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.
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.
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!
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…
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.