An authentic fish stew served with aioli - succulent pieces of fish served in a tasty broth with little pieces of crusty bread topped with a rich garlic mayonnaise - try eating at the local fisherman's cafe rather than the tourist restaurants on the quay. It's cheaper, the taste is much more authentic and the locals are friendly and talkative - the portions are huge too!
Marseille fish quay
Google map: bit.ly/JvhIQ8
If you want to bask in the warm Mediterranean sea, but hate the crowds that fill much of France’s coastline, head to the vibrant, chilled out port of Marseille.
Get up early to soak up the sights and smells of the Vieux Port fish market. When the shouts of the fishermen trying to get rid of their sea urchins grows too much, take a navette (boat shuttle, €2.50 for a 40 minute journey) to Pointe Rouge, a sandy beach with great views across the harbour. Then take a stroll along the coastal path towards Callelongue, stopping off at whichever calanques (rocky coves) take your fancy, for a swim in the turquoise waters.
When you’re ready to head back to the bustle of the city, catch a number 20 bus to the end of the route and then switch to number 19. End the day with a bowl of bouillabaisse (Provençal fish stew) and a glass- or two- of pastis (anise-flavoured liqueur).
Bar on the first floor of the Belle Vue with a great view from the terrace if you can get a table there and tapas served with drinks.
Le Bistrot a Vin
Simple, good Provencal food paired with fantastic wine selections at a very reasonable price.
La Côte de Boeuf
Steakhouse with an amazing wine cellar.
For the best bouillabaisse in Marseille head to
34 quai du Port 13002 Marseille
+33 4 91 90 36 64
Bistrot a Vin
7 Rue Sainte, 13001 Marseilles, France
+33(0)4 91 54 02 20
La Cote de Boeuf
35 Cours Honoré d'Estienne d'Orves
13001 Marseilles, France
+33(0)4 91 33 00 25
6 Rue Catalans
13007 Marseilles, France
+33(0)4 91 52 64 22
An excellent seafood restaurant located just by the the Vieux port. We had salt baked turbot and king prawns. While portions weren't huge, the quality couldn't be faulted. Ideal for a well earned treat.
Le Fetiche Restaurant
38, rue Saint Saens
Angle Rue de la Paix
04 91 54 00 98
The most delicious bouillabaisse is served in this smart and charming restaurant overlooking a quaint harbour in the Vallon des Auffes. Take the Rue de Vallon west to the coast to enjoy. Finish with a stroll along the seaside looking out to the Chateau d'If.
140, Vallon des Auffes - 13007 MARSEILLE
Tél. 04 91 52 14 38 - Fax 04 91 52 14 16
Third-generation chocolate makers in Marseille. This family-run business produces chocolate made from unlikely ingredients such as onion and lavender, as well as pralines (well it is France!) and traditional barres Marseillaises (dark chocolate covered in fruit such as oranges).
A very small shop but apparently is world famous amongst chocolatiers. Well worth a visit. Black and white pictures of previous generations line the walls.
49 rue du Petit – Puits close to Rue du Panier.
Inside the beautiful Vieux Charite building is a small but fascinating archaeology museum with an excellent Egyptian collection and lots of pottery finds from around the Mediterranean.
Upstairs (separate entrance fee) there are collections of Mexican folk art and masks from Africa and the Pacific. When we visited on a Saturday in August the museum was virtually deserted.
In the courtyard there is an open air cafe which serves good salads and other lunchtime dishes at reasonable prices (although service is a bit hit and miss) - it's worth visiting for this alone if you are sightseeing in the Panier district.
2 rue de la Charite +33 4 91 14 58 80
Friendly restaurant near the old port with imaginative cooking. Three-course menu (27 euros in the evening) offers excellent value for money.
We like La Virgule so much we went there twice on a recent weekend break. Although located one street back from the waterfront it has a large outdoor seating area on a pedestrianised street with good views to Notre Dame de la Garde. Seems popular with locals. Open 7 days for lunch and dinner.
20, rue de la Loge, 2e arrondissement (Le Panier). Tel: +33 (0) 4 91 90 91 11
Restaurant in the centre of "Le Panier", the oldest quarter of Marseille.
Always packed, this is a restaurant without menus or, perhaps worryingly, fixed prices.
Expect delicious traditional food: lamb with rosemary, beef, squid, pizza au feu de bois and fresh fish.
For tourists, prices tend to come out at about €25 a head for two courses and wine.
The atmosphere is warm and noisy: go on a Saturday night for maximum fun.
43, Rue de Lorette , 13002 Marseille
Metro: Vieux Port
Tramway: Sadi Carnot
A square on top of a hill full of people, cafés, bookshops and a big fountain. Come here to get away from the crowds on the vieux port and see beautiful Marseille.
The atmosphere is relaxed: think Schanzenviertel, Hamburg or Prenzlauer Berg, Berlin in July/August.
Enjoy the view over the Cathedral of Notre Dame de la Garde at the end of 'Cours Ju' with a pression and some olives or browse the markets and boutiques during the day.
It's calm, yet cool, and a different side of Provence for those who want to experience the buzz in France's second city.
Metro: Notre Dame du Mont/Cours Julien.
This was an area of industrial wasteland with some falling down buildings that has been converted into one of the cultural and artistic centres of Marseille.
It hosts exhibitions, concerts, film projections, dance shows, theatre performances, lectures, debates, recording studios and a restaurant.
There is something interesting on pretty much every day and it's not usually that expensive.
41, rue jobin, 13003 Marseille.
This restaurant is really special. For 15 euros you are served a huge platter of assorted coquillages straight from the market stalls outside: oysters, mussels, crevettes, crab, langoustes and clams are all affordable for those on even the tightest budget.
The prices start from about 15 euros for a huge platter and go up according to the quantity of raw shellfish you feel like eating. For fans of coquillages this prize-winning restaurant is surely a must, but even for those Brits like me who are terrified of eating something so weird (let’s face it…), the lively atmosphere, the friendly staff and the sight of so many people enjoying delicious food is enough to make you try your first oyster.
It is child-friendly, unpretentious and welcoming, and the wine is good too. Forget Bouillabaisse unless you can get a real Marseillais to make it for you for a tenth of the price and go ‘Chez Toinou’. It is a Marseille institution.
3, cours Saint Louis - 13001 Marseille
La Caravelle bar is on the first floor of Hotel Belle Vue, and is probably the best place to enjoy a drink in Marseille. Not only does it have a wonderful atmosphere, but your drinks come with free tapas. From within the eclectically-decorated bar or from the beautiful terrace you have amazing views of the Vieux Port and the Basilique Notre Dame de la Garde.
34 quai du Port; tel: 04 91 90 36 64
Here's a photo I took of the outside:
Salt cod is one of the staples of the Mediterranean. It’s one of those dishes, no matter how many times it’s been tried, still seems to be bony and not worth the trouble. It’s everywhere in every Mediterranean port but it only seems to be the locals who buy it.
If any dish can be said to be typical of Provence, it has to be Bouillabaisse - and especially so of Marseilles. No two people will agree on what makes good Bouillabaisse, as fish vary so much along the coast. Ideally it is based on the bony rock fish, rascasse, along with whatever else is available.
Everything is cooked whole and simmered in a gigantic pot with potatoes until tender. The liquor is strained and served as a first course and the remaining chunks of fish and vegetables served as a stew. Now while our refined tastes might balk at eating heads, entrails, skin etc, be assured this is one of the top ten dishes in the world for taste.
This Italian restaurant serves fantastic pizzas and great entrecote steaks. Friendly service, with a family/local atmosphere.
Menus in English available.
5 av Prado, 13006 - Just by Place de Castellane;
The Shambhala is a tea room, but with an oriental/Indian feel. The entrance is a little shop, but go through to the back to get to the tea room (after you have taken off your shoes!). You sit on cushions at low down tables, and drink flavoured teas from all over the world - and no Coca Cola!
Very chilled and relaxed. There is also a restaurant upstairs.
40, Rue des 3 frères Barthélémy, 13006;
Tel: 04 91 47 68 03;
Metro: Notre Dame du Mont (Cours Julien)
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