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Dare I go to Marseille for one night w/o reservations?

Because of the nature of a solo trip I am taking in Europe this summer, there is one night I am flying into Marseille before I rent a car the next day to drive to see the lavender fields of Provence.
I feel I really need sleep that night before I drive anywhere, as I am traveling alone.
And I am not exactly sure if I want to stay at a hotel near the airport, one by the sea, a B & B somewhere not too far from a car rental location. ?
I was wondering if I could leave it, and just find a place to stay when I land at the Marseille airport?
I will be there in late July.
Is that leaving too much up to chance ?
I just require a bed and bathroom and something affordable.
I'm not fussy, especially since it's just me traveling.
I'm planning on renting an Air B& B for a couple of nights somewhere in the Valensole region ( haven't quite decided which one yet).
I feel like it's not 1990 anymore, and people perhaps book everything far in advance ?
Would I be naive to just try to find a room upon arrival?
On the other hand I can't really tell what any of the hotels are like online, because I don't know the city at all.
Suggestions of which part of Marseille is best to stay in ?
Thanks

Posted by
2573 posts

Aix-en-Provence is the same distance from MRS, the airport, as is Marseille. One option would be to take the train from MRS to Aix-en-Provence, stay there for the day/night, and rent a car the following morning. I find Aix more interesting than Marseille.

Yes, book in advance for July.

Posted by
20 posts

Oh that sounds like a good idea.
Would you stay in a hotel or B&B in Aix en Provence? Any specific recommendations ?
Thanks

Posted by
2573 posts

For one night, I would stay in a hotel, one that was in the center of town. The train or bus from the airport likely still uses the old train station in Aix and you can easily walk with luggage to any hotel of your liking.

Posted by
6996 posts

I agree that Aix is a better choice: much closer to the lavender fields, and easier to drive out of.

Posted by
752 posts

Another vote for Aix-en-Provence. The LeCar40 bus from the airport will drop you in the center of Aix in 40 minutes. Hôtel Rotonde is a block from the Bus Station, easy even with luggage and jet lag. Several people I know use this hotel when they come into Aix to attend cultural events. Definitely book a hotel in advance, the Festival Lyrique will be underway, as well as normal summer tourism.

Posted by
6996 posts

Marseille is a great place to visit, just probably not the best choice in the OP's case

Posted by
20 posts

Thanks Barbara for telling me which train to take from the MRS airport and suggesting a hotel in Aix. I will look into that. Glad to know about the festival, so I will definitely go ahead and book a place.

Posted by
27342 posts

You're making the right decision. For future reference (future trips):

I don't like to make any unnecessary decisions the morning I arrive in Europe after an overnight flight. I am totally brain-dead. A few years ago I stopped at an ATM on my way to my (pre-booked) hotel in Budapest and took out 10 times as much money as I intended to. I don't usually have problems with basic math. I also tripped on an uneven spot in the sidewalk and fell flat on my face. I hate those overnight flights! Even back in 1972 I wouldn't have chosen to arrive in Europe not knowing where I would be sleeping that first night.

Your supposition that perhaps everyone books things in advance now is pretty much accurate. Almost everyone books ahead--usually online--at least the night before they arrive. It definitely means there's much less available if you start looking at 8 AM, 10 AM, etc. In 2015 I started out booking a lot of places the night before, but I've found pickings slimmer than I like at that point; like you, I'm not picky, but I do like a convenient location, and of course I don't want to over-pay for what I'm getting. I've now extended my pre-booking range to 2 to 4 days ahead (longer for high-cost destinations). Even so, I've accepted that I occasionally will not be able to find an affordable place in my preferred city at that late date because of some special event.

Posted by
8162 posts

You don't want to be looking for a place on arrival. Decide and book that night ahead so you are not scrambling.