A Travellerspoint blog


The Charming Marseille

The golden points of Marseille really shone through.

Marseille is yet another one of those places that's reputation isn't that grand. It's a port town that is renowned as a melting pot of ethnicities and unfortunately has a high unemployment rate. This means high crime and poverty to the point of huge amount of homelessness are key issues of this interesting city.
We arrived at our accommodation, another AirBnB room to meet our lovely hosts. There apartment was unique and charming due to it's age and our hosts stunning collectables scattered throughout the apartment. I loved it's quirkiness and you couldn't beat the amazing view.


We headed off to begin exploring this amazing place. As always it started with food. At our hosts recommendation we were at La Goulette, a Moroccan kitchen whose couscous is meant to be fairly legendary. I was not disappointed. A MASSIVE bowl of steaming couscous with veggies and meat kofte was served up with a large side bowl full of broth to be ladled over the couscous creation. The kofte were flavoursome and not to dry. The huge chunks of veggies, harissa and couscous were rustic,and heavenly.


Lewis opted for a grill with a skewer, sausage, chop and kofte and a side of salad and fries. He seemed fairly happy too.
Full to the brim we headed to the old town. It was a maze looking through the thin alleys and streets. We passed an amazing art area, there were murals, garden areas, knitting areas along the way. It was a interesting and creative area.


We headed to a famous old shelter before finding one of the cities cathedral. The cathedral was magnificent and appeared to have a slight Moorish influence. The dramatic outside was a stark comparison to the rather sombre inside. We saw the new port area which was made when Marseille was made the city of culture. We of course explored Fort St. Jean. It had amazing views of the river mouth and the city. Our last stop for the day was Notre Dame du Gard-the massive basilica the looks over and is thought to guard the city. The views were spectacular. We had panoramic 360 views of the city and sea. The chateau d' If could be seen as you looked out to sea.


The church was also spectacular inside and out. It again had a Moorish influence and had marine symbols everywhere. The inside was painted amazingly. The city deserved to be proud of this basilica. It is a masterpiece and the little details helped make this place special. Another favourite part of the interior was the model boats and plane hanging from the ceiling. The added to the port them that is prominent in the city. Our host explained the church is used by everyone in Marseille, no matter what religion. It is considered very important by everyone in Marseille. Everyone uses this as the place to pray at times of need, especially for the safe returns of loved ones while they are out at sea. The place felt more than a place of religion when we visited and this was confirmed with my discussions with our host when we arrived home.
We stayed up the hill for hours, sitting and watching the sunset. It was another memorable thought-provoking time.


That evening it was off to the local cafe for pumpkin soup; beef with blue sauce and mash and citrus pudding for desert. It was delicious once again
It was more exploring the next day; we explored the amazing street art near our house and ventured to the other side of the harbour. We went to an the old Abbey that looked like a castle from the outside. The inside was damp and very simple but it also had an amazingly serine feeling to it.


We headed to an old bakery famous for its cookies right next to the abbey. The cookies were full of spice and aniseed. The aniseed meant I wasn't game to waste money of trying them.
We went to another restaurant recommended to us again by our host and were lucky to get seats looking straight into the kitchen. We watched the two chefs seamlessly move around the tiny kitchen like dancers as they cooked ours and the other patrons lunch. We had ravioli with greens and mushroom puree. and marinated pork with faro risotto and hazelnuts. It was spectacular and tasty. The biscuit, lemon filling, with almond ice cream and minute meringue and a side of honey cream topped off the spectacular meal. Everything was heavenly and the experience was even more amazing as we got to watch our food being cooked before our eyes.


We spent our final evening eating more couscous knowing that I will miss it's simple deliciousness. ( I am dreaming of going to Morocco to eat the real thing).
Sadly we ran out of time to do half the things we wanted to in Marseille, yet alone the surrounding area.
We missed the Calanques, Provence and Arles and I personally can't await to go back and explore further this amazing yet under valued area. I found Marseille to have creative pockets and have a lot of character and charm. The charm and character were what made this place amazing and different and why we both loved our time here exploring.
I also can't wait to stay with our lovely hosts again for apparently even better couscous and restaurant recommendations.


Posted by chellebelle 08:22 Archived in France Tagged food church town old maritime creative character charm stunning airbnb couscous Comments (0)

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