The allure of the Cote d’Azur can be found along Marseille’s vieux port and out within its crystal blue sea. In the morning, listen for the echoes of fishmongers and follow their voices out to the notorious Chateau d’If and far beyond past choppy waves to the white-cliffed Calanques. Listen and explore all that you can in a week or a simple Marseille day trip like ours and discover how connected the town and its history is to the sea.
The Chateau d’If has watched over Marseille since 1529. Though it protected both the town’s inhabitants and trade ports for many years, the fortress is most known for the setting of Alexandre Dumas’ 1844 classic, The Count of Monte Cristo. Inside the cells, you’ll find carvings from religious and political prisoners and from the top you’ll be treated to a magnificent view of Marseille.
Living by the sea for centuries, Marseille knows how to do seafood. Marseille even has its very own signature dish, Bouillabaisse. This fish stew is comprised of two parts, the first being the broth. The broth features a variety of fish (white fish, mussels, clams, squid) in a tomato saffron broth. The second part is made up of a plate with bread, cheese, and rouille (a mayonnaise-like sauce.) Combined it is perfection. We stopped in La Voile Marseillaise in the port for our meal. I was a little leary of ordering fish scrap soup, but wound up enjoying every spoonful and have since searched for the dish at every French restaurant back home.
Want to stay somewhere a little more quirky? Mama Shelter is the place. It’s creative, modern, and colorful all around. The ceilings are decorated with various chalk quotes, the bar’s adorned with pool inflatables, and our room had party masks waiting for us.
We stayed for breakfast where there was an assortment of baguettes, apples, watermelon, various sweet breads, croissants (plain and chocolate chip), eggs to hard boil, yogurt, and every kind of morning beverage you could imagine including a bowl of oranges and a juicer for you to prepare fresh squeezed jus d’orange.
+ Tip: We took a tray of food back to the room to prepare lunch for our afternoon boat ride and the next day’s train.
Take a boat out to the Calanques and witness why these cliffs draw people from all over.
The white craggy walls of the Calanques are a mesmerizing sight against the intense blue water of the French riviera. When we found our inlet, we donned our snorkel masks and jumped into the crystalline water. We raced one another out to a rock outcrop while small silver fish surrounded us. The Calanques from the boat or below the water are a must see!
Marseille invites the sea into each conversation of food, history, and landscape. If you connect to the sea’s story, you will find a deeper connection with Marseille.