Four des Navettes
Four des Navettes. Photo: Marseille Office de Tourisme/ H.AUER

WHERE TO STAY

C2 Hôtel, 48 Rue Roux de Brignoles

Opened in late 2014 in an old Marseille mansion, this boutique hotel makes excellent use of original details for an elegant-chic mix of old and new. The rooms are all different, some loft-like with soaring ceilings, others streamlined yet cosy, especially in the top-floor addition. The small spa offers a pool, whirlpool and steam room.

Intercontinental Marseille Hôtel Dieu, 1 place Daviel, Tel: +33 4 13 42 42 42

A magnificent hillside setting in a gorgeous 17th-century hospital a few minutes walk from the old port, splendid views, two gourmet restaurants and a state-of-the-art spa, add up to Marseille’s most elegant lodging. Many rooms have private terraces big enough to throw a party and the rooftop bar is a fabulous place to sip a cocktail and watch the sun set.

Hôtel La Résidence, 18 quai du Port, Tel: +33 4 91 91 91 22

Set right on the old port in a less-than-lovely post-war building, this Marseille stalwart is hugely popular for its friendly atmosphere, lively Mondrianesque colour scheme and superb views over the old port from broad picture windows. Reasonable prices and adjoining suites make this a good family option.

Alex Hôtel, 13-15 place des Marseillaises, Tel: +33 4 13 24 13 24

Bright and spanking new, you’d never guess this budget hotel, just steps away from the Saint-Charles train station, wasn’t a boutique hotel. The sleekly decorated rooms are cosy and stylish and the common spaces and terrace make you feel perfectly at home.

Intercontinental Marseille Hôtel Dieu
Intercontinental Marseille Hôtel Dieu

WHERE TO EAT

AM par Alexandre Mazzia, 9 Rue François-Rocca, Tel: +33 4 91 24 83 63

Mazzia is the one of the most exciting chefs working in the city today, and his sleek, no-nonsense setting – with just 26 covers – is one of Marseille’s most sought-after reservations. A masterful mix of skill, innovation and beauty, each dish is an inspired work of art but without the stellar prices to match. Reserve well in advance for dinner.

Marché St. Victor, 33 rue d’Endoume, Tel: +33 6 20 59 24 49

After a shopping spree on the Rue Sainte, pop into this hip food hall for some authentic Mediterranean nibbles to stay or go. A chic place on weekdays to sip a juicy rosé with your tapas at happy hour.

La Boîte à Sardine, 2 boulevard de la Libération, Tel: +33 4 91 50 95 95

A quick metro ride from the Vieux Port lands you just across the street from this colourful neighbourhood fish joint. The catch of the day – displayed on ice outdoors – is so good all it needs is a squirt of lemon, or you can choose from a menu of Mediterranean classics with excellent local wines to match (don’t miss the shrimp or sea urchin beignets).

Alexandre Mazzia
portrait of Alexandre Mazzia. Photo: @AM

L’Épuisette, Vallon des Auffes, Tel: +33 4 91 52 17 82

Marseille may be the home of bouillabaisse, but not all bouillabaisses are created equal (though they are all pricey). Set in the picturesque Vallon des Auffes, where you can watch the fishing boats come in while enjoying the catch of the day, at L’Épuisette you can be confident you’re getting the real deal in an atmosphere that’s pure Marseille.

La Cantinetta, 24 cours Julien, Tel: +33 4 91 48 10 48

A huge outdoor terrace, a lively atmosphere and market-fresh Italian cuisine keep this eatery perpetually full. Copious dishes are served with a friendly running commentary in French or English and generous tips on the best natural wine pairings.

WHERE TO SHOP

Marianne Cat, 53 rue Grignan, Tel: +33 4 91 55 05 25

Marseille’s equivalent to a sophisticated Paris concept store, with an array of offbeat-chic designer clothes, including voluminous Italian cashmere-blend scarves, fabulous shoes and must-have accessories.

Les Voûtes, Quai de la Tourette

Across from MuCEM and Regards de Provence, this is a great place to take in extraordinary views of the harbour at a stylish café or the Les Halles gourmet food court before indulging in a little window shopping.

L'Escale Marine
L’Escale Marine. Photo: ©Lamy

Les Docks Village, 10 place de la Joliette, Tel: +33 4 91 90 04 69

In six enormous warehouses, each with a different design by a leading architect, you’ll find cafés galore and a huge array of one-of-a-kind boutiques carrying everything from vintage fashions to sporting goods.

Jardin Montgrand, 35 rue Montgrand, Tel: +33 9 51 28 48 19

The ever-changing array of super-chic clothes, jewellery, artisan perfumes and accessories at this glamorous concept store housed in an old mansion are all local. You can also take a break under the trees in the lovely terrace café.

Maison Empereur, 4 rue des Récolettes, Tel: +33 4 91 54 02 29

This 190-year-old Marseille institution is a veritable treasure trove for all those irresistible French linens, tableware and hardware you can’t live without. You’ll also find timeless French perfumes, scarves, espadrilles, classic toys, and the real Savon de Marseille. If you have time for only one store in Marseille, let this be the one.

Jogging boutique
Jogging boutique. Photo: @ Olivier Amsellem

Jogging, 103 rue Paradis, 13006, Tel: +33 4 91 81 44 94

Small but mighty, this choice selection of European designer clothes for men and women includes lingerie, shoes, hats, shades, plus art books, vintage items and Aesop skincare all handpicked by the fashion photographer owner. The tiny courtyard café is perfect for recharging your batteries.

Four des Navettes, 136 rue Sainte, Tel: +33 4 91 33 32 12

Marseille’s oldest bakery has been making the classic boat-shaped biscuits flavoured with orange-flower water (representing the oarless boat that brought Mary Magdalene from the promised land) for 232 years. A delicious selection of Provençal specialties all baked before your eyes.

Related article: The Renaissance of Marseille

From France Today magazine

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Jennifer Ladonne
American journalist Jennifer Ladonne, a Paris resident since 2004, writes regular features on French heritage, culture, travel, food & wine for France Today magazine, and is the restaurants and hotels reviewer for Fodor's Paris, France and Provence travel guides. Her articles have appeared in CNN Travel, AFAR, The Huffington Post, MSN and Business Insider.

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