spots and a “superette” which has convenience items, limited groceries, and fresh bread daily. As you will see during your stay, Les Goudes is TINY, so everything is close together and within walking distance.
Feel Goudes Sandwich Shop
16 Rue Désiré Pelaprat, 13008 Marseille, France
Casual Spot at the top of the village offers fresh juices, croissants, sandwiches & traditional foods from the Reunion Islands.
12 Bd Alexandre Delabre, 13008 Marseille, France
Amazing spot to grab a drink and watch the sunset. There is a full bar and a huge terrace with a festive vibe as well as pizzas, ice cream, and some small plates.
123 Bd Alexandre Delabre, 13008 Marseille, France
A general store that is also a “depot de pain”, meaning the owner fetches fresh bread from the city and brings it every morning for purchase.
Grand Bar des Goudes
29 avenue Desire Pellaprat les Goudes, 13008 Marseille France
This restaurant is a great choice for a nice meal out while staying in Les Goudes, as it is rated in the top 20 restaurants in all of Marseille on TripAdvisor! Review highlights mention the bouillabaisse (a MUST try in Marseille), friendly service, and amazing views of the harbor.
Auberge du Corsaire – Chez Paul
35 rue Desire Pellaprat, 13008 Marseille France
Another excellent choice on the main street of the village, fresh seafood and the view are also the stars here. They also serve pizza and have a lovely terrace.
La Marine des Goudes
16 rue Desire Pellaprat, 13008 Marseille France
As you might be sensing a trend here, amazing seafood is what this place is known for. Make sure to order 48 hours in advance if you are interested in trying the bouillabaisse.
What to Do
Cap Croisette/Baie de Singes
This is my favorite beach in Les Goudes because of its views and seclusion, however, it is the most “difficult” to reach. I put difficult in quotes because as far as Calanque hikes go in Marseille, this one is fairly easy.
Depending on how you arrive or where you park, you can take the road from the village that leads to the hiking path over the rocky hill to the cove or take the smaller path from the neighborhood street. The map below shows the village in relation to the beach as well as the main path and walking paths.
This beach is very calm because it is enclosed by rocks and because of that is super family friendly! There is also a restaurant there called La Baie de Singes, which has mixed reviews but does offer private beach chairs for the day. For what it’s worth, we just brought our snacks and towels for the sand.
Plage de la Maronaise
This beach is easier to get to from the village but (in my opinion), not as nice. It can get very crowded and can accumulate trash during the day due to its easy accessibility. It’s not a bad option though if you don’t feel like making the hike to the Cap Croisette. Fun fact: there actually used to be a nightclub at this location but it was demolished twelve years ago!
In addition to the small hike to the Cap Croisette (above), you can also embark on the Calanque de Marseilleveyre Loop from Les Goudes, starting with a walk along the road to the nearby port of Callelongue and over the rocky plataues. You will arrive at a small rocky calanque beach where you can swim and/or have a drink at the small bar.
This hike is between 2-3 hours total and is considered easy to moderate.
If you do have access to a car (or want to utilize the buses), you also aren’t very far from the Calanque de Sormiou (where you can park and hike to the beach) and Luminy the starting point for the hike to Sugiton (a much longer and more challenging hike).
Check out my other Marseille posts for more information on Les Calanques.
As you can see, staying in Les Goudes is a great option for your trip to Marseille. Whether you’re hiking, relaxing at the beach, or enjoying a wonderful seafood meal with views of the harbor, your experience will be a unique and authentic one.