Le Panier’s New Artsy Vibe

First image...
Marseille’s harbor.

Le Panier On Top

What’s old is new again in Mediterranean Marseille.

Share
Inside Cup of Tea.
Gelato options at Le Glacier du Roi.

By Carol Pucci
Photography by Krista Rossow
Originally appeared in Virtuoso Life magazine, January 2015.
 
A major facelift of the once gritty port town of Marseille has ignited the revitalization of Le Panier, the oldest part of the city, where new artists’ studios, galleries, and sun-splashed cafés now dot the hilltop neighborhood. Young entrepreneurs call this area the “Montmartre of Marseille,” comparing its steep streets and artsy vibe to the northern hilltop quarter of Paris. The shops of potters, painters, and soap sellers line narrow streets once filled with brothels. And La Vieille Charité crowns the transformation: Originally a poorhouse, it’s been restored 
as a museum set in a courtyard with a striking Italian baroque-style domed chapel.
 
Eat
Relax on cushioned 
sofas at Place Lorette, where owner Sarah
 Nawi riffs on family recipes
for traditional Moroccan tag
ines and couscous dishes. Mediterranean flavors come together in spiced dishes under the potted olive trees at Le Café des Épices. Have your navettes – traditional boat-shaped biscuits made with orange-flower water – and your ice cream too, with a scoop of “navettissimo” gelato at Le Glacier du Roi.
 
Drink
Join locals relaxing on the terrace at Bar des 13 Coins 45 rue Sainte-Françoise; with a Cagole beer, known for its label’s illustration
 of a woman in a tight red dress and matching lipstick. Sample an anise-flavored pastis aperitif on the square at Le Panier Gourmand near the Vieille Charité. For a proper English cuppa, settle in with a good book at Cup of Tea.
 
Shop
Visit ceramist Colette Ripley (1 rue Four du Chapitre; 33-6/6639-7221) for hand-glazed espresso and tea cups, Christophe Hernandez at Atelier Arterra (15 rue du Petit Puits; 33-4/9191-0331) for folk art miniatures called santons, and 72% Pétanque (10 rue de Petit Puits; 33-4/9191-1457) for rough-cut blocks of savon de Marseille, an olive oil soap crafted here since the Middle Ages.
 
Stay
Perched peacefully above the Vieux-Port, the 194-room InterContinental Marseille
 – Hotel Dieu is housed in a beautifully restored eighteenth-century building. Enjoy views of Notre-Dame de la Garde basilica from balcony rooms, and don’t miss Sunday brunch on the terrace.

If this article piqued your interest in traveling to France, then consider working with a travel advisor on a dream trip. To get started, simply click the button below.

Where To Next?

Supernatural Nature? Adventure Travel?
You probably haven't been to every country in the world. (Apologies if you have -- and kudos.) So what's next for 2015? Check out our handy guide.