It’s time to start planning your trip to Circuit Paul Ricard for the 2019 French Grand Prix on 20-23 June. Here’s our guide to the best of Marseille and the Côte d'Azur.
- Visas: France is a member of the border-free Schengen area in Europe, which grants most visitors visa-free entry for up to 90 days. Find out more here.
- Currency: EURO. ATM’s are readily available and credit cards are accepted almost everywhere.
- Language: French, though English is widely spoken in the service sector. Nevertheless, it still pays to have a translation app on your smartphone in case of emergencies.
- Time Zone: during summer, France observes Central European Summer Time, which is equivalent to UTC + 2 hours.
- In an Emergency: dial 112.
- Power Sockets: France use the same Type F power sockets as the rest of mainland Europe. Bring an adaptor if you are travelling from another part of the world.
- Weather: the south of France experiences hot, dry summers. Temperatures average a high of 27°C (80°F) and a low of 17°C (63°F) in late June with around 11 hours of sunshine and a relatively low chance of rainfall.
Arrival & Getting Around
Marseille Provence Airport (MRS) is 65km from Circuit Paul Ricard and serves mainly European flights with carriers such as Air France, Ryanair, EasyJet and Volotea. If you are travelling long-haul, you may also fly into Nice Côte d’Azur (NCE), which is less than 200km from the circuit and has a much larger selection of international flights. France also has an extensive network of high-speed TGV trains – for example, the train from Paris to Marseille takes just 3 hours 25 minutes to cover 750km.
Circuit Paul Ricard occupies a semi-rural location some distance from Marseille, Toulon and other large cities in the region. Unfortunately, poor traffic and parking management at last year’s French Grand Prix resulted in severe delays for fans getting to and from the circuit, especially on Friday. With better traffic management and free trackside parking, driving yourself to the circuit should be a much less painful option in 2019. Bus services from nearby cities are also available – more information will be available closer to race weekend. More information: 2019 French Grand Prix – Getting Around Guide
Where to Stay
France’s second largest city of Marseille is approximately 40km to the west of Circuit Paul Ricard – it has a good selection of accommodation to suit all budgets, not to mention plenty to see and do away from the track. The mid-sized city of Toulon, 30km to the southwest of the circuit, is also a good base for the French Grand Prix. The area surrounding Le Castellet also has everything from campsites to luxury 5-star hotels, though accommodation closest to the circuit does get booked up well in advance.
F1 Experiences offers a 4-night stay at AC Hotel Marseille Prado Velodrome or a 3-night stay at Hôtel Ile Rousse – our guests at both hotels also benefit from daily coach transfers to and from the circuit. Add accommodation to your Official Ticket Package today!
Best of Marseille
Europe’s Capital of Culture in 2013, Marseille is a city with a rich history dating back to the 6th Century BC that’s slowly beginning to shred it’s ‘gritty’ image. The hub of the city can be found in Vieux Port (Old Port), a maze of narrow cobblestone streets that surrounds the marina. The area around Vieux Port and Le Panier (The Basket) is where you’ll find some of the best cafes, bars and restaurants, not to mention historical and cultural attractions.
- See & Do: a short bus or taxi ride from Vieux Port is one of Marseille’s best-known landmarks, Basilique Notre-Dame de la Garde. The interior is impressive and the views of the city are expansive. If you only visit one museum, make it the Musée des civilisations de l'Europe et de la Méditerranée, or MuCEM. Inaugurated in 2013 when Marseille was the European Capital of Culture, this impressive museum is dedicated to the history, culture and civilisation of the Mediterranean region; it’s open from 11:00-19:00 during the summer and tickets cost €50 for adults and €5 for children and pensioners. Culture vultures should also check out Friche Belle de Mai, a huge arts space housed in a former tobacco factory with regular exhibitions showcasing visual and performing arts, plus summer rooftop performances. If the weather in the city gets too hot for sightseeing, you can always hit the beach – Plage du Prophète is a sandy beach close to the Old Town, or you can explore some of the calanques (steep-walled inlets) that the region is famous for. If you don’t fancy hiking to the calanques, daily boat tours are available from the port.
- Eat & Drink: some of Marseille’s best restaurants can be found near the water in Vieux Port, including fresh seafood with views at Restaurant Miramar and local specialities at Restaurant Chez Michel. For more relaxed eats, France does surprisingly good pizzas – some of the best in Marseille can be found at Chez Etienne and La Bonne Mère. Good bars are all over the Vieux Port area; Le Café Des Épices has great vibes and lots of outdoor seating, La Caravelle is a local institution with views of the port and La Relève attracts a young, lively crowd to sample its craft beers and organic wines. We also recommend heading to Place de Lenche, a square in the old town where you can enjoy inexpensive, al fresco cocktails at several bars.
Best of the Côte d'Azur
Also known as the French Riviera, the Côte d'Azur stretches along the Mediterranean coastline as far as Nice and Monaco to the east. With history, sandy beaches, vineyards and countless outdoor pursuits on offer, combining a trip to the French Grand Prix with your summer holiday makes a lot of sense in this part of the world. Here’s some of the best places to visit and near Circuit Paul Ricard.
- Aix-en-Provence: under an hour’s drive from both Marseille and Circuit Paul Ricard, the old capital of Provence was the birthplace of impressionist artist Cézanne, and the subject of many of his masterpieces. Visit Cezanne’s home and studio, or admire the beautiful old town, parks and museums in this postcard perfect city.
- Cassis: midway between Marseille and Circuit Paul Ricard, Cassis is a historic port town and fishing village boasting ancient fortifications and a castle dating back to 1381. Europe’s highest sea cliff at Cape Canaille is also nearby.
- Toulon: another popular base for the French Grand Prix, Toulon is a French naval base with an impressive old town and sandy beaches. Take the cable car (pictured above) to the top of Le Mont Faron for panoramic views of the city.
- Saint-Maximin-la-Sainte-Baume: a pretty 45-minute drive through the mountains to the north of Circuit Paul Ricard, St-Maximin-la-Ste-Baume is a small town with a big history. It’s home to several impressive churches, including the 13th century Basilique Ste-Marie-Madeleine. Nearby, you can also visit the towering Sainte Baume limestone ridge and Grotte Sainte Marie-Madeleine, an important place of worship for centuries; get your walking shoes on, as it’s only accessible via a 45-minute hike.
From select grandstands to VIP hospitality in the Champions Club and Formula 1 Paddock Club, F1 Experiences offers Official Ticket Packages at Circuit Paul Ricard to suit all types of F1 fans. All packages come with exclusive benefits you cannot buy anywhere else, including track tours, driver meet-and-greets and access to the F1 Paddock. Get yours today!