Welcome to the Inflight Magazine of Brussels Airlines
The carnival comes to town this month with an extravagant procession winding its way through Marseille (9 April). Some 5,000 performers will kick off the summer season to the delight of thousands of spectators at various points around the city. Molly Simpson is our city guide
Marseille’s ancient port always has something going on. The annual marathon sprints into view on 17 April. Cheer on the competitors at one of the many cafés and restaurants nearby.
SLEEP The Grand Tonic (43 Quai des Belges, tel. (0)4 9155 6746, hotels-de- marseille.com, rooms from €295) is housed in a building that dates back to the early 1900s and offers impressive views over the port and Basilica. Rooms are tastefully furnished with a modern meets yesteryear feel. Make sure you opt for a room with a hydromassage tub.
EAT At Chez Madie Les Galinettes (138 Quai du Port, tel. (0)4 9190 4087) gastronomes can enjoy classic regional dishes, including bouillabaisse and Tian d’aubergine, overlooking the impressive Notre-Dame de la Garde cathedral. La Maison Blanche (43 Quai des Belges, tel. (0)4 9155 6746) serves up Mediterranean-meets-Pacific seafood concoctions of Provençale-style sushi and delicious skewered fish.
CULTURE Hop over to the Frioul archipelago (frioul-if-express.com) where the Château d’If is located. A former prison, it was the setting for Alexandre Dumas’ The Count of Monte Cristo. Trips cost €10–€15 and depart at various times daily. Back on dry land opera lovers can enjoy Don Giovanni (12- 24 April) in the majestic confines of the city’s Opera House (planet-opera.com).
SHOP Browse the daily market on the Quai des Belges then head to Le Marseillais (8 Quai Rive Neuve, tel. (0)4 9133 2210) to stock up on great gifts from sardines and oils to traditional wooden boats, and pétanque balls.
Home to Marseille’s hippest bars and clubs, the nearby streets offer a perfect example of its vibrant patchwork of cultures. The entire area also plays host to a gigantic flea market (10 April).
SHOP You name it, Oogie (55 Cours Julien, tel. (0)4 9153 1070) probably offers it. The ‘lifestore’ is home to a hair studio, restaurant, café, bookstore and clothing – the one-stop shop for the trendy young thing about town.
DRINK L’Equitable (54 Cours Julien, equitablecafe.org) is a café bar, epicerie fine and cultural centre with just about something for all tastes. Regular projections of short underground movies are shown in the adjoining room to an arty crowd.
LATER E-Wine (94 Cours Julien) is the very latest in wine bar concepts, offering sublime tipples from near and far that can be tasted accompanied by ambient sounds in lounge-like surroundings.
The narrow streets of Belsunce are home to the North African and Armenian population. With its daily markets, visitors can enjoy a colourful and pungent array of Asian and African herbs and spices.
EAT Sur le Pouce (2 Rue des Convalescents, tel. (0)4 9156 1328) serves up excellent spit-roasted lamb, couscous and great grilled seafood with friendly service. Dimitri (6 Rue Méolan, tel. (0)4 9154 0968) specialises in Russian and Hungarian dishes, including lobster fricassee, stroganoff and goulash, all of which can be washed down with a vodka from their impressive list.
SHOP Shoppers looking for quirky purchases should head to Capsule Store (32 Rue Sainte, tel. (0)4 8808 2488). Creative, practical and ecological, you’ll be sure to head home with something no one else will have.
Aéroport de Marseilles Provence is 20km northwest of the city centre.
Bus A shuttle bus connects the airport with the city centre every 20 minutes or so, and takes 25-30 minutes. Tickets cost €8.50.
Taxi A taxi to the centre of Marseille from the airport costs about €40 during the day and €50 at night. The journey takes around 30 minutes.
Tourist office The main office can be found at 4 La Canebière, close to the Vieux Port (tel. (0)4 9113 8900, www.marseille-tourisme.com).