Insider Guide to: Marseille

With so many beautiful French cities, it’s no surprise we’re heading back! This week Margaux shows us around Marseille.

Margaux, Location Scouting

I have lived in Marseille almost my entire life. Compared to Berlin, life stands still. You take your time and never in a hurry to get anywhere. The city is huge, but we have so many beautiful natural landscapes, from the sandy beaches of the Mediterranean, all the way up to the hills and mountains. There’s also a special wind we call ‘le mistral’ – I miss feeling it over my morning cup of coffee – and I miss the musical way we speak. 

Neighbourhoods

  • Panier is one of the oldest parts of the city. It’s also one of the most touristic, partly because the successful French series ‘Plus Belle La Vie’ which was set here, partly for its narrow and colorful streets, along which you can discover the typical buildings and monuments of Marseille. Go explore – or soak up the charm of a cafe or restaurant terrace.
  • The district of Endoume is one of the most beautiful in Marseille, combining the peace and quiet of village life with breathtaking views of the sea. You’ll find small fishing districts along the seafront. This is where the people of Marseilles love to come and spend time with family and friends.
  • With a historic abbey and view of the Old Port, St Victor is becoming more and more popular with tourists and locals alike. Its alleys are full of history, while new inhabitants are opening up boutiques and trendy bars and contributing to the new vibes.

Going out

  • For restaurants, Marseille spoils you. At the entrance of the Old Port, Rowing Club is one of the most romantic rooftops in the city, offering great contemporary cuisine. The more relaxed Le Cabanon de Paulette is a beach bar, where you almost have your feet in the sea! It’s fresh and local, with a friendly atmosphere and unpretentious, affordable seafood. As a bonus, the sunset view is absolutely stunning.
  • The Petit Pavillon de Marseille is a private beach bar and restaurant, but it feels like being aboard a boat. You can swim, eat, drink and dance here, all while looking out over the islands of Friuli.  20.000 lieues sous la bière is a trip into the aquatic world of Jules Verne. This Irish pub offers a wide choice of beers and raucous themed nights. It’s in the fishing village of Goude, to the south of Marseille, and at the edge of the stunning Calanques National Park.
  • Carry Nation Marseille is a cocktail bar inspired by American speakeasies of the 1920s. Hidden in the streets of Breteuil, the bar can be accessed by reservation only – you’ll need a code from the website to get in. But inside, extraordinary mixtures of exotic fruits and spices await!

Cafes

  • On the first floor of the Bellevue hotel, the Caravelle has been a hidden gem since the 1920s. The space is full of character, and a small balcony-terrace gives views of the Old Port and Notre Dame de la Garde as you sip your coffee or cocktail.
  • Lovers of tea should head to Teavora on Boulevard Longchamp, they offer a wide selection of tea from around the world. The decorations and atmosphere here offer an immersive experience, it’s a great spot to unwind or catch up with friends.

Things to do

  • Climb up to Notre Dame de la Garde (by foot or by funicular). On the highest natural point in Marseille, the basilica is nicknamed Bonne Mère (“Good Mother”) by locals and is full of ex-votos, expressing gratitude to the Virgin for everything from winning football matches to being saved from shipwrecks and storms.Chill during the sunset and take in a panoramic view of the city.
  • Go to Fort Saint Jean: built in 1660 by Sun King, Louis XIV to guard the Old Port – against locals as well as invaders! The cannons pointed inwards, towards the town, not outwards towards the sea. It was also used as a base by the infamous French Foreign Legion. Now integrated as part of the sparkling new Museum of European and Mediterranean Civilisations.
  • Visit Calanques of Marseille. Calanques National Park was established in 2012 to protect these unique landscapes, which combine turquoise blue waters with sheer limestone cliffs.

This historical building is multipurpose, central, and bursting with character.

A simple, practical meeting space in the train station: perfect if you are organising an event for travelers.

A red London bus? No, it hasn’t taken a wrong turn at Waterloo, this is a mobile space for meetings and corporate events. It offers changing views of the city and a unique way to transform the idea of meeting.