he capital of southern France lived for many years on the sympathy aroused by its melodious accent and its celebrated fish soup, or bouillabaisse. Today it is art, culture and fine food that make it a must-go tourist centre. Discover this fast-changing city, from the Calanques to the Belle de Mai arts centre and from the Vieux Port to Estaque.
Its architect owners renovated this venerable townhouse in the centre of Marseille as as place for enjoyable living, exchange and sharing.The C2 combines 19th-century charm with contemporary furnishings. Food is served in the lounge and on the verdant terraces.
Unexpected. Guests have access to a private beach on Île Degaby in Marseille bay, 200m from the little harbour at Malmousque. A real treat.
20 chambres, spa, piscine.
48 rue Roux de Brignoles, 6e. Tél. 04 95 05 13 13
HÔTEL NHOW MARSEILLE
«Wow!» is the first response aroused by this Nhow concept hotel (NH hotel group). The design is boldly assertive, with a hundred or so metal sardines hanging from the restaurant ceiling, lights that change colour, and a pool that seems to flow into the sea. Discover this fast-changing city, from the Calanques to the Belle de Mai arts centre and from the Vieux Port to Estaque. Unexpected. Water from the health-giving Roucas Blanc spring flows in staged settings inside the hotel and feeds the pool at a temperature of 21°C all year round.
150 chambres, 14 suites, un spa et une piscine
200 corniche Président John Fitzgerald Kennedy, 7e. Tél. 04 91 16 19 00
The Sofitel stands like a giant lighthouse at the entrance to the Vieux Port, offering a unique panoramic view of the town and the bay. The Trois Forts restaurant makes the most of its position between sea and sky, and the breast of Bresse pigeon in pastry crust, cooked by the chef Dominique Frérard, is irresistible.. Unexpected. The lounge bar’s terrace offers unusual cocktails and a sweeping view all the way from the MuCem museum to Notre Dame de la Garde on her hilltop.
3 suites, 134 chambres, spa, piscine.
36 boulevard Charles Livon, 7e. - Tél. 04 91 15 59 00
LES BORDS DE MER
This Art Deco style hotel near the View Port and Cercle des Nageurs swimming club is the ideal base for exploring Marseille. The vibe is thoroughly maritime, with rooftop pool, rock-walled spa and rooms looking straight out to sea. Unexpected. The design of the building, stretched out along the shore, gives you the impression of being on a yacht.
17 chambres, 2 suites, un spa et 2 piscines.
52 Corniche Président John Fitzgerald Kennedy, 7e. Tél. 04 13 94 34 00
HÔTEL LE CORBUSIER
Uniquely, this hotel and its restaurant, Le Ventre de l’Architecte, are in a Unesco world heritage building. Using rooms that architect Le Corbusier intended as guest rooms for residents of his Cité Radieuse, the hotel owners have preserved he architect’s spirit right down to the decoration details. Unexpected. Like the residents, the hotel guests have access to the rooftop with its pool and unique view across Marseille.
20 chambres, 2 suites et une piscine. Cité Radieuse, 280 boulevard Michelet, 8e. Tél. 04 91 16 78 00
The setting is unique. Perched on its rock above the Corniche, facing out to the Îles du Frioul, this traditional hotel offers sea views and, for some rooms, big terraces as well. An invitation to let your mind float out into the blue distance. You can also enjoy the amazing colours of the sunset from the terrace. Great photo ops! Unexpected. The hotel’s bouillabaisse has been famous for three generations. Supping it on the terrace is almost a ritual.
13 chambres. 269 Corniche Président John Fitzgerald Kennedy, 7e. Tél. 04 91 52 01 77.
Cité Radieuse, 280 boulevard Michelet, 8e. Tél. 04 91 16 78 00
This culinary virtuoso serves up more than a meal. It’s an experience midway between demonstration and introspection that will leave its mark on you.
9 rue François Rocca, 8e. Tél. 04 91 24 83 63
It would be heresy to visit Marseille without seeing the calanques. La Grotte in the cove at Callelongue will fulfil all your dreams of delicious sea food in a lovely setting.
1 av. des Pebrons, 8e. Tél. 04 91 73 17 79
If further proof were needed that Marseille is a centre of world cultures, Shabu Shabu is it. Recently refurbished, but home to top-flight Japanese cuisine for 30 years.
30 rue de la Paix Marcel Paul, 1er - Tél. 04 91 54 15 00
The estate forms an 80ha natural amphitheatre. Marseille’s one and only winery, opposite the La Major cathedral, produces just 6000 bottles a year, for those in the know. These people really know how to make good wine.
42 rue de l’Évêché, 2e. Tél. 06 87 15 60 98
CHÂTEAU DES CREISSAUDS
A cocktail bar up in the trees, for an astonishing evening. Sip a Ferroni rum, made right here in the château, as herbal aromas waft up from the garden below
Aubagne. Tél. 04 91 24 88 91
A tour of Marseille’s last surviving pastis factory is a must. With or without alcohol, the tale of the firm’s anisette since 1884 will amaze you.
99 boulevard Jeanne d’Arc, 5e. Tél. 04 91 47 66 72
CASCADE DES AYGALADES
Astonishing. A 9m waterfall in the heart of France’s second-largest city. On the first Sunday of each month there’s a farmers’ market, a talk and a guided visit by La Cité des Arts de la Rue.
Among the housing estates of North Marseille stands southern France’s largest Buddhist place of worship, the Vietnamese Phap Hoa Tu pagoda. You can see the huge reclining Buddha and enjoy a vegetarian lunch on Sundays, by reservation.
LE CHÂTEAU DE FORBIN
Since 25 June Château de Forbin has been showing a rare and exclusive collection of American contemporary art, with works produced in the 1980s by two groups of New York artists: the founders of the Post-Graffiti movement and members of the East Village scene.