As every first weekend of March it is a girl getaway for the Fashion Travel Bloggers, our time to gossip and share some days together and catch up while we discover a new place. This time was Marseille in Provence and Aix-en-Provence turn, I haven’t heard nor good nor bad feedback on these destinations before going and I wanted to be a true first impression.
We went by train from Barcelona-Marseille all straight on Friday night, the journey is around 4 hours and what I liked the most about going by train is that it is very convenient to bring things back in your luggage and you have no liquid restrictions. If I can go by train and the distance is not too long it is my first choice, being comfortable in your seat and they take you to your destination with no worries in between and no need to be in the station long in advance.
It was my first time in first class, very comfortable with plugs in every seat -something we digital freaks always require-. I have so many devices on me that I need two things, a plug and wifi. Unfortunately, wifi didn’t get into trains yet or at least the ones we have in Spain but it will probably be the next step.
We arrived in Marseille on Friday night at dinner time, very hungry after the trip. We were sleeping in front of the harbor, in a hotel called Hotel Résidence Marseille Vieux Port so we could see the sea and the boats when we woke up every morning along with a white Ferries wheel that they light up at night.
The hotel Résidence Marseille Vieux Port is designed with colorful furniture and painted walls with leaves and other natural decorations. The bed was very comfortable and we had an incredible view from the terrace. I was surprised by the quality of the breakfast, french cheeses, eggs and warm food such as bacon and sausages, salmon, fruits, yogurt etc…My personal choice the cheeses as I love it and it is always good to try something typical from the place you are visiting. On the first day we arrived at night and we had dinner in the restaurant at the hotel and it was delicious, we had an onion tart and rillettes and as a main white fish with veggies and a tasty strawberry cheese cake.
Our route in Marseille was very nice, we started walking along the port and our first stop was into a soap shop where they produce Marseille soap, one of the star products in town and very famous all over the world.
The Marseille soap is done with olive oil and bicarbonate and both together they generate the saponification effect that creates in a few days what we know as soap. There are two kinds of Marseille soap, the green one used as body wash and the white is used to wash clothes. We learned many things about soap and one of the things that surprised me is that the oldest the soap is the better as with time the soap has less water in it and it solidifies a lot more than in the first years. We even saw some samples in the shop of a Marseille soap that was 40 years old and they had it exposed in the counter.
As in any girls trip, shopping is always in the agenda and we could not miss the newly opened shopping center in Marseille called Les Docks, a refurbished building that used to be part of the dock and now hosts designer shops, clothes, furniture etc… There are dining options as well and even a market with different stalls where you can buy meat, cheese, olives etc…
We also visited the shopping centre, Les Terrasses du port, it has different storeys and the higher you go the more expensive the shops are. They also have in the terrace dining options and in a sunny day the perfect spot to go for a drink.
We had lunch at a restaurant called l’Embarcadère, and we tried some local delicatessen, we were recommended meat and we choose the menu du jour -the daily menu- a veggie soup and a meat stew with veggies and to finish up a tiramisú.
In the afternoon right after our lunch we met with our guide Natalie and we visited the MuceM, a museum of Mediterranean cultures that is located by the sea side, I was impressed with the façade and the designed structure on the outside that covers the building like a black net that allows you to see the outside through its open spaces. From there you can see the lighthouse and the little islands that are in front of the city of Marseille, as well as magnificent views of the mountains that surround the area.
We entered Marseille’s cathedral, it was a pity though that the façade is being restored so there were some parts covered but even with that you can observe the beauty of it on the outside. We wanted to take the chance that we were on Marseille to see the building made entirely by le Corbusier architect, he built a full complex containing a building with houses with a bakery, a restaurant, a hotel and even restaurant. His idea was to built a complex with all your needs on it, there is even a floor that has different shops and there used to be a kinder garden. Unfortunately we were not able to visit a sample appartment but we saw the building on the outside and the terrace and different floors.
We visited a neighborhood called the Panier, that has recently been face washed and ateliers and new artisan shops have appeared, giving the area a new trendy atmosphere but keeping this disorganized appearance as well, you can see old buildings, clothes getting dried hanging from the balconies etc…
The french have dinner pretty early for us with stomachs with Spanish time but we got used to that and we were having dinner at 8pm at L’epicerie in Marché Saint Victor. It seems to be a trendy place where people on their 30s go to have dinner with their friends at the weekend, it is an epicérie, which is a cured meat and cheese store. The market divides into different counters that offer a wide variety of dishes, from french cheeses, oysters, fries, pizzas, tapas kind of dishes such as fried chicken, olives, zucchini puffs etc…
Marseille located in Provence area is the perfect destination for a weekend out, we ate very well everywhere we went and got a taste of the south french vibe. Totally recommend for a short getaway, either with friend, family or your partner.
Disclaimer: This trip has been possible thanks to Atout france and Tryptic communication. As always the opinion is my own.