South of France: Marseille

We rented a car for the second leg of our journey, heading west toward Marseille with stops to Cannes and Aix-en-Provence along the way. The word “scenic” doesn’t even begin to describe the enchanting drive along the coast and through the Alps. I now agree with the rest of the world when I say that renting a car in the south of France is an absolute must.

Bonjour from our car rental!

Bonjour from our car rental!

Never have I ever seen so many black suits by the beach. Only in Cannes!

Never have I ever seen so many black suits by the beach. Only in Cannes!

Something just screams "glam" in Cannes...

Something just screams “glam” in Cannes…

Rustic beauty in Aix-en-Provence

Rustic beauty in Aix-en-Provence

Alas, we made it to Marseille after two hours of traffic. While planning this trip, everyone (at least the Parisians I had spoken to) told me to skip Marseille. I heard complaints of it being dirty, dangerous and ugly. Sadly, these rumors are partly true but we found two lights at the end of the tunnel: our hotel and good food.

If you stay a night in Marseille, you must stay at the Mama Shelter hotel. (You may remember my delicious meal at the Paris location, here.) It’s funky, upbeat charm and comfortable, clean rooms won us over and I must confess that we spent ample time cozied up in our beds watching free movies.

Our room at Mama Shelter

Our room at Mama Shelter

We ate well during out three-day stay in Marseille. First, thanks to our hotel, we got a table at La Tasca, a nearby Spanish tapas place. We made our way through the dark entrance and were seated outside in the magical covered garden. The sultry decor and romantic spread of candles created a ethereal ambiance that made me wish I was on a hot date. But let’s be real, it was better to share a million delicious small plates and house-made sangria with my girlfriends!

IMG_5132

Divine sangria

Divine sangria

Have you ever seen so much food?

Have you ever seen so much food?

With 20+ mile per hour winds howling through Marseille the next day, we desperately dodged the weather and popped into Le Goût des Choses for lunch. We didn’t even think twice when we discovered the steep 25-30 euro lunch formule on the menu. Instead, we decided to roll with it and splurge. My entrée + plat + dessert included a smoked salmon, toasted hazelnut and mascarpone remoulade appetizer, cabillaud (cod) in a bouillabaisse sauce with black rice and a nut cookie with crème Anglaise sauce, apple compote and salted caramel ice cream.  And I thought I was just going to have a sandwich for lunch…

Smoked salmon appetizer

Smoked salmon appetizer

Cabillaud

Cabillaud

Dessert

Dessert

Even though Marseille wasn’t that great, I’m glad that we could end our south of France trip with stylish relaxation and delectable meals. Stay tuned to learn more about our day trip to Cassis from Marseille, and the amazing (and scary) seafood that filled our plates.

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One thought on “South of France: Marseille

  1. Pingback: South of France: Cassis | pamplemousse

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