The Can of Beer
Or 'La Canebiere' as it's known. It is the Main Street Marseille, and leads you downhill to the Old Port. It is kinda grubby, but the shops are here. This is where the heart of the city beats, and is lit up extraordianarily at christmas, resplendant with epilepsy-unfriendly lighting.
Musée de la Faïence
The ýMusee de la Faienceý contains one of the largest collections of porcelain both in France and in Europe. The earliest exhibits date back to the Neolithic times, and the most modern are, well, from the 21st century. Wider time span, anyone??? By far the largest part of the collection are the delicate and lushly decorated ceramics that graced the tables of local landowners during the 18th and 19th centuries. The museum is about 3 miles south of the center of Marseille, in Château Pastré, that was built by a local ship owner in 1864 after the manner of great manor houses of noblemen. Adults pay 2 Euros; children aged 11-18 and students - 1 Euro to enter. Children younger that 11 can come in for free.
Try the Bouillabaisse
Every little restaurants in the port compete for the best Bouillabaisse, don't miss it! It a full meal that taste so much better than it sounds! It supposed to come from left overs from the morning fishing a mother would put together to feed her familly. It evolved into a gargantuesque soup of fishes and seafood, veggies, spices and side dishes of cheese, toasted bread and rouille (garlic mayonaise). Incredibly good. So good I had to buy a book late so I could try the recipe at home and bring back this Marseille flavour with me!
The price is a bit high, specially if your lunching on it. But it's going to be worth every penny!
Fishing- large mullet
For all those sport fishing aficionados, they don't come much better, pound-for-pound on light tackle, than the thicklip grey mullet, or "muge" as it is known locally. Now, Marseilles Vieux Port and Frioul harbour used to have a resident head of mullet, but over the last 10 years they seem to have disappeared.. but fear not, dear angler, all is not lost. Along the coast at a town called Istres are two disused reservoirs which both hold a head of very large landlocked grey mullet. The two reservoirs are known as L'Etang de Berre, and L'Etang de l'Olivier. I would not recommend fishing L'Etang de Berre if you have limited time. This reservoir is so big that you could spend a month fishing here and not see one mullet. However, L'Etang de l'Olivier is much smaller, and you have a chance of connecting with one of these stupendous fish if you start off in the area known as "Jardin de M.Paume", which is an area of the bank which has been landscaped and laid to lawn. It's very easy to find, once you locate the reservoir. Place yourself on the lawned area, catapult out a few freebie floating crusts, and you may immediately be lucky and see some action. I would recommend a 13 foot float rod set up, 8 pound line, and a controller float with a piece of crust as bait. These fish run large, up to even 5 kilos if you're lucky, so make sure your tackle is in good order. If you connect with one of these fish, your tackle and playing skills will be stretched to the limit, so be warned. One important note: as a committed "catch and release" angler, I implore you to please put any fish back alive. Do NOT kill these fish. A mullet is very slow-growing. Even a 5 pounder (2.5 kilos approximately) can take up to 15 years to reach that size.. so any fish removed from either of these reservoirs will take years to be replaced, and that is even if they reproduce here, which is not known, but doubtful. Enjoy your fishing.
Marseille's largest cathedral
Cathedrale de la Major is one of Europe's largest cathedrals built in the 19th century. Its exterior has the feel of both Romanesque and Byzantine churches. The cathedral is built right next to its 12th century Romanesque predecessor, almost swallowing it up.
We snapped this photo of the cathedral from Parc du Pharo...the photo also shows Fort St. Jean, guarding the other side of the entrance to Vieux-Port.