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Feb 18, 2009 10:52 AM


We've finalized our arrangements for a home swap this summer, and now I'm starting to make plans. I'll be staying in Marseille for two weeks with my husband and three kids (ages 4, 6, 8). We're planning to do plenty of day trips in the area.

So looking for suggestions for all kinds of places in and around Marseille ... great boulangeries, patisseries, charcuteries, chocolatiers, bistros, brasseries, and of course, the best places for bouillabaisse!

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  1. Le Petit Nice, the three star in Marseille, has great bouillabaisse.

    1 Reply
    1. re: sethd

      It is not easy to find "traditional" bouillibasse even in Marseilles. One of the best restaurants there for this is the Michelin starred "l'epuisette which the late R. W. "Johnny" Apple raved about in the New York Times. Travel and Leisure also did a photo feature on it: On the Riviera itself there are several places that prepare the "traditional" dish but the few that do usually require a day or two days notice. I wrote this a year or so ago about the search for bouillibasse and what we found: L'Ane Rouge in Nice is another Michelin starred restaurant that you MUST request the bouillibasse several days in advance. This was an extraordinary dinner that is very difficult to find despite the many places that advertise something by the same name but, in fact, is totally different. Le Petit Nice, the three Michelin star mentioned above, notes that their version is a house specialty. This could be a truly special experience worth having. I have not experienced it but, in Marseilles, this could be my first choice.

      Still, the dinner at L'Ane Rouge was extraordinary...and a memory that I still have.

    2. Unusual--and, you'll see, very gratifying--choice to come to Marseille. There are so many out of the way places that are wonderful. Very busy right now, but I'll see if I can get back on the site in the next few days and give you a few ideas. What dates, by the way?

      1 Reply
      1. re: johnmarseille

        It's taken me awhile to get back to the site, too! Last three weeks of July.

      2. I really wanted to tell you about L'Escale, Route des Goudes, 13008 Marseille. When I was in Marseille In 2003, it was mainly known to locals because it was relatively far from the prime tourist areas. Unfortunately, when I just looked it up on the internet, the description said that in 2008 they modified the menu to make it less expensive, including no longer making bouillabaisse.

        1. May I suggest a very typical Marseille institution: Chez Brun on the Vieux Port. Little know except to the locals, but worth finding...

          1 Reply
          1. re: monchique

            Maurice Brun was one of Julia Child's favorite places in Marseilles. ;)

            1. re: purplescout

              Finally back on the site. Aside from the unforgettably wonderful Le Petit Nice, here are some far less expensive but really very good places: Le Café des Epices, just behind the Mairie--inventive, refined, and fun, only open at lunch, I think; Chez Dédé on the route towards Callelongue (the extension of the Corniche to the south)--feet in the water, simple, robust, fish, pizza, pure pleasure; le Ventre de l'Architect, in Le Cobusier's Cité Radieuse, imaginative, very good; Chez Vincent near the Opéra, the typical old Marseille place, best pizza in town, great; chez Toinou, rue de Rome and the Canebière, shellfish (even in July!), lively atmosphere; chez Jeannot, Vallon des Auffes, certainly honorable if not the best food in the world, but without doubt the best locaction, in this pocket-sized old fishing port , heaven on a long July evening with one or many glasses of rosé. Best places for a drink: La Caravalle, near the Maire on the Old Port, the Marseille cool down market place; going upmarket, a drink outside at the Palm Beach hotel on the Corniche can't be beat. Good luck for your visit.

              1. re: johnmarseille


                I had a good bouillaibaise many years ago at Chez Michel, back when it had a Michelin star and the Calypso was open across the road. What is it's current rep?


                1. re: johnmarseille

                  Wow, JOhn... milles mercis for the report!

                  1. re: johnmarseille

                    Merci beaucoup!! I can hardly wait to report back after we return at the end of July.