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DIY Marseille to Aix - do I have enough time?


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Hi all.  Our cruise will be arriving in Marseille on May 28th, 2020 and we are scheduled to dock at 07:00.  I wanted to go to Aix on a DIY as we are doing tours at almost every other port, but I am seriously worried about time as we aren't in port very long.  I was able to find a picture of the free shuttle schedule (it doesn't even show that the shuttles are running on Thursdays in May) but if they are, they won't leave the port until almost 09:00.  I could always try to find a taxi at the cruise port to take us to the train station earlier, but I've heard they are hit or miss.  After that I'd have to get to the train station and take the train to Aix.  We would need to be back in Marseille no later than 14:30 to catch the shuttle back to the port as our boat leaves at 16:00 and my DH tends to stress about not getting back on time.  I'd love some opinion/suggestions from those who have done this so that I'd have an idea of just how much time we'd actually have to walk around Aix without feeling stressed at having to get back.   My only other tour option for this port would be to get transportation to the Old Port and catch a tour boat for the Calanques as I know that would be manageable in the amount of time we have.   Suggestions?

Edited by pjfnme
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We did this trip by free shuttle from port, walking from shuttle terminus to the train station, and taking the bus from adjacent to train station, but our port day was longer.

 

I think you have plenty of time, but how much money do you want to spend?  If budget is not a limiting factor, then you could either (1) go all the way from Marseille port to Aix-en-Provence via Uber, with fare estimate of 41-54 euro, or (2) take Uber to the train station, and then take train the rest of the way, with Uber fare estimate of 15-19 euro to train station.

 

I don't think you have sufficient time to wait for the free shuttle.  Try to get off the ship as close to 0700 as possible.  If you see a taxi, then take it to the train station. Otherwise, consider an Uber either to the train station or all the way to Aix-en-Provence.

 

If budget is  a limiting factor, then wait for the free shuttle, and stay in Marseille.

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You could also consider taking a taxi from the cruise terminal to the airport which is only 20 or 30 mins max  depending on traffic. You could try to find an estimated cost ahead of time.

 

There are buses which run every 30 minutes from the airport to Aix, calling at both the  train and bus stations. Seven days a week, from early to late.  Info on the airport website.

Edited by edinburgher
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On 7/7/2019 at 7:57 PM, epixx said:

We did this trip by free shuttle from port, walking from shuttle terminus to the train station, and taking the bus from adjacent to train station, but our port day was longer.

 

I think you have plenty of time, but how much money do you want to spend?  If budget is not a limiting factor, then you could either (1) go all the way from Marseille port to Aix-en-Provence via Uber, with fare estimate of 41-54 euro, or (2) take Uber to the train station, and then take train the rest of the way, with Uber fare estimate of 15-19 euro to train station.

 

I don't think you have sufficient time to wait for the free shuttle.  Try to get off the ship as close to 0700 as possible.  If you see a taxi, then take it to the train station. Otherwise, consider an Uber either to the train station or all the way to Aix-en-Provence.

 

If budget is  a limiting factor, then wait for the free shuttle, and stay in Marseille.

Thanks so much for this information!  I use them all of the time here in the states but for some reason I never even considered using Uber for transportation there.  I think our best option is to take an Uber directly from the cruise port to Aix and back.  Do you know if we can expect an Uber to be readily available for transportation back to Marseille from Aix?  I can convince my DH to do this as long as I can reassure him that we won't have any trouble getting back to the port in time. 

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Important - The Aix train station is closed for the summer (2019) due to construction:

https://www.gares-sncf.com/fr/gare/frqxb/aix-provence

 

To get from Marseille to Aix, by public transit, you have to take a 30 minute bus ride:

 

  1. Bus from Gare St. Charles to Aix, fare 6 €

    1. Bus 50 leaves every 10 minutes from Gare St Charles MARSEILLE to Gare Routiere Quai 01 AIX-EN-PROVENCE See http://www.rtm.fr or https://www.lepilote.com

  2. Bus from Aix to Gare St. Charles

    1. Bus 50 leaves every 10 minutes from 14:30 onwards, duration 31 min

Edited by Mercruiser
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  • 2 weeks later...

I rode Uber today from Marseille St Charles to Aix. The cost was €50. The trip took about 30 minutes on a freeway. It was very easy.

 

At the end of our excursion, we took bus 50 from Aix to St Charles station. It also took 30 minutes and cost €6 per person.

 

I checked the Uber app for you while in Aix and it showed that an Uber driver was available in 4 minutes. You can do this yourself in the Uber app by manually setting your pickup point to Aix.

 

In summary, both Uber and Bus 50 are excellent options for travel between Marseille and Aix.

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  • 2 months later...
On 7/5/2019 at 12:36 PM, pjfnme said:

Hi all.  Our cruise will be arriving in Marseille on May 28th, 2020 and we are scheduled to dock at 07:00.  I wanted to go to Aix on a DIY as we are doing tours at almost every other port, but I am seriously worried about time as we aren't in port very long.  I was able to find a picture of the free shuttle schedule (it doesn't even show that the shuttles are running on Thursdays in May) but if they are, they won't leave the port until almost 09:00.  I could always try to find a taxi at the cruise port to take us to the train station earlier, but I've heard they are hit or miss.  After that I'd have to get to the train station and take the train to Aix.  We would need to be back in Marseille no later than 14:30 to catch the shuttle back to the port as our boat leaves at 16:00 and my DH tends to stress about not getting back on time.  I'd love some opinion/suggestions from those who have done this so that I'd have an idea of just how much time we'd actually have to walk around Aix without feeling stressed at having to get back.   My only other tour option for this port would be to get transportation to the Old Port and catch a tour boat for the Calanques as I know that would be manageable in the amount of time we have.   Suggestions?

 

We'll be there two days before you.  This is my last port where I'm trying to come up with what we want to do, as I know nothing about that part of France.  Day 1 of Marseille research has begun...LOL 

Edited by CruisinCons
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  • 1 month later...
  • 2 weeks later...
On 11/12/2019 at 8:16 AM, Markanddonna said:

I'll be going before you but decided to take the ship's "Aix de Provence do it yourself tour."  We rarely do ship tours, but decided with the time limitations and such that we would give this option a try.

 

We did this and while it may have been a few bucks extra it was simple and easy.  It was actually less than the Uber fare quoted above). We had a great day in Aix.

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  • 3 weeks later...

We plan to visit  Marseille on board of Crown Princess in the middle of April. For this port we consider only DIY tours as  we plan guided tours for all the other ports. For both of us it will be the first time in Marseille. The ship will dock from 8 am till 5 pm. Not too much time.... Any suggestions? What will be more interesting for us: to stay in Marseille for the entire day  or go to  Aix? Thank you!

Jess

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  • 1 month later...

The walk to the free shuttle was longer than we expected.  It was at least 1km, maybe a little further.  Not a problem if you're ready for it.  But when you get to the shuttle, you may wait another half hour until they fill it up, as they don't leave until full.  We were headed into central Marseilles to rent a car and drive to Cassis, but you could just as easily jump on a train at the central station to go to Aix or wherever.  After returning our car later in the day, we took an Uber back to port.  It was definitely faster than the walking and free shuttle, and we were starting to cut it close on time.

 

We will be back in Marseille port this June.  If we don't do an excursion, we'll likely just get an Uber both out and back to port.  If I recall, plenty of taxis were queued up when the ship docked.  The port is just too far from city center to make this any easier, and our ship was parked at the far end of the port.  It would be nice if they had a train station at the port.

Edited by twruger
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Save precious port time and take an Uber or taxi, or even a private excursion.

 

I am amazed at how much port time cruisers waste in Marseille trying to take the "free" shuttle. (I'm thinking of the very long thread on this topic). Your cruise vacation is probably costing you at least $50 per waking hour. Wasting 60 minutes on the "free" shuttle isn't really free.

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  • 2 weeks later...
On 7/30/2019 at 2:55 PM, Mercruiser said:

I rode Uber today from Marseille St Charles to Aix. The cost was €50. The trip took about 30 minutes on a freeway. It was very easy.

 

At the end of our excursion, we took bus 50 from Aix to St Charles station. It also took 30 minutes and cost €6 per person.

 

I checked the Uber app for you while in Aix and it showed that an Uber driver was available in 4 minutes. You can do this yourself in the Uber app by manually setting your pickup point to Aix.

 

In summary, both Uber and Bus 50 are excellent options for travel between Marseille and Aix.

How convenient are the bus 50 drop off points to the ship and Aix town center?

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What do you think about trains from Marseille to Aix? It’s only 12-15 min. 12,8 euro. Of course you still need to get from the port to the train station …. I’ve never been to Marseille. I'm just doing research on the internet

 

 

https://travel.b-europe.com/onlytrain/travel/booking?autoactivatestep2=true&origin=FRMSC&dest=FRAIE&traveltype=OneWay&outbound=01%2F02%2F2020&outboundt=9&comfortclass=2&nrofadults=2&nrofyoungsters18=0&nrofyoungsters12=0&nrofseniors=0&nrofkids0=0&nrofkids4=0&nrofkids6=0&maxnroftransfers=&greenpoints=&tcp=&ecp=&icp=&fcp=&usediscount=false&useftpcards=false?utm_source=Onlytrain&utm_medium=Affiliate&utm_content=&utm_campaign=WhiteLabelsales#Outbound

 

 

Thanks! Jess

Edited by CrazyJess
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On 1/24/2020 at 11:00 AM, feenix said:

How convenient are the bus 50 drop off points to the ship and Aix town center?

 

At the port, the bus stops that I see are about twice the distance from the ship than the free cruise shuttle, at least 2-2.5km.  I don't see confirmation that Bus 50 stops there though.

 

Edited by twruger
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1 hour ago, CrazyJess said:

What do you think about trains from Marseille to Aix? It’s only 12-15 min. 12,8 euro. Of course you still need to get from the port to the train station …. I’ve never been to Marseille. I'm just doing research on the internet

 

Thanks! Jess

 

If I was going to Aix, I would take the train.  You have these options to get to the train station...

 

1)  Uber (probably ~20-25 Euro)

2)  Taxi (seems there were 15 or so waiting when ship docked)

3)  Cruise-based shuttle - probably 15 Euro or so, picks up right at the ship

4)  Free shuttle - 1km walk to get there

 

We have an upcoming port stop in Marseille in July, and this time we opted for a ship excursion (MSC) to the lavender fields in Valensole. 🌼 😎

 

Edited by twruger
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2 hours ago, twruger said:

 

If I was going to Aix, I would take the train.  You have these options to get to the train station...

 

1)  Uber (probably ~20-25 Euro)

2)  Taxi (seems there were 15 or so waiting when ship docked)

3)  Cruise-based shuttle - probably 15 Euro or so, picks up right at the ship

4)  Free shuttle - 1km walk to get there

 

We have an upcoming port stop in Marseille in July, and this time we opted for a ship excursion (MSC) to the lavender fields in Valensole. 🌼 😎

 

If we have 4 people, it seems cheaper to just take the uber all the way to aix than take it to the train station, right?  Supposed to be about 50 euros to aix.

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1 minute ago, feenix said:

If we have 4 people, it seems cheaper to just take the uber all the way to aix than take it to the train station, right?  Supposed to be about 50 euros to aix.

 

You can set a pickup/dropoff location in the Uber app at any time to get an approximation of the rate, just DON'T actually click to reserve the car.  May want to do that around the proper time of day to match the time of day when you would be in port, since Uber likes to jack up the price anytime more than 1 person wants a car.  😠  It's all a balance of cost, flexibility, reliability, and risk!  But it sounds like an Uber for 4 might be pretty close to breaking even with the train option.

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Thank you Twruger for the info! Very useful. Do you have an idea how much time will we need in Aix? We will have 9 hour in the port of Marseille and plan to go to Aix. The question is – will we have enough time to visit one more town - Avignon or Cassis? Or may be Saint-Remy…. I hate to be in a rush but from another side it’s my only chance to see this region.

Thank you! Jess

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1 hour ago, CrazyJess said:

Thank you Twruger for the info! Very useful. Do you have an idea how much time will we need in Aix? We will have 9 hour in the port of Marseille and plan to go to Aix. The question is – will we have enough time to visit one more town - Avignon or Cassis? Or may be Saint-Remy…. I hate to be in a rush but from another side it’s my only chance to see this region.

 

Thank you! Jess

 

 

No, sorry, haven't been to Aix myself... yet.  Just the Marseille port.  But I'm sure you have time to do more.  There are tours that hit Aix and Avignon in one day.

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10 hours ago, CrazyJess said:

Thank you Twruger for the info! Very useful. Do you have an idea how much time will we need in Aix? We will have 9 hour in the port of Marseille and plan to go to Aix. The question is – will we have enough time to visit one more town - Avignon or Cassis? Or may be Saint-Remy…. I hate to be in a rush but from another side it’s my only chance to see this region.

 

Thank you! Jess

 

Yes, you do have enough time. You have time for Avignon and Aix. Those are the major sites from the ones you mentioned. Cassis is very pleasant, but not in the same league. St. Remy is very interesting, but it is a secondary site. If you have a private tour to Avignon and Aix, you can include a short visit to St. Remy if there is enough time but it should not be a priority. 

 

Instead you could visit Avignon, St Remy and Les Baux easily in the time you have.  Plot all those places in Google maps.  Tour companies regularly do any of those combinations. 

 

Avignon needs 2-3 hours so you have time to tour the Palace.  Aix needs 2 hours to enjoy it.  Les Baux can take 1.5 hours.  St Remy could be 1 hour unless you are interested in the Van Gogh asylum tour.  St Remy is a good stop for lunch and a short walk in between driving to the other places.   All can take a lot more, but that is what you can fit in in the time you have. 

Edited by marazul
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  • 6 months later...
On 11/20/2019 at 11:21 AM, mskaufman said:

 

We did this and while it may have been a few bucks extra it was simple and easy.  It was actually less than the Uber fare quoted above). We had a great day in Aix.

Where was the ships bus drop off in Aix en Provence? How much time did you have once there?  I am thinking of doing a DIY walking tour and need a starting point.

Thanks

 

Edited by SAS21
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