memories of marseille
Like so many ports, Marseille seems a bit rough at first sight. But once you get to know this melting pot, you feel the warmth and charm of the Mediterranee.
Marseille has much to offer. Tons of different cuisines, fashion, design, architecture, culture, art, friendly people and, thanks to a mini archipelago right in front of the city, even nature.
Marseillais work hard but seem to enjoy the good things in life as well. Here are some tips and tricks to create your own memories of Marseille.
Les Pieds dans le plat is a French restaurant near Cours Julien with a ‘market menu’. They offer excellent starters and a large choice of very affordable red and white wines.
2 Rue Pastoret
T: +33 491 487 415
The markets and countless boulangiers around Cours Julien offer you the world of food at your feet and a tremendous pick of patisserie and fresh baguettes and croissants. Just walk around and let you nose and taste buds guide you.
For some fresh fish for reasonable prices you can also sail out to Isle de Frioul and order a plate of Fruit de Mer in one of the restaurants in the postcard little port.
Right at the Vieux Port you find an almost hidden stairway which takes you one story up to La Caravelle. This old hotel bar is a bit of a worn down watering hole with tons of charm, occasional life music, a happy crowd and liters of Pastis. A place at the window or on the small balcony at the end of an afternoon will let you slide into the evening or night in the company of with an aperitif or two or three.
34 Quai du Port
T: +33 491 903 664
A totally different hangout is the fashion-music-theatre-barber-boutique-bar Oogie!. Here you take a seat at the terrace on the square, enjoy all that passes by and drink your drinks in the company of the constantly changing street scene of Marseille.
55 Cours Julien
T: +33 4 91 53 10 70
From the luxury – but in need of a renovation – Galeries Lafayette to the real (art) galleries in Panier, Marseille has a lot to choose from ‘shopping-wise’. At Lafayette the food department is quite interesting when you are into French delicacies. Other than these venues, you’ll find tons of ethnic stores when you walk up to the area around Cours Julien where you’ll in turn find design and fashion frontrunner stores that usually open ahead of everything else when a neighborhood becomes hot.
Until a few years ago Marseille had its back turned to the water that so pleasantly caresses its shores. Before the city started to develop its waterfront for leisure instead of hard harbor labor, the only way to appreciate its beautiful facade was from the small, four island, archipelago right in front of the Vieux Port. From here you take the boat which brings you in half an hour (10 euro for a roundtrip) to either the ‘big’ island Frioul or, after passing two forts that flank the entrance to the Old Port the isle of If which is the location of Château d’If, made famous by the Dumas novel The Count of Monte Cristo.
For hiking, nature, swimming and a bite you best go to Frioul which offers beautiful vistas, nature, thousands of birds and its own micro-climate.
Culture & History
The new waterfront offers an inspiring mix of modern architecture, history and culture. The Museum of European and Mediterranean Civilizations (MuCEM) was inaugurated on June 7, 2013 as part Marseille as the European Capital of Culture. The awesome museum is built on reclaimed land at the entrance of the Old Port, opposite the 17th-century Fort Saint-Jean. Over the channel that separates old from new a 130 meter long footbridge has been built. Another footbridge links the fort to the Esplanade de la Tourette, near the church of St. Laurent in the Panier quarter.
When you cross the second bridge and have cast and eye on and in the St. Laurant church, you can head to the Old Town (Panier) and visit the impressive Vieille Charité, an 17th century almshouse for the poor, dedicated to Notre-Dame, mère de Charité (Our Lady, Mother of Charity). Here you find another museum which showcases ethnic art from Oceania, South America and Africa and (until June 22, 2014) a smashing exposition of Picasso, Magritte and Warhol.
1) Very central with a tasteful mix of Swedish design and vintage furniture; this historic boutique loft invites you to partly spend your city break on its rooftop balcony before wandering of to the nearby Vieux Port or the graffiti covered edgy hotspot around Cours Julien.
Historic design loft
61 Rue Sénac de Meilhan
Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur 13001
2) A former Corsican grocery shop in a 17th century building literally turned into a work of art. Welcome to Au Vieux Panier. This Maison d’Hôtes has five rooms, all designed in a different style by a contemporary artist. We offer our guests a rare opportunity to sleep in a work of art. The rooms are re-created each year, turning every visit into another unique experience in Marseille’s Old Town.
Au Vieux Panier
13 Rue du Panier
Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur 13002
T: +33 (0) 4 91 91 23 72
A good site to check was is and what isn’t going on in Marseille is http://www.mylittle.fr/mylittlemarseille/.
How to get there
Taxis are quite expensive in Marseille. A ride from the airport to downtown can easily cost you 70 euro. A lot cheaper and almost as fast are the shuttle bus (25 minutes – 8 euro – www.navettemarseilleaeroport.com) and the train (17 minutes – 6 euro – www.marseille-airport.com/access-car-parks/access/trains). The advantage of the shuttle over the train is that the bus continues to run throughout the night (connecting to incoming and outgoing flights) and the fact that you need to get on a (free) shuttle first to get to the train station which adds an additional 5 minutes and waiting time to your journey.