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Staying in Les Goudes – Your Guide

September 6, 2022
Photo of Les Goudes, Marseile with view of harbor flanked by pink flowers and mountains in the background

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.

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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!

Photo of an almost empty street in the village of Les Goudes

Staying in Les Goudes: Getting There

By Plane

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.

By 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!

By Train/Bus

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).

By Boat

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!

View of Airbnb terrace in the village of Les Goudes, Marseille France
Our AirBnB terrace with mountain views.

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.

Casual Dining/Groceries

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.

20,000 Lieues
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.

Signoret Eric
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.

Upscale Dining

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

Beach

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.

Map of Les Goudes, Marseille, France

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.

Woman and child on the beach at the Cap Croisette, Les Goudes, Marseille France
View of the beach at the Cap Croisette, Les Goudes, Marseille, France

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!

Hike

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.

View of a street in Les Goudes, Marseille during golden hour.

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.

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Travel USA West Virginia

A Road Trip to Harpers Ferry, West Virginia

May 21, 2020

If you are looking for a fun, beautiful, and historical trip to take this summer, a road trip to Harpers Ferry, West Virginia may be in the cards! Harper’s Ferry is situated right on the border where Maryland, West Virginia, and Virginia meet. This makes it a convenient spot for a day trip or overnight from the Baltimore/DC area.

What you’ll find are gorgeous views, a quaint and historic town, beautiful nature, and the gateway to the Loudoun County wine region. My husband Mike and I took our road trip to Harper’s Ferry last September to celebrate our wedding anniversary, and had a wonderful time! It was so nice to drive less than 2 hours from Baltimore and find ourselves in a completely different setting.

**Please visit HERE for most recent updates involving West Virginia health and safety updates and regulations including
openings and closures.
Make sure to check individual business websites for the latest information and availability of service. **

Getting to Harpers Ferry

Taking a road trip to Harpers Ferry is very easy if you live in the Baltimore or Washington DC area! The driving distance is an hour and fifteen minutes from each place, making the perfect destination for a day trip or quick weekend getaway.

It is also easily accessible from other Mid-Atlantic Destinations:

  • Harrisburg, PA: 1hr, 30 min
  • Richmond, VA: 2hrs, 30 min
  • Philadelphia: 2hrs, 40min
  • Pittsburgh, PA: 3hrs, 30 min
  • New York City Area: 4 hrs

Note that there is limited parking in the town itself, with street parking only. You can try your luck with street parking, but you will find it extremely difficult, especially during busy times. The best bet is to drive to the National Park Service lot (171 Shoreline Drive) where there is ample parking. There’s a visitor’s center as well as a free shuttle bus that will take you to the little downtown area.

If you live in DC and don’t have a car/want to relax on your trip without getting behind the wheel, both the MARC Train and Amtrak have service from Washington DC.

What to Do in Harpers Ferry

The tiny town of Harpers Ferry is absolutely adorable – you’ll feel like you’ve stepped back in time! If you enjoy history, particularly early US History and Civil War history, you’ll definitely be in your element.

Walking through the town you will get a bit of a workout, as it’s perched on a hill (hence the amazing views of the surrounding landscape!) The town itself is very small with one main thoroughfare (High Street) filled with shops, restaurants, and historic sights. For a great spot to enjoy delicious food & drinks AND enjoy an amazing view of the valley and river, get a table on the deck of The Rabbit Hole (186 High St).

I would advise having lunch in the village versus dinner, as most restaurants close early. If you’re staying overnight in the area, there are a few neighboring towns that I recommend below.

After lunch, if you’re craving something sweet, head to True Treats Historic Candy Shop (144 High Street)! Even if you’re not a candy fiend, this shop is pretty much a museum, with typical candies dating back to biblical times, through the mid-1900s. There are also several other shops to browse along High Street selling locally made artisan items, historic knick-knacks, art, and other gifts.

If you continue down High Street you will approach the walk up to St. Peter’s Catholic Church, built pre-civil war, which has an amazing view over the entire valley. This church is also where the Ghost Tour meets if you’re interested in the spooky history of Harper’s Ferry!

You can continue walking up to Jefferson’s Rock, the lookout point where US President Thomas Jefferson once declared that the scene was “worth a voyage across the Atlantic.”

Harpers Ferry National Park

The town of Harpers Ferry is actually part of the Harpers Ferry Historical National Park! The whole park encompasses 4,000 acres and includes parts of West Virginia, Maryland, and Virginia.

In addition to the historic village, church, Jefferson’s Rock, and historic demonstrations & museums, the park also offers guided tours and several hiking trails.

Make sure to check with the National Park Service before planning your trip to get up to date information on access to the park and health and safety regulations.

Where to Stay

Harper’s Ferry has a number of quaint and affordable Bed and Breakfasts within the village itself. The Cantula Inn comes highly rated by guests and offers modern comfort in a historic setting. The Lily Garden Bed & Breakfast is another great option, with 2 adorable suites situated in an old carriage house. The Light Horse Inn is also a great choice, offering modern amenities with historic charm (no children).

If you wanted to venture out of the village itself, there are lots of options in the surrounding area. Nearby Charles Town has more of the run of the mill chain hotels and will put you closer to late-night dining options and the Casino and Inn at Charles Town Races.

If you want a completely unique and wonderful Airbnb experience, I would definitely recommend the Historic Maison du Soleil Retreat, where we stayed during our visit (see photos below). We stayed in a private room within the hosts’ house and felt complete privacy and freedom throughout our visit.

The outdoor barn area they have set up is a dream – so tranquil and beautiful, it was hard to leave it to go and sightsee. The hot tub was especially nice to relax in. It’s close to the attractions at Harpers Ferry, as well as quaint Shepherdstown and plenty of wineries and hiking. Your stay also includes a wonderful breakfast cooked by the host, Henk.

Surrounding Activities in Harpers Ferry

Charles Town

Charles Town is another historic town less than a 15-minute drive from Harpers Ferry. While the town is more commercialized and not quite as quaint, you will find more here in terms of larger hotels, food options, grocery stores, the casino, etc. We mainly spent time here because of our Airbnb location, but we found the downtown quite charming as well in its own way.

A few highlights of Charles Town included dinner and live music on the patio at Abolitionist Ale Works, and the beautiful mural by Philadelphia artist Isaiah Zager (below).

Shepherdstown

I LOVED Shepherdstown and would definitely recommend checking it out! Another unbelievably quaint town, located 20 minutes from either Harpers Ferry or Charleston. Definitely worth spending a few hours walking the main street and all the local shops. There are also lots of yummy and unique dining options should you choose to stay here.

For Civil War Buffs and history enthusiasts, Shepherdstown is also close to the Antietam National Battlefield (Sharpsburg, MD), the sight of the bloodiest day in US History during the Battle of Antietam in 1862.

Loudoun County Wineries

Just south of the Harpers Ferry area, Loudoun County, Virginia is a beautiful, sprawling, hill covered destination with 40 wineries! You could really spend your whole weekend just touring vineyards and tasting rooms, but it’s also fun to pop down here and have a relaxing afternoon at one or two of them.

Hillsborough Winery, Brewery & Vineyard is a great option if you are coming from Harpers Ferry or Charlestown, only around 20 minutes away from either place. The views were absolutely gorgeous and you can enjoy their wine and/or beer along with food selections they offer on-site if you sit on the patio or in the tasting room. If you choose to bring your own food, there is a picnic area where you can sit.

As you can see, this area area has a TON to offer, making a road trip to Harpers Ferry a great idea for this summer or fall! I hope you enjoy the local charm, history, eats and shopping of this beautiful place.

Looking for more local travel ideas on the US East Coast? Check out my Guide to Camping with Wild Horses on Assateague Island and my guide to Charming Photo Spots in Baltimore!

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