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Moving to Marseille

What to know if you're moving to Marseille

Are you looking for a multicultural European city to move to? With a large expat community, Marseille has become a great destination to discover France. In this guide, you can find useful info on visas, the climate and more!

Need to move abroad? Organizing an international relocation is not something you should do on your own. As expats, we understand what you need, and offer the the essential services to help you move and live abroad easily. Contact us today to jump start your move, and begin the preparations with our free relocation checklist.

Relocating to Marseille

About the City

With a population of 850,000 in 2014, Marseille is the second largest city in France, behind Paris. Located on the south coast of France, Marseille is home to France’s largest port, and has been a major hub of trade and export for centuries.

As a port city, Marseille’s population is made up of a mix of native French citizens, foreign born residents, and expatriates. The largest groups of foreign born residents in the city are Algerian, Comoran, Tunisian, and Moroccan. A large number of expatriates move to Marseilles every year to work at the port, or in one of the multinational corporations based in the city.

The main religions are Catholicism and Islam, and the city also has the third largest Jewish community in Europe, with 80,000 Jewish residents.

The Climate in Marseille

Moving to Marseille means adjusting to a Mediterranean climate which usually brings mild winters and hot, dry summers. The average summer temperature is around 28–30°C, but it drops slightly the nearer you are to the coast. The winter months bring temperatures of around 12°C, and very little rainfall. In fact, it is the driest city in the country, with only 512mm of average annual rainfall.

This dry weather is caused by the Mistral wind, which, originating in the Rhône Valley, brings clear skies and sunny weather to the city in the winter months. Marseille is also officially the sunniest city in France, experiencing over 2000 hours of sunshine every year.

Visas for France

Whether or not you will need a visa to live in Marseille depends on your nationality. Citizens of the EU will not need a visa to enter France or take up residency in the country.

However, expatriates living in Marseille that are not EU citizens will need to apply for either a one year long stay visa or a residency permit, depending on how long they wish to stay in the country. Either way, you need to apply for an entry visa in your country of origin before arriving to live in Marseilles.

You can apply for both visas at the Service des Étrangers section of your local authorities, and they must be applied for within two months of entering France, otherwise they cannot be obtained. You need to supply a set of documents for both visas, but for the residency permit you need to undergo a medical checkup as the last step in the application process. Both of these permits can be renewed two months before they are due to expire.

For more information on visas for French, you can also refer to our dedicated article on Moving to France.

Whether you are moving abroad for the first time or relocated multiple times before, the process raises many questions. Our complete guide to relocation will ease your doubts along the way, from the initial preparations to how to negotiate a relocation package, we help you GO! prepared with the key answers.

Updated on: October 21, 2021

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Join Our Exciting Events in Marseille

Once we've helped you move to Marseille, we can make you feel at home by introducing you to other expats who have already settled and are part of our Marseille Community. Attend our monthly events and activities in Marseille and get to know like-minded expats in real life.

Saveurs Du Monde Official Event: India

Start date Feb 27, 2017, 7:30 PM

Attendees 32

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InterNations Marseille May Event @ French Comptoir!

Start date May 25, 2017, 7:30 PM

Attendees 36

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InterNations Marseille December Get-together

Start date Dec 15, 2018, 4:00 PM

Attendees 27

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Marseille Ripper Hunt

Start date Oct 23, 2021, 9:00 AM

Attendees 1

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