Marseille, the land of the pretty skinny people and the epitome of tanning and chillaxing. I mean seriously, everywhere I looked there were exceptionally good looking and super thin people, of course with a cigarette in one hand and a cocktail in the other. Perhaps their beauty is due to their Parisienne lifestyle which includes waking up late, walking a lot and heading to the beach- something we easily adapted to. They have truly mastered the art of just hanging at one of their many beautiful beaches which flank the Corniche. Marseille also still houses a major port and has many immigrants from Italy (hence the many pizzerias), Greece and Africa, but mostly people who enjoy life and work a little here and there.
Where to stay- We stayed in an apartment along the corniche overlooking the ocean, truly the best spots to be close to the ocean. There actually weren’t many tourist around and the weather was perfection, if anything a little windy not allowing us to go boating. Most of their beaches are very rocky and although this doesn’t bother them one bit my poor feet could barely handle it. We found one beach that was sandy and full of locals, la Prophete. We were the only non locals from the USA which I secretly really appreciated. Everyone was ultra friendly always asking where we’re from and admiring my girls because they are so different compared to everyone else there. I’ve been to many European beaches but Marseille is the Mecca for topless sunbathing. Age & body shape do not matter when your only interest is getting the best tan possible. I remember watching a group of three older ladies who were having a fabulous time topless. They were then greeted by another older couple. They were clearly all friends but seemed totally unfazed by their nakedness. Non of the women tried to cover up in front of the other ladies husband, nor did the wife seem to care...part of their culture I guess ;) My girls were totally shocked at first but by the second time around they were totally desensitized and played until sunset like true Parrisiene’s .
For the most part our days consisted of waking up, eating and lounging at the beach. We did make it to Notre-dame which is beautiful and should be seen. Another must is Boulangerie Patisserie, a little pastry shop that has every imaginable french pasty. Their raspberry tart is to die for and somehow has the freshest raspberries I’ve ever tasted! They also have some savory items and I was super pleased one of them was octopus salad which Aisla and I loved! You also must try and find Emki Pops- I’m not crazy about ice cream or ice pops but these things were delicious. We found them while walking down the corniche by a private pool around Le Petit Nice. Le Petit Nice is a fancy restaurant with 3 michelin stars and a more modern take on the Bouillabaisse and one day I may take these girls but at 300e per plate I think I’ll wait.
We also ventured to a cute shopping area which I like to call the “fancy area”. Every city has them and I love to see them all!! They only had LV and Hermes as their major labels but had several other cute stores. We were super excited to see “Soldes” aka Sales signs on the store fronts hehhee. Traveling with three girls you know there’s always a shopping day or two... A few streets over, the atmosphere is a little different a different shopping area where the stores are not high end. I actually scored 3 dresses so it’s worth looking.
Marseille is located in an area where day trips to neighboring cities are possible, we were able to head to Cassis. Cassis, is a beautiful little town about 30 scenic minutes away from the city. It’s truly a must and actually next time I would rent a car and stay there a day or two. Their center has plenty of cute shops, tiny restaurants and cafes. There’s a main beach with rentable chairs and umbrellas but we ended up in another area where all the locals go. The Plage Bleue restaurant, which has a corniche and was the best meal we had in the area. Their menu consisted of fresh seafood including an amazing and yummy salmon & mango ceviche a tuna tartar and also some meat platters. The food and drinks come out super fast so you can head down to the beach (or hang at their tiny pool which the girls enjoyed) where you can watch cliff divers or dive yourself.
The Corniche in Marseille has lots of beautiful entrances to the ocean and rocks where people just hang out all day. If you ever visit you must try a delicious restaurant which my friend Axel, who grew up in Marseille, recommended. Le Chateau Simiou is a bit far from town and down the windy mountainous road to the Calanques. The ride seemed never ending (I was actually praying) and super whiny (about 5-10 min although it seemed like more) but eventually you reach the very bottom where there’s a few little houses, the restaurant and a Calanque. The restaurant is outdoors and oversees the ocean surrounded by rocky mountains and the views are everything! One caveat is that they only take euros! I totally forgot and realized it after our 20min uber ride. I only had 40e and they were actually very accommodating and served us beautiful delicious dishes. We were drooling over the fresh grilled fish and seafood platter at the table next to us. I wanted to go back just to try the food and to re experience the ambiance but I would only take that ride once ;)
There’s also another area in Marseille with a ferris wheel, little shops and cafes which seems more touristic (I’m pretty sure I saw American restaurants lining the streets) we actually didn’t make it there but saw from afar. You can definitely walk around Marseille or use Uber but they’re almost 3 times as much as I payed in Portugal. I never try the bus and metros simply bc of the girls but I’m sure it works well.
Marseille is the epitome of simplicity and appreciation of oneself. It’s close to Provence, wineries and the lavender fields. When in France this is definitely a must and trust me I will be back to explore this area some more.