Project Description

Moving to Marseille: A 10 Step Guide

Marseille is located in the South of France by the Mediterranean Sea, the city is now a meeting place for civilizations. The melting pot city offers all the advantages for someone who wants to live and work there: sea, sun, weather, big companies, airport, long railroad… Marseille is a “cool” city!


Step 1: Visa & Legal Information

Before moving to France you’d better to get some information about visa obligations.

Nationals of EU Member States, the EEA or Switzerland are not subject to the entry and stay visa requirement. As a rule, unless you are exempt, you are required to have a visa.

If you realized that you need a visa, you can apply for it from the French embassy or consulate in your country where you reside.

There are several types of Visas defined by the French diplomacy:

  • Short-stay visa: This is beneficial for people who are staying for less than 90 days.
  • Long-stay visa: This is  if you plan to move to Paris for work or for your studies  You will then need to apply for a residence card, you need to contact a “prefecture”

We recommend to you to visit the official website to get the global and accurate information according to your specific situation. For information, please visit the link below.



Step 2: Accommodation

When it comes to where to live in Marseille, you must take into account a variety of factors. As Marseille is a metropolis, there are several arrondissements/districts and all of which have their own features and specificities. In Marseille, you can find very urban districts downtown but also districts which look like villages around the city. There are several accommodation options, each with their own advantages.

  • Flat share/colocation: LIVE and STUDY: Flat shares or house shares present the advantage of being cheaper: you share common parts (kitchen, bathroom, toilets, living room) and you have your own room.
  • Single apartment/studio: LIVE or STUDY: This option seems to be better if you plan to live in Paris and work there. The rental price is quite expensive in Paris and you have to include bills, food and other things necessary to live. (Remember; 3 months before you leave the property, you will need to inform your landlord by letter)

The average rent per square metre can range anywhere from 11 to 25 Euros.

Please see the links below for some guidance on finding accommodation;

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Step 3: Transport

There are several efficient ways to travel within Marseille. The RTM (Régie des Transports Marseillais) manages the public transport system in Marseille :

  • Underground: 2 lines. Open 7 days a week from, 5:00am – 01:00am
  • Tramway: 2 lines. Open 7 days a week from, 5:00am – 00:30am,
  • Bus: 79 bus lines. Open 7 days a week from 5:00am – 09:00pm for day service  and 9:00pm to 00:30am for night service.

All transport tickets can be purchased in the tube or tram or in RTM outlets. If you buy a single ticket, Transtick, 1,50€,  it is valid for 1 hour after the 1st use.

We recommend you to buy the Trans pass card if you plan to stay in Marseille for a long time (studies or work). This subscription can be weekly (13.30€), monthly (from 14.30€ to 44.80€ according conditions) or yearly (from 173€ to 434€ according conditions), it depends of the length of your stay.

Travelling by Taxi may be an easier route and below is a list of numbers which may help you out

Taxi bleu Provence: 04 91 90 19 01 / Taxi radio Marseille: 04 91 02 20 20

Step 4: Working in Marseille

In order to work in France and have access to governments programs and benefits, you have to register through the French administration.

A)    Citizen from the EEE or if you come from Switzerland

You can work in France as you don’t need any visa or work permit. You need to prove some information.

  • For employees: you need to have a work contract or a statement written by your employer stating that you will be hired
  • For nonemployees: an official document proving that you have a long-term activity
  • For service providers: a commercial document like a service contract is required

B)    Citizen from Croatia

You will need a residence permit (except for Croatians who have an equivalent Master degree).

  • For employees: you have to apply for a work permit (your employer does it).
  • For nonemployees: before starting your activity, you need to get a specific document: a residence permit called “UE – toutes activités professionnelles sauf salaries”.
  • For service providers: you need to get a residence permit called “UE – prestataire de services”.

C)    Non-European people

If you want to work as employee in France, you need to get a work permit. It can be a visa or a residence permit that allows you to work or a specific document which is not related to residence.

For further information, please see the link below;


Marseille is not specifically a big employment area. However, here are the sectors hiring people: construction, real estate, green energy, the catering sector, services to individual, business services, secretariat, handling, commerce/distribution, telemarketing, animation/culture. The seasonal factor may affect supply and demand in some sectors such as catering.  The minimum wage in Marseille is currently 9.53€ per hour.


Step 5: Health Care

The French health coverage is called social security. It reimburses a part of your medical spending.


-        If you are not European

If you come to France to study you must register for the Student Social Security Regime; you have to be less than 28 years old, to be registered in a higher education establishment who’s affiliated to social security and have a residence permit.

-        If you are European

You should have a European Health Insurance Card so you are covered by the Sickness Insurance Primary Fund.

-        If you have a private insurance certificate so you are covered by this insurance


To benefit from health coverage, if you are employee in France, your employer needs to register you on the CPAM which is the Sickness Insurance Primary Fund.


There are two options: you can call a doctor and get an appointment or you can just turn up to see a Doctor. Doctors are settled in each borough of France and as there are many Doctors in the country, it is never hard to get an appointment with one. (For Example; if you are travelling and so not in Marseille or if your doctor is not available, you can turn up to see a different Doctor)

The general fee is 23€.

Emergency – useful phone numbers

  • 15: SAMU which is the Emergency medical assistance service in France
  • 112: European emergency phone number
  • 18: Fire Brigade
  • 17: Police Emergency


In Marseille, there are 4 hospitals spread throughout 12 hospitals groups:

  • A regional oriented hub with the Hospital Nord, Hôpital de la Timone
  • A specialization-oriented hub with the Hôpital de la Conception and the Sud Hospitals


Step 6: Money and Bills

The currency used in France is the Euro. There are a different variety of  coins including: 1 cent, 2 cents, 5 cents, 10 cents, 20 cents, 50 cents, 1 euro, 2 euros and a large number of banknotes: 5€, 10€, 20€, 50€, 100€, 200€, 500€. You can use your credit card almost everywhere; cash is more for small expenses.

If you come to France for more than 3 months, you are allowed to open a bank account . You need to have a passport, a proof of address (a document where your address is mentioned) and a residence card. Once you have undertaken all the administrative formalities, you will pay a certain amount for using your credit card and you will receive a cheque book, free most of the time.

Banks in France: Société Générale, BNP Paribas, LCL, HSBC, Barclays, Crédit Agricole, CIC, Banque Populaire, La Banque Postale, Caisse d’Epargne.


Step 7: Food

France is well-known for the food and its variety of products thanks to its regions. Each region has its own specificities.

In Marseille, a lot of specificities are on the menu of restaurants: bouillabaisse (a selection of several fishes, ingredients and aromatics, anchoïade, aioli, bourride, navettes (biscuit flavoured with orange blossom), “pieds et paquets” (small chunk of the sheep paunch rolled out and stuffed with bacon, garlic, parsley and white wine), pistou soup, tapenade or poutargue.

Pastis is also well-known in Marseille. When it’s aperitif time, you can enjoy a glass of Pastis on terraces.  There are many different restaurants in Marseille, for information on restaurants please see the link below.

  •        Markets

In Marseille, you can find an important number of markets. Generally, they are open in the morning, from 8:00 to 13:00. For further information about markets in Marseille, please visit the website link below.


Step 8: Social

Please note there are some formalities in France which you should try to adhere to. On greeting a person for the first time, you should  kiss the person on each cheek. It is also common to give a few tips to the waiter when you are in a restaurant or in a coffee shop.

In Marseille, people are known to be friendly, smiling and more relaxed. The Mediterranean way of life may be cooler than in other big cities of France.  There are many ways to socialise in France and meet new people, for some tips please go to the link below.


Step 9: Sightseeing

There are so many things to see in Marseille. (Parks, monuments, architecture, beaches)

  •        Notre-Dame de la Garde “La Bonne Mère”

If you climb the hill surrounding the city, you will see a great panorama of Marseille.

  •        Les Calanques

Marseilles are very proud of this dream setting. Protected and beloved, walking with this incredible landscape and sightseeing around is a thing to do. Envau, Sormiou, Morgiou,…

  •       Le Vieux-Port

The Vieux Port is maybe the most famous place in Marseille.


History Museum of Marseille, Borély Museum, Cantini Museum, Mediterranean Archeology Museum, Beaux-Arts Museum, Museum of Contemporary Art, Grobet-Labadié Museum, Roman Docks Museum, Museum of African, Oceanian and Amerindian Arts. MUCEM is a national museum.

For more information about Marseille tourism and sightseeing, please visit the link below.


Step 10: Culture & Language

In 2013, Marseille-Provence was the European Capital of Culture. The event was a very good representation of what the city is: a city anchored in the Mediterranean culture, with a growing melting pot population. Due to its location on the Mediterranean Sea, the port city Marseille is an immigration city. When it comes to the religion, you have to take into consideration that France is independent from religious organizations but does have an important Christian heritage. In Marseille, a large number of religions are represented: Christians, Muslims, Jewish… They all have their own religious buildings.  If you want to learn French and have specific language session, you can visit this website link below.