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Marseille is the second biggest city of France, located in the south.
Going to Marseille is usually easy, but getting out of it might be a bit more complicated as there are many highways crossing nearby.
North-West by A55, towards Montpellier, Toulouse, Barcelona, Arles
Take the metro/tramway to La Joliette or Euroméditerranée Gantès and walk down the main street (Boulevard de Dunkerke) for a few blocks. There is the highway North-West (A55) that starts there (it's a bridge going up so it's better to stand at the traffic light just before it). A lot of the cars leaving from that point can take you out of Marseille's metropolis and leave you at Fos-sur-Mer, where the road is only one-lane and it's easy to get another lift.
In the early morning (06:00-07:00) a lot of people that live in Marseille go to work to Fos, so it's definitely the best time to be there. Try putting your destination directly on the sign you have (especially if it's big cities like Montpellier or Toulouse everyone will know where it is), your driver might actually give you further advice on how to go there.
To Montpellier and further you don't have to take the highway A7 and A54 (too much of a detour), the other road A55 and N568, passing by Martigues, Fos, through camargue and Arles is the one most people will take (to not pay the tolls) and is even shorter. Plus it is a nice place to see the Rhone's delta (Camargue) landscape.
January 2019: Not a lot of people were driving towards Fos at 11am-2pm. With not much traffic, traffic-light hitching from that spot was more difficult, as there were only a few cars at a time and they didn't stop long enough, and there was nowhere for them to pull over. Maybe going early would've worked better. Also if you give up and get a train to Fos-sur-Mer it's not easy to get on the motorway again. (Ivy ended up sneaking through the big IMERYS factory, jumping a big fence, and walking a bit along the motorway to get to a small Total services. Do not recommend).
Update on February 2020: No one stopped in the traffic lights just before the A7 ramp to the highway and there's no really other possibilities to directly jump into that highway from the city. Finally, what it worked for me was to go to a petrol station inside the city. In my case, I took the tram and went to the last stop (Arenc), from there I walked until a peculiar petrol station called "Briançon service station" (here link to the place in google maps) and thumbed up from there. Note that area of Marseille is not very safe and the petrol station has not really an indoor space, so I wouldn't recommend to go there at night.
Sidenote: There's a very bad air pollution in Fos-sur-Mer. Personally, I'd recommend to leave that place as soon as possible or even try to not stop by there.
North or West by A7, towards A8, Aix-en-Provence, Avignon, Lyon, or Nice
- You can stand on the entrance to the L'Autoroute de Soleil (A7), 3 minutes' walk northwest from the central station Gare Saint Charles. From the station main entrance, follow the blue road signs.
- Another option is to travel by bus to Aix en Provence (6 Euros) and from there either to Avignon or to Nice.
- It is highly recommended to first go north via A7 and then take the A8. The alternative - A50 east to Toulon and then up to A8 - is by far less frequented, since the highway goes directly through the city of Toulon, with traffic lights and speed limits.
Stand just before the entrance of the motorway Toulon, Aubagne : boulevard Rabatau, just in front of the Kyriad Hotel or Boulevard Jean Moulin, just after the last trafic light, at the entrance of the motorway which turns on the left. With a sign Nice it'll work!
Got an easy ride to Toulon from a decent spot on Bd Vincent Delpuech just before the roundabout where the A50 begins. Nice open space opposite traffic lights with an extra lane for drivers to pull over in good time.
The metro is easy to blackride, walk through the open doors or follow somebody who is walking through the turnstiles with a ticket. People will hold open the doors for you if you have a backpack. If you see security, wait until they look away or go for a cigarette break. Buses are even easier, the drivers don't check for tickets and inspectors (very rare, found sometimes around Vieux-Port) wear black-purple uniforms. The amount of purple on their uniforms is just one very thin line across their chest..so you have to look out really well. Trams are easy too, just be careful around the center and you`ll be fine. A lot of people blackride in this city.
Leave your bags
You can leave your bags in supermarket LIDL (Rue Sante 71, Monday-Sunday, 9-20:00). I am not sure about other LIDL's but in this one it works and it's very close to city center. They have big storage boxes, that's enough for your big backpack, deposit is 2 Euro.
Near Noailles metro station there is a food market with a lot of cheap arabic cafes. I can recommend you somme pizza cafes where you can buy big pizza for 4 Euro. Couple of good pizza cafes you can find on Rue des Feuillants.
You can find computers with internet in the cenral library - Bibliotheque de l'Alcazar. Also they have free wi-fi, comfortable chairs, tables, sockets and toilet. You can use their wi-fi as much as you want. To use their computers you have 1 hour per each day. You need to make your own card with your personal login and password. To do it, you need any ID. Working time Tuesday-Saturday, 11-19:00.
For a quick check you can also use the computers in Office de Turisme. If you need internet for longer reaserch I recommed going to Les Terrasses du Port, it's open everyday from 10.00 am to 8 pm (or even till 1 am - a part with restaurants).
You can find a perfect spot to pitch your tent at the green beaches (called in french Parc Balnéaire du Prado) just get the bus number 83 and get off there, you can't miss it (and don't even think about paying, cause you'll be the only one to do that). Do not do it on the beach! There are plenty of trees close by, do it there. By the way, the beach strip in this part of the city is probably the best. Good luck!
I stayed at the above spot a few days ago; it really is in many ways a perfect spot. I was not bothered by the police, there is a grocery store (Casino), a cheap kebab place, and a cafe with wifi across the street. There are also public showers (typical outdoor cold water beach showers), which are great. However, be warned that around 4:30 AM, some sprinklers turned on and continued until about 5:30. I only stayed there the one night so was unable to observe if there are places not covered by the fountains, but the big field might be a good spot. I also noticed a tractor combing the beach itself in the morning, so if you camp on the sand you will be woken up / run over. - 4 June 2017