Marseille: 1 – 3 March 2011

Last week I decided to visit Marseille, and really didn’t know much about the city, other than it was a relatively big city in the south of France. The fact that it isn’t particularly a touristy town appealed to me, and I was keen to discover what it was all about. I left Marseille very happy with the visit, and would certainly recommend the city to anyone looking for a more ”real” experience that offers contrasts and something different than the typical touristic holiday in Southern France afforded by a city like say Nice (which coincidently I also like very much).

I stayed near Vieux Port, and was grateful to see some sun after 2 particularly grey weeks in London.

Every morning there is a fish market at the port, where all the fishers sell their catches from the morning.

The streets in the main shopping area of the city reminded me of photos of San Francisco with their peaks and troughs.

Cours Julien is a very cool part of the city. It’s very gritty and urban, and I loved it.

Heading up the major thoroughfare of La Canebière, and past the Eglise Saint-Vincent-de-Paul, is the Musée d’Histoire de Marseille, which is housed in a very cool building that offers amazing views of the city.

Just away from Vieux Port, in the 6th Arrondissement, are markets that have been set up amongst some of the small side streets that twist and turn around the entire city. Lots of immigrants from Northern Africa are here selling all kinds of products and delicacies from their homelands, along with plenty of fresh fruit, vegetables, meat and seafood. One second I was smelling seafood, the next it was Moroccan spices.

South of Vieux Port is, from what I could tell a different vibe from where I had explored the day before. I headed towards the Basilique Notre Dame de la Garde, which offers truly amazing panoramic views of the entire city and the ocean. Unfortunately the day was very overcast and misty.

After this, I headed down and along Rue Paradis which was clearly in more of a higher end area as was evident by the kinds of boutiques and wares on offer. I wandered off onto some side streets after a while and walked through and area with some big houses and the like, before coming out onto Avenue Du Prado.

It turns out that Avenue Du Prado is quite a long street, and I must have missed the portion which I assume must contain high end shopping given the nearby areas I had been walking through. When I reached the street, it was the final stretch before hitting the beach at Prado Plage. This section of the street is home to lots of offices of international companies, often housed in grand old mansions, with newer office developments also littered along the street.

I went for quite a long walk along the coast from Prado Plage to Le Pharo.

Le Pharo is home to Palais du Pharo, which was constructed in 1858 during Napoleon’s rule, and overlooks Vieux Port.

Paul founded The City Lane back in 2009 as a place to share photos of his travels around Europe with friends and family. The City Lane might have changed quite a lot since those early days but one thing that’s remained constant is Paul’s passion for food, travel and culture, and a desire to photograph and write about his experiences. Paul has a strong inquisitive nature that drives him to look beneath the surface in order to discover what really makes a city and its people tick, and what better way to do this than over a good meal or drink, with a city’s locals, at places that people who live in that city actually frequent. Paul is also a co-host of The Brunswick Beer Collective, a podcast that may or may not actually be about beer.


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