Alexandre Mazzia’s AM
Alexandre is a modernist chef who I like so much, and his restaurant is value a connoisseur splash out, particularly at lunchtime (noon tasting menus from €39-92). He opened AM 4 years in the past and was awarded a Michelin star in 2016. A meal right here may be very a lot a shock: no written menu, simply tasting picks that may run to 10 servings, however really embrace 20-30 tiny dishes. Alexandre was born within the Congo, and incorporates stunning global components in his delicacies – tapioca from Africa, kumbawa fruits, satay and sake from Asia – but in addition the great fish and seafood we have within the Mediterranean.
Pizza at La Bonne Mère
Pizzeria La Bonne Mère
We’ve been enthusiastic about pizza right here ever because the 1950s, when the city corridor authorised pizza vans with wood-fired ovens – early road meals. There’s a pizzeria on each road nook, together with legendary addresses comparable to Chez Etienne and Chez Sauveur, recognized for the basic skinny, crispy tomate, anchois, olive. But I have not too long ago found La Bonne Mère, a tiny place behind Notre-Dame de la Charité. Young homeowners Jeremy and Mahéva are purists, serving a small however tasty choice (from €12). Pizzas made with natural flour and juicy buffalo mozzarella are cooked in a wood-fired oven. I like their speciality Bonne Mère with additional anchovies. Booking important.
Greengrocer close to the Marche des Capucins. Photograph: Atlantide Phototravel/Getty Images
Le Marché des Capucins, in a maze of slender streets, is the foodie coronary heart of Marseille. Tourists will discover recent, low cost fruit, greens and picnic provides. I have all the time found inspiration from its unique meals shops, comparable to Saladin, whose spice emporium is as nicely stocked as Marrakech’s souk. Up the road, take a look at Maison Empereur, a labyrinth courting from 1827, with each kitchen gadget below the solar. For lunch, strive a €6 plate of grilled sardines, Algerian salads and chorba soup on the street-corner Comptoir des Beaux Arts, or be a part of a extra stylish crowd at L’Epicerie l’Ideal, a brand new cafe-deli not too long ago opened by Julia Sammut, from France’s influential Le Fooding information.
Swim in a calanque
Calanque de Sugiton. Photograph: Alamy
It doesn’t take lengthy to get out of our metropolis to the calanques, wild, gorge-like creeks alongside the coast so far as Cassis. The nearest calanques, Sormiou and Callelongue, are half an hour away, with quiet seashores and nature trails. But I might advocate the much less accessible however spectacular Calanque de Sugiton. Take bus 21 to Marseille University’s Luminy campus for a dramatic and strenuous trek of over an hour. Even higher, take a ship tour that visits a number of calanques earlier than dropping anchor in Sugiton for a swim within the turquoise waters.
• Half-day journeys depart from the Vieux-Port (€32pp), visite-des-calanques.com
Patisserie and picnic
Pâtisserie Bricoleurs de Douceurs
Clément Higgins is a gifted younger baker who not too long ago opened Pâtisserie Bricoleurs de Douceurs, a contemporary bakery-boutique in an outdated storage south of the town. Don’t anticipate baguettes and sandwiches – Clément concentrates on candy stuff, producing simply seven enjoyable, ingenious pastries, tarts and gateaux every day, impressed by native seasonal fruits, with no colourants or preservatives. Don’t miss his praline Marseille-Brest, a up to date tackle the basic Paris-Brest choux creation, and the succulent Peach Me I’m Famous. There is a small salon de thé, however a greater plan, after shopping for a number of pastries (€5 every), is to stroll right down to the seafront, with its quite a few steps main down to very large rocks and tiny seashores … excellent for a picnic.
Funky meals kiosk
Fanny opened her eponymous snack bar within the historic Panier neighbourhood when she was 21. Everything is ready recent every morning, although she admits to being hopeless with recipes: “I can’t do the same dish two days running, as it always comes out different.” So sooner or later she would possibly prepare dinner a standard beef daube, the following a vegetarian tagine, then pasta with clams. She dubs the kiosk sandwicherie d’autrefois (old-style), so whereas burgers could be on the menu – you possibly can’t ignore what everybody desires to eat – she makes them her personal means, with, say, natural goat’s cheese or do-it-yourself tapenade. The plat du jour is €6, both on the counter or in a cardboard container.
Founded in 1815 L’Herboristerie du Père Blaize is a medicinal herbalist, and is an establishment, stocking over 1,000 dried herbs, crops, important oils and spices. When I used to be rising up, my schoolmates and I might get dragged to this unusual, fragrant apothecary by our grandmothers, who got here right here for magic potions to remedy each ailment below the solar. Ten years in the past, I noticed that individuals have been consuming much less alcohol, so I collaborated with Père Blaize to create a variety of “Herbes de Vifs” – a contemporary cocktail of infusions that may be drunk sizzling or chilled, neat, or blended with fruit or vegetable extracts.
And a number of months in the past, the Herboristerie itself opened its personal Tisanerie, the place you possibly can select and style your personal detox concoctions, below the steerage of Vincent Eliot, who was my barman.
Friche la Belle de Mai has been round a very long time now, nevertheless it nonetheless dominates Marseille’s different arts and tradition scene. Located in one of many metropolis’s poorest neighbourhoods, simply behind Saint-Charles practice station, this friche, an city regeneration challenge, sprawls over what was as soon as an unlimited cigarette manufacturing facility producing France’s emblematic Gitanes and Gauloises cigarettes. You can discover avant-garde artwork exhibitions right here, a Saturday morning farmers’ market, free out of doors cinema screenings, an enormous skateboard park and graffiti artists, and every thing from jazz to techno live shows. In summer time, the entire of the rooftop is opened up for performances, picnics and events.
They have a superb canteen, Les Grandes Tables, which hosts memorable one-off occasions – comparable to once we organised the primary Le Fooding extravaganza in Marseille, bringing collectively revolutionary cooks and regional farm producers.
The finest bars
Bar La Relève
The Endoume is probably the most attention-grabbing quarter in Marseille proper now, throwing off its outdated, sleazy popularity courting again to the times of The French Connection film. Although it has turn into one of many metropolis’s trendiest addresses, there’s nonetheless an actual neighbourhood environment, typified by the rebirth of the historic La Relève bar.
I bear in mind when this was an actual dive. Now there are craft beers and a number of natural and pure wines. The place involves life for early-evening apéro, packed out from 7pm with a enjoyable, younger crowd from everywhere in the metropolis. However, I might additionally nonetheless say that no customer to Marseille ought to miss the cafe terraces of Place de Lenche within the Panier quarter, the place Le Barjac serves mojitos and caipirinhas for €5, whereas a beneficiant shot of Ricard continues to be solely €2, with no additional cost for sitting exterior.
Marseille now has a superb number of world-class museums, from the avant-garde Mucem toLa Vieille Charité, housed in a former 17th-century almshouse But that is the brand new, trendy Marseille; once I was rising up, just about the one museum children have been taken to was Cantini, proper within the metropolis centre. It impressed me enormously on the time: an immense mansion initially constructed because the headquarters of an African buying and selling company, with a exceptional assortment of 20th-century artwork, together with works by Max Ernst and Miró, Picasso, Matisse, Balthus and Francis Bacon. Now I recommend associates go to it as someplace below the radar, away from the crowds, the place you possibly can stand in entrance of a canvas with out being surrounded by a scrum of individuals.
Gérald Passedat, chef at Le Petit Nice, was interviewed by John Brunton
EasyJet and Ryanair fly to Marseille from a number of UK airports; Eurostar practice travel by way of Paris prices from £68 one-way.
Where to remain
Two trendy however reasonably priced B&Bs close to the practice station are Casa Ortega (doubles from €90 B&B) and Pension Edelweiss (doubles from €85 B&B).
The conventional Foire aux Santons (santons are the terrracotta collectible figurines utilized in Provençal crib scenes) runs from 18 Nov-31 December at Marseille’s Vieux Port.