Happy Friday loves!
If you weren’t aware – last week DCT and I took a little weekend getaway to Marseille in the South of France.
It’s a gorgeous little (but not that little as it’s the second largest city in France) port town that I totally fell in love with and will happily visit again in the future.
It reminded me a lot of San Francisco with all its hilly streets and bohemian atmosphere, but still very French.
I thought I’d share a little recap of our trip and a guide for what to eat, where to stay, and what to do should you ever find yourself in this beautiful Mediterranean city.
E A T
Dos Hermanas – for tapas, sangria, and a lively local atmosphere
Pepe – for classic French meat dishes and house wine in a cozy chic restaurant
Toinou – for fresh seafood platters that include oysters, crab, prawns, crayfish, and escargot
Sauveur – for classic Italian pizza in France
Pick up bread, cheese, and sliced meats from any neighborhood shop and have a picnic by the port or on the beach.
Nibble some calissons – this is a traditional French candy consisting of a smooth, pale yellow, homogenous paste (sounds delicious right?) of candied fruit, usually melons and oranges, and ground almonds topped with a thin layer of icing. The traditional flavor is almond, but they also come in chocolate, hazelnut, fig, pear, raspberry, lavender, and more! Visit Calissons du Roy Rene in Marseille – they make for great gifts to bring back home.
S T A Y
Airbnb – we stayed here and it was magical, though be warned it’s at the top of the building and there are no elevators, so be ready to climb several flights of stairs.
We were in the Notre Dame Du Mont area which turns out is the hipster art center of Marseille. There is a crazy beautiful amount of graffiti and street art throughout the entire neighborhood.
Even shops and restaurants incorporated some sort of street art into their storefronts. DCT and I felt like we weren’t cool enough to hang with the hipster crowd that dominated the area, but it is definitely a place to check out and have a glass of wine or two at one of the cafes.
Other areas to stay in
Le Panier – Or the Old Town of Marseille is an area known for its windy streets, hidden squares, boutique shops, and sunny cafes. We didn’t explore this area too much, but it’s super close to the Old Port making it an ideal area to stay in.
Old Port – Tourist hub of Marseille with several boutique, luxury, and even some budget hotels outlining the center.
Anse de Catalans – The beach! While I believe there are several beaches along the coast as you get out of the center of Marseille, Anse de Catalans is the closest. We didn’t get a chance to make it out there, but we’re totally planning another trip that’s strictly beach-related.
It’s starting to become a thing, whenever we go some place new we try and do a food tour. I find it’s a great way to learn about the history and culture of a place as well as figure out what to eat and where to look for it.
We went on a tour with Laurianne from Toctoc Marseille and had a great time wandering around the center of Marseille, even with the rain.
Visit the calanques
These are steep-walled inlets across the Mediterranean coast that are what exotic holiday Instagram dreams are made of.
Unfortunately DCT and I waited until the last minute to try and book a tour out to see them so we weren’t able to visit. But all the more reason to come back.
Visit Fort St. Jean
At the end of the Old Port sticking out into the sea is Fort St. Jean which has spectacular views of the port and sea (see photos below!). It’s free to walk through and connects you to the Museum of European and Mediterranean Civilisations, which is an architectural beauty unto itself.
Indulge in the cafe lifestyle
When in France, do as the French do. Spending an afternoon at a cafe is a true art form. Try grabbing a table near the front for some prime time people watching. Order un cafe ☕ or du vin 🍷 and watch the morning, afternoon, or evening go by.
Walk/Train/Bus to the Basilica Notre Dame
The highest point in Marseille is where the Basilica Notre Dame sits. You can take a touristy train or city bus to the top – OR you can be cool like DCT and I are, and walk all the way up.
I won’t sugar coat it – it’s a trek, the hills of Marseille are no joke. But walking there allowed us to stumble on gorgeous streets and parks we probably would’ve never seen had we jumped the train or bus.
So that, and the drop dead gorgeous views at the top made it worth the journey.
Other things try
-Beach it up
-Shop the markets and boutiques in Le Painer (and pick up a bar of the original Savon de Marseille soap while you’re at it)
-Bar hop in Notre Dame Du Mont
-Cruise the port
-Bike ride to the calanques
-Shop an iconic French Pharmacie for beauty products you can only find in France (note: be sure to buy travel size products or commit to checking your bag, otherwise you’ll end up like me having to give up products at security check 😭)
G O O D T O K N O W
Like most European cities, things tend to shut down on Sundays.
So if you’re only there for a weekend, make sure to do the majority of your shopping, touring, and eating around on Friday and Saturday. Because come Sunday, besides the more touristy areas, it becomes a bit of a ghost town.
Now that you know what to eat, where to stay, and what to do when in Marseille, check out some of my favorite snaps from our trip!
It really was a great little getaway and I can’t wait to go back!
Thanks for reading, commenting, and sharing this post!