summer lunchtime restaurant : Les deux Frangins, 60, Boulevard Bompard and 52, Rue Négresko, Marseille
winter luchtime restaurant: the Shambala, 40 rue des Trois Freres Barthelemy, near the cours Julien, great pizzas
summer evening restaurant: Pate à Crepe at l'Escale Borely Plage de Prado
winter evening restaurant : Le Gepetto 241 Place Louis Nazury Marseille 9eme (Sainte Marguerite)
snack restaurant : Subway, 187 rue de Rome 6eme – good choice of sandwiches
shops: Zigzag: an interesting gadget store, 31, Rue Francis Davso 1er near Opera and rue Saint-Ferréol
beach: Plage du Prophète (of course) also called la plage du Roucas Blanc because it is on the Corniche opposite le Roucas Blanc
summer bar: The Red Lion, good pub at the Point Rouge 231 av Pierre Mendès France 8eme, opposite the beach, live music, happy hour etc
winter bar: O'Brady's Pub 378, Avenue de Mazargues (Ste Anne) 8eme a real Irish pub, even the food and a must for football and rugby supporters! Jam sessions.
outing: Morgiou, Sormiou, in fact all Les Calanques between Marseille and Cassis
visit: the Friouls Islands, a short boat ride from the Old Port
walk (or bike) around Borely Park, the Hippodrome/ golf course and finish at Prado Plage
sport: American football on the Prado beach with friends
of interest: concerts, movies (especially the Trois Palms cinema at le Valentine)
dislikes: aggressive people, non respect for red traffic lights, people who empty their car trash in the street.
fiction book: The Count of Monte Cristo
Guide book: The Euromed School of Business yearly guide book put out by the students...
Have you ever enjoyed 13 desserts for Christmas, planted wheat at the beginning of December, watched the shepherds descend the hillside or chosen and painted your own clay figures to make a nativity scene? If your answer is yes, chances are that you have spent some time in Marseille and made your own forays into the local area and culture of Provence. Perhaps you will have even more ideas to add to this list. But for the novices, here is a short list of fun things to do and see during the month of December in Marseille.
Christmas Market: Shops housed in little wooden chalets offer all kinds of handcrafted items, traditional Provençal wares, culinary delights to taste on the spot or to buy and take home. Place du Général de Gaulle, 13001. 10:00 – 19:00hrs daily, 21/11 – 31/12. Till December 4th, the association “Blé de l’Espérance” - Wheat of Hope - will be selling sachets of wheat to plant for the festival of Sainte Barbe from their stand in the market at the Place Gabriel Péri.
Great creators Christmas market: Over 200 creators offer originals in all kinds of shapes, materials, colours and prices in paintings, jewelry, lights, fashion, wood, glass and ceramics. Kiosque de la Canebière and Cours Julien, 10th -12th and 17th -19th December, 10:00 to 18:00hrs.
Allauch Christmas Market: Some 120 craftsmen present their handiwork. Nougats, calissons, foies gras, truffes and other delicacies are available for sale December 11th and 12th 9:00 – 18:00hrs in the streets of the old village at Allauch (end of bus line 144 from La Rose).
Santon Market: One of the most popular traditions of Marseille is its santon market, dating back to 1803, soon after the French Revolution. Clay figurines, typically provençal, ranging in size and price, painted or unpainted, rare to original, await your perusal and purchase from 21/11 to 31/12 on the top end of the Canebière (Allée de Meilhan) from 10:00 to 19:00hrs. (Some years it has been displaced to Cours d’Estienne d’Orves). Start or add to your personal nativity set. Opening ceremony on Sunday 21/11 will have been made to the sound of tambourines and in the presence of folk groups at the close of the Mass celebrated in Provençal at the Reform Church.
9th biennial “l’Art Santonnier” Aubagne will take place at Cours Foch and l’Esplanade de Gaulle in Aubagne (end of the 40 bus line from metro La Timone) on December 4th and 5th from 9:00 – 19:00hrs. Over 50 santon makers from all over France will be there to display their creations, both traditional and innovative. As well as the santon displays there will be a giant crèche on l’Esplanade de Gaulle and 30 smaller crèches at l’Espace du Bras d’Or. Around 200 individuals in traditional costume (“live santons”), accompanied by sheep, will walk through the village to the light of lanterns and to the sound of music, starting at 17:30hrs on Saturday 4th. For more details of this exciting weekend, contact Ateliers Thérèse Neveu - Espace expositions Art de la Terre T: 04 42 03 43 10 Email : firstname.lastname@example.org
Santons all year round: Marcel CARBONEL 47/49 rue Neuve Sainte Catherine 13007. Free guided tours of approx. 45 minutes are offered all year long on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 15:30hrs, with a maximum number of 30 people per group. Phone 04 91 54 26 58 for more details.
Reading about the Santons: Interesting vignettes on several popular santons are available in the book, “L’âme des santons - quand l’argile se fait parole” by Jacques Bonnadier, illustrated by Louise Amphoux, editions Jean Lafitte. It is only available in French, but a great read.
Nativity Scenes/Crèches: Cathedrale de la Major 13002 from Sunday 12th to Sunday 30th January 2011.
Crèche animée (living nativity) at Notre Dame de la Garde 13006 from Sunday 19th through Sunday 30th January 2011, all week from 9:00 -12:00hrs and 14:00 – 17:00hrs.
The Small World of Marcel Pagnol, in Aubagne – over 200 santons characterizing 19th century life. Open all year round.
The Thirteen Desserts laid out on a traditional table can be seen at Musée du Terroir Marseillais 5 pl Heros 13013 (Château Gombert). Open all year. More details: 04 91 68 14 38.
Descent of the Shepherds takes place from the hill in Allauch on Christmas Eve, starting around 21:00hrs.
Ice skating: Traditionally an ice skating rink has been set up on the Cours d’Estienne d’Orves, 13001. Whether it will be operational this year is not yet clear.
Pastorales: The programme should soon be available from the reception desk of the Office du Tourisme et des Congrès. Included are: the Maurel pastoral (in Provençal), The Audibert pastoral (in French), and the pastoral of the rue Nau group.
Midnight Masses on Christmas Eve: Times and churches vary. Some are earlier than midnight. We went to a very nice one at Eglise des Accoules in the Panier. It was early and packed. Google search nearer the time is the easiest way to find details.
CG13 Free Concerts: Normally, the Conseil Général treats the Marseille public to three different themes for Christmas concerts in various locations throughout the city from early December right through till Christmas Eve. I have so far been unable to find the details for 2010, but most years there are a total of over 50 concerts. Try and find the information nearer the time; then go early as space is always limited.
English Carol Sing: The 6th annual carol sing hosted by ICCM will take place at the Basilique du Sacré Coeur on the Prado, December 12th at 15:30hrs.
Summer lunchtime restaurant: Chez Etienne 43, rue de Lorette 13002 Marseille. Most renowned pizza place (and other Provençal delicacies such as Pieds & paquets) in Le Panier; Etienne, the “patron” is an attraction by himself since prices vary according to his mood.
Winter Lunchtime restaurant : La Goulette 1, Rue Pavillon, 13001 Marseille. Tunisian restaurant with delicious couscous and other North African dishesSummer evening restaurant : Le Nautica des Goudes 20, Rue Désiré Pellaprat 13008 Marseille. Very good fish restaurant and splendid view over the marina
Winter evening restaurant : Le chalet du jardin (between Saint Victor Abbey and Notre Dame de la Garde). Imaginative and gastronomic food combined with splendid views of the floodlit city
Snack restaurant : Le Chalet, jardin du Pharo 13007 Marseille. Overlooking the city and surrounding hills but much cheaper than neighbouring Sofitel.
Nice Shop : L’Espérantine 15, rue des Vignerons 13006 Marseille . Unusual local product (olive oil chocolates) for those who have a sweet tooth… and the others!
Summer bar : Bar des 13 coins 45, Rue Sainte-Françoise 13002 Marseille (Le Panier)
Winter bar : Noailles Torréfaction 56, La Canebière 13001 Marseille. When tradition sails through time for the pleasure of our eyes and our taste buds.
Evening out : Le Paradox 127, rue d’Aubagne 13006 Marseille. Have an exotic dinner & dance the night away in pure Caribbean style with live music.
Walk : Jardin Pierre Puget (at the foot of Notre Dame de la Garde). This pocket sized public garden is an unexpected but welcome nature haven.
Sport : Okinawa Shidokan France Dojo 6, boulevard de Compostelle 13012 Marseille. The only karate dojo in Marseille (and in France) to have an official delegation from the Imperial Household Agency of Japan.
Of interest : the numerous sculptures and statues decorating the façades of buildings.
Dislikes : present system forcing cruise-ship passengers to pay huge taxi fares to reach the city center due to the absence of other public transport means.
Book : Gouverner Marseille (Authors : M. Peraldi and M. Samson) : insight into the long lasting interaction between the ruling politicians and the city actors : builders, property developers, state officials, Olympique de Marseille fans, trade unions, religious leaders, artists and last but not least the underworld.
Music : autumn sacred music festival at Saint Michel church 1, Place de l’Archange 13005 Marseille.
Following a long period of "cocooning" I’ve started to have a fresh look at Marseille and start living here all over again. It's had a good facelift and isn't so tetchy if things aren't as French as they should be.
If I suggest meeting on the Vieux Port the easiest place is either the café at the corner just opposite the Macdo & open 24/24 or a bit (a big bit) further along the Shamrock (Irish Pub for those people not of Marseille) on the Quai de Rive Neuve 13007 Marseille
If I want to offer flowers to someone then the florist "Coté Fleurs" 36 rue Endoume 13007 does lovely bouquets and arrangments that smell like flowers.
"La Boutique du Chocolat" 6 ave de la Corse 13007 does delicious refined chocolate (not in the phone books)
In the phone book and good for couscous and oriental cakes etc is "Sur le Pouce" at 2 rue Convalescents 13001 just around the corner from the Alcazar library on the Cours Belsunce.
As for drinking coffee, a year round occupation,for me, any decent looking bar is OK but "un Tout Petit Monde" 2 bd Garibaldi, 13001 is a favourite along with the cafés Noailles, all of which have the aroma of roasting coffee. - Canebière - Castellane - Endoume - Grand Littoral - Grand V - Mazargues - Rond-Point du Prado - Roy d’Espagne - Saint Barnabé - Saint Jérôme - Saint Loup - Saint Michel - Libération
Don't ask me about dress shops etc I'm on a permanent diet though this year might well see a significant difference. Very few bars and cafés have terraces for smokers so I've stopped smoking. As far as keeping fit goes w--e--l--l it's kinda like this. Somewhere around the Rond -Point du Prado and St Giniez is a swimming pool owned by the Post Office Sports Association (Complexe René Magnac 82 A Bd Michelet - 13008 Marseille). It's for "serious" swimmers (i.e.lane swimming) so pretty well safe (i.e. no kid will jump in on top of you!).
1/ Summer lunchtime restaurant: Chez Sylvie 84, rue Ruffi. (Euromediterrannée area between the Gantes and Arenc tram stops). Corsican family-run restaurant. Traditional cooking with a choice of 4 or 5 dishes of the day plus, always available steak with real chips. 9/11/13€ for 1/2/3 courses including coffee. Service can be erratic but picturesque; for choice and seating availability go early or from about 13:15hrs for the latter. Reservations also possible. Regular Winter favourites are Civet de Sanglier and Couscous.
2/ Winter Lunchtime restaurant: Dans la Cuisine de Florent, 13 Rue Glandevès (Opéra/Vieux Port) Refined and inventive French cuisine. At lunch time good value for money 14€; on Thursday to Saturday evenings the prices are similar to 3 below.
Alternative choice: a complete contrast: La Diligence 46 Bd Voltaire (opposite the side entrance to St Charles Railway Station.) 12€ for a 3 course menu including aperitif and a quarter litre of wine. Choice of about 5 dishes per course plus a dish of the day – always Couscous on Thursdays and (excellent) Aioli on Fridays. Main clientele are SNCF staff from all over France There’s usually space.
3/ Summer evening restaurant: Dock of the Bay: 35 Bd de Dunkerque. Maybe an odd summer time choice as no seating outside but of course perfectly good in winter too! Chosen for the views of “New” Marseille/building site /CMA CGM Tower with changing coloured light displays. Next to Gantes tram stop. On street parking easy in the evening. Refined French cuisine. Menu at 28/35 for 2/3 dishes.
4/ Winter evening restaurant: Le Vesuvio 33 Rue de la Caze (or Rue Decaza depending where you look) close to Place 4 Septembre on the opposite side from the Pharo. Pizzas and Napolitan area home-cooking – pasta with vongole or stuffed calamar, cuttle fish cooked in wine, etc. Salvatore, the voluble patron, serves and his wife Annie is in the kitchen. Bread comes from the pizza oven. The limoncello is home made and sometimes free. Best to reserve at weekends.
5/ Snack restaurant: Bar Splendide on the corner of the Canebière/Cours Lieutaud. Similar sandwiches, kebabs, falafel as in lots of other Marseille snack bars, but with the added advantage of being in the corner of a fully licensed bar and with views of the world going by outside.
6/ Nice Shop: La Maison de l’Empereur Rue d’Aubagne. (the bottom Canebière end) Dash! Just seen this has already been given as a favourite address by Jo, so I’ll add another reason to go to this traditional Ironmonger’s – to be able to buy light bulbs and other electrical stuff without having to take a pack of two in a hard plastic bubble.
7/ Another old fashioned shop worth paying only 5% more than FNAC prices: Libraire de la Bourse (Frezet), Rue Paradis specialist in maps and guide books, local and otherwise. Good selection of Topo Guides for walkers and cyclists.
8/ Summer bar: Welcome Bar opposite Catalans beach. Open late all the year round.
9/ Winter bar: Dock’s Café, Cours Belsunce. Watch the varied population and the trams go by from the large terrasse. If you order tea without specifying otherwise, you’ll get a small glass of (good) North African-style mint tea.
And all year-round my two ‘locals’ at Place St Eugène for catching up on the local gossip, enjoying the sun or a meal on Louis’ terrasse. Also very useful for finding a plumber, gardener, getting advice, etc.
10/ Afternoon out: To l’Estaque to watch the jousting, eat panisses or chichis fregis.
11/ Outing: To Frioul for lunch and a stroll especially on a sunny day midweek out of season, or further afield Bandol on the train to avoid traffic jams and to be able to enjoy the local wine properly. Restaurants of all kinds, but I prefer the beach on the la Ciotat side (near the superb Ile Rousse hotel)
12/ Walk: From the Vallon de la Fausse Monnaie (steps next to the viaduct) via Petit Nice and Malmousque and back up to the Corniche Kennedy.
13/ Sport: Watching OM, especially important matches in almost any local bar with Canal+ or Orange as the case may be. Even if you’re not a football fan, watching the people watching it is fun. As for watching OM at the Velodrome, it’s also something to do at least once.
14/ Film: Venus et Fleur by the Marseillais Emmanuel Mouret and all his other films
15/ Dislikes: Badly parked cars especially on the recently pedestrianised Cours Belsunce/Galeries Lafayette area. And worse than the parking in itself, the fact that the powers that be don’t do anything about it most of the time; increasing tendency (perversely, since the 35-hour week was introduced) for bars and restaurants to shut early mid-week and close all or part of Sunday.
16/ Book: “Total Kheops” by Jean-Claude Izzo and the other two volumes in the Fabio Montale trilogy.
17/ Music: haven’t seen anybody really “big” in rock for some time at Marseille. Mostly they don’t come or when they do, I don’t know anyone to go with or is it just age?! So listening to my favourite music usually means CDs. But I do enjoy going to free, locally advertised concerts of the local rock band Azimuth, now sadly less frequent after the loss of their leading member, but there are occasionally jazz-rock and jazz concerts too at the aforementioned bars in Endoume and others in the 7th arrondissement. I go along as much for the social event and atmosphere as for the music itself.
Marseille’s lucky to have opera and now filmed opera but it’s not my everyday cup of tea – I would prefer orchestral concerts which are unfortunately more sporadic.
Many, many thanks to Huw, a Welsh friend who lives and works here, who very kindly wrote his Marseille when, yet again, no AAGP members offered their version! I have to say it is, in fact, lucky for us because Huw’s Marseille’s incredibly interesting and going to be very useful!!
If you haven’t yet sent me anything please try and put a few lines together, even if you don’t live in Marseille – everything is interesting.
DAD was a member of the British Diplomatic Corps with the whole of the African continent as his working territory. His main office was in Cairo, Egypt, where I was born. Following regular visits to their annex offices in Alexandria he fell under the spell of a French lady MUM, hence my dual nationality.
We travelled quite extensively, and by the age of nine I had visited all the countries boarding the Mediterranean from Morocco to Syria, Durban, Pretoria, Johannesburg, (probably where my accent comes from), Ethiopia, Eritrea and Djibouti.
The latter may sound interesting for a young lad, but caused tremendous problems with my education. Not only did I change schools very often but the teaching language as well; French, English, African and various Arabic dialects.
Following a family reunion I was repatriated to Marseille in 1949 (age nine) with my French Grand parents. This allowed me a continuous schooling which I shared between Marseille and occasional one year stays in London boarding colleges. Grand-ma had assisted in her daughter’s childbirth and therefore seen me being born. By the age of 20 I visited my parents in Beirut with whom I spent my summer holidays. I was able to obtain my Baccalaureate and graduated from the AUB (American University of Beirut)
When Grand-dad passed away in 1956 I inherited some 200 postcards of old Marseille and Corsica. In his memory I became an avid collector of the latter (2500 samples) allowing me to publish 5 books on this City, two of which are in English. As a qualified motor racing engineer, I returned to Marseille in 1980 and implemented several related businesses until my retirement in 2001. Since then my postcard collection together with additional information sourced from archives on both sides of the Channel has allowed me to create 26 themes relating to this City. I implement these when ever asked by a long list of subscribers including AAGP members.
Truthfully, my roots are not in Africa, France or England but in this city which I consider “MY MARSEILLE”
Summer lunchtime restaurant: Petit Nice, Place Jean Jaures, cheap and cheerful, especially market day!
Winter lunchtime restaurant: Axis 8 rue Sainte Victoire, Place Castellane, great food
Summer evening restaurant: Restaurant Chutes Lavie 45 ave Chutes Lavie 13004 lovely terrace and simple food
Winter evening restaurant: Fonfon 140, Rue Vallon des Auffes, 13007 (if I am being invited & only one dish for non fish eaters!)
Snack: ZenZen, Vieux Port Asian tapas, makes a nice change to sandwiches and hamburgers!
Shops Maison Empereur, 4 rue Récolette Noaille 13001 anything non electric for the kitchen, garden, hunting ...
Epices du Monde 10 Rue longue des capucins, 13001 – just go in to smell it!
Shopping area: Noaille, Belsunce, Port d’Aix area! Bargains galore!
Beach: small beaches at Malmousque – get there early for a space, you might share the beach with the Foreign Legion!
Summer bar: la Marine, Vieux Port, bit pricy but busy and fun
Winter bar: Hotel Sofitel, Vieux Port – if someone else is paying! Great view
Outing: Estaque or Notre Dame de la Garde in the mistral!
Visit: Flower Market Saturday a.m. Vieux Port, very reasonable!
Walk: along the Corniche, around town and the Iles du Frioul (infact anywhere!)
Sport: renting a “vélo” and riding around Marseille!
Of interest: Palais & jardins de Longchamps
Dislikes: badly parked cars, dog poohs & general rubbish
Fiction book: Steven Saylor Last Seen In Massilia
Guide book: Guide Bleu & Marseille (vraiment) par cher! Both sadly in French
Summer lunchtime restaurant: Vinoneo 6 Place Daviel, 13002 near Hotel Dieu, pleasant, affordable meal under shady trees & Maison Serena B, 193 rue Paradis (corner of rue Jean Fiolle) a surprising garden haven in the middle of town
Winter lunchtime restaurant: l'Enoteka 28 bd Notre Dame 13006, just off cours Pierre Puget. Small, cosy, place good choice of wines & Lauracée 96 rue Grignan 13001, (near la Corderie) very good food
Summer evening restaurant: Les Tamaris 40 Calanque de Samena, towards le Goude) worth driving through jammed parts of the Corniche - large outdoor setting, great choice of food, average prices
Winter evening restaurant: Le Vol au Vent 32 bd Notre Dame, 13006 food lovers delight in a cosy setting Open for dinner only Fri & Sat lunch Tues-Fri & l'Aromat , now moved to 49 rue Sainte, 13001 enjoyable meal
Japanese food: LEYEN 60 avenue du Prado 13006 Very successful, big, excellent service, delicious food
Snacks : Tarte Julie - now it has changed its name to Les Gourmandines du Prado but the quality is the same. Avenue du Prado, near Place Castellane
Market: Daily on avenue du Prado, special gorgeous flower market on Friday mornings bargain price plants and flowers
Attractions: The spring and autumn rare plants and flowers expo and sale on cours Julien. Also in spring and autumn the wine and produce sale at Parc Chanot called SAVIM
I am not a shopper, but there is a discount perfumerie in the middle of rue St Ferreol, almost opposite Galeries Lafayette, where they have a great selection at 25% discount throughout the year. A treasure trove! For cheesecake lovers, I found a place where you can either order them for take-out, or, have them at the cafe itself. The choices are lemon or white chocolate cheesecake. CARRE'S KITCHEN, at 13. bd Salvator, (near the Préfecture) 04 91 33 94 01
I’ve lived most of my life in Provence and even if I love travelling, my deep roots are here. Marseille is a beautiful city, a mixture of tradition, history and modernity. The quality of life is wonderful, with the presence of an ever-changing sea which offers breathtaking landscapes.
Places to visit and where to eat:
- Try going to the Chateau d’If and Frioul islands on a sunny day. It’s a nice boat ride which gives you the opportunity to admire Marseille from the sea. On the island there are some little restaurants facing the harbour or you can choose to have a picnic and walk to the rocky inlets for a swim in summer.
- From the Vieux port : visit the Palais du Pharo garden’s and stop for lunch at the outdoors Restaurant du Chalet with an overlooking view on the harbour (better to reserve 0491528011).
On the Townhall side check if there is an exhibition at l’Espace Bargemon (situated under the square).Then have a nice meal inside or on the terrace Chez Maddie (at n° 138; 0491904087) if you fancy good meat, pieds et parquets marseillais and their gorgeous chocolate dessert.
- One of my favorite places is the Vallon des Auffes, a lovely little harbour partly hidden under the Corniche, where you see real fishermen and their “pointus”(local boats). There are a few nice restaurants: from the well known Pizzeria Chez Jeannot (0491521128) to the famous but expensive l’Epuisette (0491521782) or Chez Fonfon (traditional Bouillabaisse, 0491521438).
- If you continue on the Corniche, keep going after Statue of David. Then go through all the little “villages” and eventually arrive on a beautiful rustic road. From then on, slow down a bit and fill your eyes with the seascape on your right. You can no longer think you are still in Marseille. After a few km of turns you arrive at the”end of the world” as Callelongue harbour is a dead-end. Then you can either go to La Grotte, the only restaurant Pizzaria there (0491731779) or start for a hike in the white rocky hills towards the calanques and ……Cassis.
Apart from all the well known museums I like going to the “Maison de l’artisanat” on the Cours d’Estienne d’Orves (big square near the Vieux port). All their exhibitions are interesting: from one about the desert, to another with old paintings of Marseille or about the traditional Santons.
- For clothes I like shopping on the rue Saint Ferréol and end up at le Centre Bourse on the other side of the Canebière.
- For delicacies and good French cheese I go to Marou “traiteur” on the place Castellane.
In the same area, for chocolates, teas, coffees and French cookies I like Dromel Ainé (19 avenue du Prado);
And if you have some time left, go for a stroll at the Prado market (food, clothes, flowers…) and follow your impulse ( only on mornings).
Tired and hungry? Have a delicious pastry or ice-cream at Gourmandine du Prado (14 ave. du Prado).
Having family and friends here for the past three weeks, you have to think of lots of different things to do; especially as they are all ages - from 20 to 69 - and nationalities, German, English, French and even Senegalese this year. Some already know Marseille, some not at all. So here are a few ideas!
If you want to have peace and quiet on a Saturday you can lend them the car and they can drive to Arles. There is so much to do you will not see them for the whole day. One of the best Provençal markets ever, where you can find anything and everything and much cheaper than Aix. We always buy tellines (small shellfish) which we then cook in garlic and parsley for the evening drinks, lots of vegetables, cheese, spices, charcuterie etc. and then there are all the sites, the arena, wonderful church, antique theatre, Alyscamps and Arletan museum, and lovely little streets you can walk around before eating on the square made famous by Van Gogh. On the way back there is the museum and the Cesar exhibition.
Quite often on a Saturday we go up to the market at La Plaine, where even if there is some food most of it is clothes and bits and pieces, then you can either eat in the best tapas place we know, Dos Hermanos, which has a nice patio or you can eat on the Cours Julien.
On Sundays we like combining swimming with food. We have two favourite places.
First of all if there are visitors we take them along to Les Goudes, la Baie des Singes and Callelongue (have a look at the gardens on the far side of the port where someone has built lovely terraced gardens with local plants) all with places for swimming and then normally we go to the beach of the Pointe Rouge for a swim and to eat all kinds of seafood a la plancha, feet in the water at La Bonne Franquette. They have a wonderful Salade Océane which is big enough for two. On top of that the owners and the personnel are all really nice and helpful. Then one of the main reasons for going there is to have the best ice cream in Marseille at the Gelateri NINO.
The other place is Ensues la Redonne where we reserve at the Mangetout at the Calanque de Grand Méjean so that we can get the car down, have a swim at the calanque de la Redonne and then drive along to the Mangetout where you have the little fish which give their name to the restaurant. On the way back you can now have another great ice cream at L'Estaque where Gelateri Nino has opened up as well. Unless of course you feel like eating some local panisses.
One of our favourite places to take visitors to is St Victor with its wonderful crypts which go down several levels in an old quarry dating back to the 5th century, the church being from the 12th century, and later being fortified. There is a wonderful view over the Vieux Port; from there you can walk down to the Plage des Catalans where there is a pizzeria - for those who want to go home they can just get on the bus and the others can stay sunbathing.
Emma adores Frioul and its beach with lovely clear water, views over Marseille and a nice boat trip which you can also combine with a visit to the Chateau d'If.
We live near the Jardin de Longchamps, originally laid out as a zoo (now a children's playground where you can also sit on the grass) with formal gardens in front of the imposing building (near the 'syphon' ) to celebrate the water being brought to the town - you can walk all the way through it from Chutes Lavie to 5 avenues, and if you are thirsty there are a couple of ginguettes to get a drink, ice creams or coffee.
Recently we have discovered a Venetian restaurant called Hosteria at 5 avenues where you have Carpaccio, Italian ham, pasta and various other specialities.
In winter when we go to the Cinema "Les Variétés" if they have decent films in English (they never have Pirates of the Caribbean nor Harry Potter) we eat at a little Tunisian right next to the cinema called le Saf-Saf, you eat a very reasonable couscous for about 8 euros (but no alcohol).
Visitors are nearly always taken to the Vieille Charité to see the various exhibitions and the permanent African and Mexico mask ones (the building has been beautifully restored) after which we either walk down to the Place de Lenche where you sit on the square with view of Notre Dame, and visit the Lamparo for fish and little squids all done in garlic or the Petit Montmartre for a côte de boeuf with real chips and salads in lots of garlic. Otherwise in winter we walk down to the rue de la République and eat in the local Chinese canteen, Heng Heng, really great Asiatic food, eating on long tables. Try the soups which are a meal on their own or the Canard and/or Porc laqué.
There are also quite a number of museums like the Cantini, the one of old Marseille under the Bourse and a good Opera house
Dos Hermanos : 18 r Bussy l'Indien 13006 MARSEILLE, 0496120023 - La Bonne Franquette : 16 ave de Montredon, plage de la Pointe Rouge, 13008, 0491721412 - Le Mangetout : 8 chem du Tire Cul, Calanque de grand méjean, Ensuès La Redonne, 0442459168 - Pizzeria des Catalans, La Plage, 0491523782 - Hosteria, 44 Bd Philippon, 13004, 0401646628 - Saf-Saf, 29 rue Vincent Scotto, 13001, 0491915879 - Au Lamparo, 04 91 90 90 29 and Le Petit Montmartre, 0491909029 both on Place Lenche, 13002 - Heng Heng, 65 r République 13002, 0491912994
Summer lunchtime restaurant: La Kahena - Tunisian cooking - very popular, especially for people who have never enjoyed North African food. Huge servings: go there very hungry. Try the Tunisian wine. Beautiful interior, possible to sit outside with view of Notre Dame de la Garde. 2, rue de la République, 13001 Marseille.
Winter lunchtime restaurant: Le Charles Livon, 89 boulevard Charles Livon, 13007 Marseille. T: 04 91 16 78 00. This has a plush interior and a very reasonably priced menu. It’s situated just across the street from the Pharo gardens.
Summer evening restaurant: Café Thai, 136 rue Rouet, 13008 Marseille. Very good authentic Thai food, lovely decoration, good service and reasonably priced.
Winter evening restaurant: Little India, 8 rue Saint Victoire, 13006 Marseille. Authentic Indian food with excellent service and reasonable prices.
Snack restaurant: Au Falafel, 5 rue Lulli, 13001 Marseille. Open non-stop from noon to midnight with terrace.. Huge plates of Israeli specialities (kosher too!) hummous, tahina, falafel, shwarma, salads... all this just behind the Opéra.
Shops: La Chocolatière du Panier, 49 rue de Petits Puits, 13002 Marseille. This is a very small boutique which holds no more than 4 people at a time; the Marseillais can be proud of this family business which built its reputation purely by word of mouth. They have 138 varieties of chocolates, prepared with neither butter nor cream: flavours include praline, citrus, lavender, basil, onion, and olive oil to name a few. A second shop is found at 35 rue Vacon, 13001 Marseille.
Shopping area: The Panier for authentic Marseillais arts and crafts.
Summer bar: Le Bistrot Plage, 60 corniche Kennedy, 13007 Marseille. Just a fabulous place to have a drink, with a splendid view of the sea and the islands of Frioul and beyond. They also serve great home-made pizza as apéro munchies. They are a restaurant as well but I haven’t tested it.
Winter bar: Brasserie les Templiers, 27 rue Elisabeth, 13001 Marseille. Right outside Centre Bourse, a cosy bar that dates back to 1926 that offers a large variety of beer on tap. Basic food: salads, French fries etc and once a month there is live music.
Outing: Les Calanques or les Goudes.
Visit: Le Panier, Le Corbusier’s building, L’Unité d’Habitation.
Walk: I like to walk up to Notre Dame de la Garde, but for those who prefer less strenuous walking, the path alongside the Corniche, from the plage des Catalans until the rond point David is stupendous everytime. It’s preferable with the sun; but even with some clouds the light can be amazing in Marseille. Guaranteed fresh air and good walking.
Sport: Swimming - try the public swimming pool in Luminy during the summer.
Of interest: the history of Marseille.
Dislikes: Litter, pollution and bad drivers.
Fiction book: ‘The Heartsong of Charging Elk’ by James Welch.
Guide book: ‘Les Gens de Marseille font le guide’ by Laurence Lemaire.
Popular happy hour place: L’Exit Café, 12 quai de rive neuve, 13001 Marseille. Happy hour up to 10:00 pm, 2 glasses for the price of one to be appreciated on an outside terrace on the Old Port !
Cool budget place to have a drink: Au Petit Nice, 28 Place Jean Jaurès, 13005 Marseille. A glass of wine for just over 1€, good place to start the evening!
Live music and dancing: Le Poste à Galènes, 103 rue Ferrari 13005 Marseille. Amazing choice of different beers, smoking area, dancing flour for all ages… (Entry between 2 and 20€, depends of the band!).
Best tapas in town: La Tasca, 102 rue Ferrari 13005 Marseille. Opposite Le Poste à Galène! ENJOY A STRAWBERRY DAIQUIRI or A MOJITO, then taste all kinds of different Spanish tapas in a fairy tale garden. The staff is incredibly friendly, you’ll love them!
Best Ice Creams: Gelati Nino, 59 A Avenue Montredon, 13008 Marseille. A very imaginative selection of perfumes: kinder, nutella, coco, twix…all homemade ! And after this, don’t hesitate to have a run around on the beach to melt it all away (haha).
Best tea time place: Shambala, 40 rue des trois Freres Barthelemy, 13006 Marseille. Variety of teas, diabolic cakes, big cushions on the floor, chilled music!
Nice shop: Zeste, 69 Rue de Rome, 13001 Marseille. For people out of ideas for presents, this shop has fun decoration things. Puzzle photo frames, sugar tins, magnets…
Café Théâtre: Le Quai du Rire, 16 quai de rive neuve, 13007 Marseille. Amusing shows, nice place.
The best place to buy fish, and meet real Marseillais: the Port, Vieux Port. Every morning find fresh fish, bargain!
Nice / “Fun” walks: L’Etoile, la Malmousque, le Panier, Notre Dame de la Garde and “Noailles”
Things yet to do:
- Restaurant: La cave des Anges, and Le Marseillois
- Visits : the making of the Savon de Marseille, a Pastis factory
- Dock des Suds