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Marseille – France

BARS / CAFES / RESTAURANTS:

  • Cafe Populaire – Fantastic restaurant and bar along one of the streets in the main shopping area.  Tasty, fresh, original and very friendly service.  (110, rue Paradis, 13006 Marseille / t: +33 (4) 91 02 53 96.)
  • La Caravelle – A Marseille institution.  The views of the port and Notre-Dame de la Garde from the balcony of this slightly scruffy bar, full of character, are glorious.  Great for a quick drink after a day of shopping or before dinner.  (1st Floor, Hotel Belle-Vue, 34 Quai du Port, 13002 Marseille / t: +33 (4) 91 90 36 64.)
  • La Paricha – Great Argentine grill, simply decorated and loved by the bobo set.  (40, rue Caisserie, 13002 Marseille / t: +33 (4) 91 91 99 39.)
  • La Veille Pelle – This noisy Italian resto is another Marseille institution serving great pizzas ‘til late.  (39, Avanue de St Jean, 13002 Marseille / t: +33 (4) 91 90 62 00.)
  • Le Cafe des Epices – If you only go to one restaurant in Marseille, make sure it’s this one!  Just off the Vieux Port, down the steps from Le Panier, this little white-washed, contemporary gastro-bistrot is heaven on a plate.   Chef and owner, Arnaud de Grammont, personally greets each table individually, passionately describing every single dish.  The menu is concise, with only three options for each course and he’ll happily cater for vegetarians. 40 Euros for a set 3-course dinner.  (4, rue du Lacydon, 13002 Marseille / t: +33 (4) 91 91 22 69 / www.cafedesepices.com.)
  • Les Buvards – Wine bar with light bites and tasty dishes.  (34 Grand’Rue, 13002 Marseille / t: +33 (4) 91 90 69 98.)
  • L’Epuisette – Enviably and precariously located over the sea, this is one of the best formal-dining restaurants in Marseille.  (rue du Vallon des Auffes / t: +33 (4) 91 52 17 82 / www.l-epuisette.com.)
  • Peron – Recently awarded a Michelin star, this gastro restaurant is perched over the sea as you drive out along Corniche Kennedy.  Cool, with delicious food and fantastic views.  (56, Corniche Kennedy, 13007 Marseille / t: +33 (4) 91 52 15 22 / www.restaurant-peron.com.)
  • Victor Cafe – Within the New Hotel Marseille, this is a good option on a Monday night when most restos are closed or if you need to eat late.  (71, Boulevard Charles Livon, 13007 Marseille / t: +33 (4) 88 00 46 00 / www.victorcafemarseille.com.)

HOTELS:

  • Au Vieux Panier – Highly recommended: see separate write up.  Rooms from 85 Euros.  (13 rue du Panier, 13002 Marseille / t: +33 (4) 91 91 23 72 / jess@auvieuxpanier.com www.auvieuxpanier.com)
  • Casa Honore – Newly opened boutique maison d’hotes in the Victor quartier.  Stylishly decorated with pool and the possibility of parking.  Rooms from 150 Euros.  (123, rue Sainte, 13007 Marseille / t: +33 (4) 96 11 01 62 / www.casahonore.com.)
  • Le Petit Nice – The best and most glamorous hotel in Marseille.  A warren of rooms and suites, Le Petit Nice is located off Corniche Kennedy.  Pricey drinks.  (Anse de Maldorme, off Corniche Kennedy, 13007 Marseille / t: +33 (4) 91 59 25 92 / www.passedat.fr.)

LES CALANQUES:

  • Sormiou – Strictly speaking this calanque is only accessible on foot during peak season but if you book a table at the small restaurant, Lunch, and pass on your car registration number, you’ll be guaranteed one of the best beach drives on the south coast.  Sormiou feels wild, with a small sandy beach, clean turquoise waters and tranquil setting, it’s almost impossible to believe it’s only a 30-minute drive from crazy-busy Marseille.
  • Lunch – Simple, basic salads and fish dishes.  (Calanque de Sormiou, 13009 Marseille / t: +33 (4)  91 25 05 37.)

SHOPPING:

  • Compagnie de Provence – The best place to pick up bottles and blocks of local Savon de Marseille.  (18, rue Davso, 13001 Marseille / t: +33 (4) 91 33 03 17 / www.compagniedeprovence.com.)
  • Durance – Provence-produced candles, perfume, linens etc. (40, rue Francis Davso, 13001 Marseille / t : +33 (4) 91 33 52 47.)
  • La Maison Marseillaise – Great concept store in the main shopping area.  (38, rue Francis Davso, 13001 Marseille / t: +33 (4) 91 55 54 43.)
  • Sessun – Pretty, provence-inspired women’s clothing.  (6, rue Sainte, 13006 Marseille / t : +33 (4) 91 52  33 61  / www.sessun.com.)