After a long and different vacation
My stay in Marseille
Is coming to an end
Along with an important chapter in the
Story of my life
But on my last whole day in this city
I will not moralize, philosophize or any other ize
However, I do want to tell you something
Something about what I’d recommend you to do
And I need to say that
There are no priorities made in this list
Random order all the way
Let’s start off with a map. Much easier with a little visual aid:
Two Irish-style pubs – O’Malley’s Irish Pub and Little Temple Bar (10) – are to be found vis-à-vis each other. On the north side you should definitely try to get some bouillabaisse – you can’t leave Marseille without having tasted this wonderful dish! Also, moules frites is an obvious choice, along with couscous on La Kahena (7), a superb Tunisian restaurant serving classic north African food. Beware that bouillabaisse is mostly served for two, the prices mostly between €30-50.
From Vieux-Port you can also go to the isles of Frioul and If (9), the latter famous for being the inspiration for Alexandre Dumas’ well-known story «The count of Monte Cristo». More importantly, however, is that the lovely boat trip to La Calanques (10) starts from Vieux-Port. If going for this trip, you should definitely use – and bring along – sunscreen.
Vieux-Port is also the most natural place to start off if you want to visit typical tourist attractions like Notre-Dame de la Garde, Fort-Nicolas and Fort-Saint-Jean.
What I found being even better, actually quite mind-blowing, was the Musée d’Histoire de Marseille (4). Here you can see artifacts from 26 centuries, spanning over the entire history of Marseille. Including the excavations of the original city wall and port – in the middle of the city, just a minute’s walk from Vieux-Port. The museum and its impressive «historic garden» (with the old wall and port) is located at La Fayette, some large shopping mall in the area called Bourse.
Great part of the city. The oldest part. Narrow streets. Just the perfect temperature between the buildings which gives much needed shadow and cooling down in the summer heat. And also a lot of good places to eat.
Since Marseille has had a lot to do with Naples, they have also learned how to make pizza in the Italian way. If you go to Pizzaria Etienne (1), you will find such pizza. They have only three variations of two tastes and no vast menu of numerous pizzas. Either you get one with cheese, one with anchovies or half’n’half. Doesn’t matter which one you choose – it tastes great anyway. Easiest way to find this place, is by following Rue de la Republique along its westside with Vieux-Port in your back. Just before you come to the parking sign for the Phocėens parking, you will see an alley on your left-hand side, leading to some stairs. Walk up these stairs, and you will walk straight into the pizzaria on your left.
If you prefer pizza for lunch too, then I can gladly recommend Au Vieux Clocher (3). I had the Regina pizza, simply because I love mushrooms (champignon). The prices were pretty much between ten and fifteen euros, and they had quite some menu. Find this place by walking to the city hall with the port in your back and the hall on your left-hand side. Walk straight ahead until you reach the road again, then follow the street to the left. You just can’t miss it!
When you’ve enjoyed your lunch or just need a tasty way to cool down a bit, it’s time to go get some ice cream – homemade style! The place is Le Glacier du Roi. Prices for take-away from €2.50-7.50 depending on how many tastes you prefer. Add a few euros if you want to sit down. They also serve great smoothies! You get to this place by following the road further on from Au Vieux Clocher, keeping to your right-hand side. You get to an «agora» (at least in my mind I think used to be under the Greeks) and you find this nice place on a corner some 10-20 metres up Place de Lenche (where Rue Saint-Pons meets the street).
Unless you live in Vieux-Port, you should definitely get a travel card so that you can use Le Métro – an easy and fast of getting around. Two lines – red and blue. At stations Saint-Charles and Castellane, you can change between them. Easy system. You can choose between various travel cards; 48 hours, 72 hours and for a certain number of travels. I’ve been using the 72 hour-card every time I’ve been here, and its price is €10.50. In other words, quite reasonable.