This is a great trip for the whole family, but it can be quite hot in the summer because of little shadow on the islands. Also handy to be able to combine shopping with pleasure (for some).
Take the A7 motorway straight into the heart of Marseille. Take one of the first parking's that comes along after the large roundabout where the motorway ends. The shoppers can be left in the centre of Marseille for the day, while the rest walks the 300 meters down to the Vieux Port (the old harbour) and gets the first local ferry boat to the island 'Iles du Frioul'. You could stop off at the island of Iles d'IF (with the famous Chateau d'If, where the story of Monte Cristo occurred), but you need to give notice of this when you buy the tickets for the boat. The boats go only every hour (off-season) and takes 20 min. to d'IF and a total of 30 minutes to Frioul. So make sure to catch the 10.15 or 11.30 boat off season (1.7 to 15.9 is the season).
|Ruins on Frioul|
On Frioul there are 3 decent beaches, and many opportunities for swimming from the rocks or from tiny beaches all along the coast. There are walking trails all over, but the island's southern part has particular nice trails. The decent beaches are located on the north side of the island, but the island is small, ca. 200 hectare, and in summer there are about 2,500 people out here every day. Many people, however, seems to end up fairly quickly on one of the many cafes and restaurants along the small harbour. It's very nice for a simple lunch in the shade.
The evening can be spent at a sidewalk restaurant in the Vieux Port in Marseille or closer to home, in Aix-en-Provence.
Communication wise, it might be interesting to consider public transport all the way from Pertuis Gare (Pertuis railway station). From Pertuis Gare there are cheap express buses every hour to Aix-en-Provence (1 Euro per person for the 30 minutes drive!) and express buses leaves Aix for Marseille centre every 10 minutes! Parking along the road passed Pertuis Gare is normally easy, but the last bus back to Pertuis from Aix leaves Aix around 20.30.