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May 2, 2013 09:35 AM

Marseille Trip Report (spelt correctly)

I hope the moderator can remove the mis-spelt one!

Hi Chowhounders, having browsed the boards before our recent trip to Marseille, thought I'd report back. Stayed for a week, had a great time, lovely city, and exciting this year with it being the City of Culture.

Staying a week in what is effectively out of season (end April) had one consequence - many of the recommended restaurants don't open Sunday-Tuesday, and in at least one case, Wednesday, evenings. Having a big meal for lunch gets in the way of hiking, biking, sightseeing so several of the places we wanted to go were not an option.

However, with that small negative, here are the positives:
La Caravelle - great breakfast, especially of you can snag one of the tables overlooking the harbour.
La Passarelle - seasonal food, menu devised based on what's good in the market (or their garden), and written out in an exercise book, and all delicious. My salad of stuffed courgette flowers and shaved root vegetables was wonderful. Very reasonably priced too. If we had a restaurant like this 5 minutes walk from home, I'd be there all the time.
Ambassade de Bretagne - yes, it may seem strange going to a Breton restaurant in the south of France, but this is a very good one, and open on Sunday evenings. Also, creperies have not yet got to London so it's good to get our fix. The pudding/dessert of a small piece of kouign amman (possibly my favourite thing ever!) and ice cream with coffee was just perfect.
Nul Part Allieurs - overlooking the front, nice pizzas, desserts and charming service
Sylvain Depuichaffray - one of those patisseries you want to wrap up and take home. Lovely croissants, sandwiches for picnics, and on our last day, we shared an exquisite millefeuille.

So these were the highlights. If you are going to Marseille, enjoy!

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  1. You should be ashamed of yourself. Nobody goes touring this time of year. Which is why May and October are my favorite months in Europe.

    Thanks for the report.

    1 Reply

      Personally I prefer to travel during the "off-season." Generally lower prices and less crowds.

      Thanks, Linda for your lovely report. That bakery sounds SO good.

    2. Thank you Londonlinda. We were in Marseille for one day only and went to La Passerelle based on your rec and thoroughly enjoyed the food and the funky vibe. The heirloom tomatoes, gazpacho and selection of brebis cheeses were perfectly and simply prepared. The fresh herbs, flowers and greens were superb.

      1 Reply
      1. re: tortoiseshell

        A pleasure! Glad you enjoyed it. We were planning our next holiday last night and one of said wistfully " it would be nice to find somewhere like La Passerelle".

      2. Thank you for the informative report on a city with underrated good eats.
        "Staying a week in what is effectively out of season (end April) had one consequence - many of the recommended restaurants don't open Sunday-Tuesday, and in at least one case, Wednesday, evenings. "
        It may not be because you went off-season. All the good restaurants in Paris and other big cities are closed for 2 days out of the week. Some even 3 days.
        Example: Ma Cuisine of Beanue. It is closed Saturday, Sunday and Wednesday. This is not just for April. It applies to all the months. Well, except August, when it is closed the entire month. And December, when it is closed half the month.
        This may be surprising to visitors, but that's the way it is. I personally respect this sense of priority.

        1 Reply
        1. re: Parigi

          Yes, we've encountered this in previous trips. A Monday evening in Dinan where at one point we thought we would not find dinner at all is etched on my memory (especially as Dinan is so delightful). But in this case, we were told that we were just too early in the season!

        2. For anyone else looking for a restaurant on SUN or MON, you might want to try the new Roy René in the new Terrasses du Port shopping center right on the Mediterranean. It might not sound appealing, but in fact it's on the top floor (along with about 3 other restaurants) on a big terrace that overlooks the sea (& l'Estaque) - with the outer barrier designed like a ship's railing (in case you want to pretend you're on a cruise ship). We only had oysters for our lunch, but they were all plump & delicious. (We chose 4 kinds out of the 7 offered on the mostly-shellfish menu.) It's open every day and the view is lovely....