Villas in the 12th arrondissement of Marseille are among the most urban holiday accommodation offered by HomeAway on the Cote d'Azur. Sandwiched between the downtown area and the hills, the open spaces allow a larger selection of villas here rather than apartments, which contrasts markedly to HomeAway's offerings in more central districts, such as the Vieux Port, the 1st arrondissement. Marseille's incredible 2,600 year history and position as one of the premier ports on the Mediterranean means the city was visited by 4.1 million people in 2012, even before being titled the 2013 European Capital of Culture the next year. Holiday rentals in the 12th arrondissement of Marseille have the advantage of being fairly close to the city limits, meaning visitors have more convenient access to the mountainous hinterland.
As might be expected, a larger percentage of accommodation in the 12th arrondissement of Marseille has access to a pool and barbecue area, as the seafront is a little further away than for most other districts. This makes 12th arrondissement of Marseille apartments a little more suitable for people who prefer hiking the mountains to lounging on the beach, but of course, the beaches are still within fairly easy reach.
Beaches: Marseille's beaches are typically small affairs, though have an interesting urban backdrop and great access to facilities. More expansive rural options are available in villages like Cassis, La Ciotat, Saint-Cyr-sur-Mer and Bandol, about a 20-minute drive to the southeast.
Nightlife: Although the 12th arrondissement is primarily a residential area, there is still a significant proliferation of restaurants, cafés and bars, great for laid-back conversational entertainment that doesn't get particularly raucous. For nightclubs and dancing into the wee hours, public transport is plentiful to the central districts.
Outdoor pursuits: The mountainous hinterland to the east of Marseille is a huge playground for hikers, bikers and horse trekkers. There are literally hundreds of miles of trails to explore, both wild and rural in nature, extending off into the vast expanses of Provence. Watersports are also available at the marinas and beaches on the coast.
Culture: Most of the museums in Marseille lie a mile or two to the west of the 12th district, and most have been recently refurbished to feature in Marseille's 2013 appointment as the European Capital of Culture. Must-sees include the Musée des Beaux Arts (Museum of Fine Arts), the Musée Cantini and the Musée d'Histoire de Marseille (The Museum of Marseille History).
Marseille enjoys a Mediterranean climate, which means hot summers and mild winters. Average high temperatures in the summer reach a balmy 28-29°C, with evenings comfortable at around 19°C. Winters will see temperatures dip into single digits, with the average highs in the low teens. Not much rain falls in the Cote d'Azur, but what does tends to arrive in the autumn.
Marseille has its own airport with direct flights to the UK. Visitors can pick from Ryanair, EasyJet and British Airways, or for a much larger selection, they could fly into Nice, and make the 120-mile drive along the coast of the French Riviera part of the trip. Driving to the south of France from the UK is also quite doable, taking only a couple of days. Trains are also convenient, and it is possible to make it to Marseille in around nine hours from London with favourable connections.