9.30am // Coogee
Starting the day at Marseille’s best cafe
Starting the day with a good coffee and some breakfast always is a good idea. So let’s head over to Coogee, the best coffee bar in Marseille, and let’s do just that. Behind the counter are drawings of the most popular coffee-based drinks, so if you have problems deciding, consult these and see if anything piques your interest. The room is cozy with mismatched vintage furniture scattered around. And chances are you’ll encounter the owners’ German Sheaperd sleeping peacefully on his blanket under a table by the bar.
The team bakes fresh muffins every day and they are delicious (we tried caramel and banana), so have your pick to complete your breakfast order. During the lunch hours, Coogee serves great salads, so if you’re in Marseille for longer, make sure to try them out.
After breakfast, head outside, walk left along Boulevard Baille and then up Rue de Lodi, all the way towards Cours Julien. Turn right on the small Rue Fontange to reach your next destination.
Coogee // 100 Boulevard Baille // Mon-Fri 7am-7pm, Sat 10am-7pm // website
10.30am // Fietje
200 different beers on sale
At the corner end of the street lies Fietje, a specialty beer shop close to Cours Julien. We realize it’s way too early to drink, but Fietje doesn’t serve the drinks, it just sells them. You can find more than 200 different varieties of beverages here, mostly craft and specialty beers. The shop itself is modern and beautiful, so peek in even if you don’t want to bring a bottle as a souvenir.
The outside of the building boasts some amazing murals – a sure sign that we are close to Cours Julien. From here on, look out for lots of amazing street art.
Fietje // 2 Rue Fontange // Tue-Sat 10.30am-7pm // website
10.40am // Cours Julien
Street art as far as the eye can see
Time to explore the neighborhood. Cours Julien is the perfect place to get a sense of Marseille and its inhabitants. It’s a young, vibrant quarter full of bars and cafes, little shops and restaurants. People hang out in the sun on the big central square, children play football, and dogs are chasing through the streets.
France is known for its lively street art scene and Marseille is one of the capitals of this movement. Almost every store around Cours Julien has its name written in street art or graffiti instead of a regular old sign. Walk around the neighborhood and really take your time to walk through the small side streets. You’ll discover plenty of colorful corners, small shops and also lots of photo opportunities off the tourist path.
When you feel you’ve seen enough, walk towards the general direction of the water. If you’re close to the Metro station Notre Dame du Mont – Cours Julien, the best street to take is Rue Estelle. Time for some shopping!
11.30am // Allanjoseph
The best fashion boutique in Marseille
You’ve reached the inner city of Marseille, the main shopping area. On your walk towards Rue Sainte you’ll notice that we leave the high street behind and instead wander through some streets that have fancier stores, where it’s not so crowded.
For us, the Allanjoseph Store is the best fashion boutique in Marseille. Catering to both women and men, it stocks some big brand names as well as some newcomers. The spacious store with it’s sliding walls hiding the stock and the big changing rooms in the back look impressive, and the super nice staff will make you feel right at home.
Allenjoseph sells relaxed fashion, lots of denim and a fairly big selection of accessories like bags, sunglasses and jewelry. They also stock the great skincare products by Swedish eco-cosmetics brand L:A Bruket. Among the fashion brands on display are Kitsuné, Acne, carven and Levi’s.
After you’re done browsing, head out and walk down the street and around the corner to the next store on our list.
Allanjoseph store // 21 Rue Sainte // Mon-Sat 10am-7pm // website
11.45pm // La Maison Marseillaise
Homeware and accessories
Just a minutes’ walk from Allanjoseph lies this furniture and homeware store. La Maison Marseillaise sells everything you might need or want for your home, and while you probably don’t want to go furniture shopping while traveling, you can still find plenty of useful, pretty things here to take home with you. We loved all of their candles and pretty kitchen helpers.
Have a look around, and then let’s leave this area to travel a bit outside of the city center to catch up on some Marseillaise culture. But don’t worry, we’ll be back to explore the shopping district later in the day.
Walk down to the old harbour, where you will catch a first glimpse of the glorious Mediterranean sea. As hard as it is, as soon as you spot the ocean, you’ll already have to say goodbye and enter the subway station Vieux-Port – Hôtel de ville. But don’t fret: we’ll be back here soon to soak it all in. For now, take the M1 to Castellane and change into the red line, the M2. Get off after two stops at Rond-Point du Prado.
La Maison Marseillaise // 38 Rue Francis Davso // Mon-Sat 10am-7pm // website
12.30pm // Cité Radieuse
Le Corbusier’s world-famous housing unit
Hello // Salut
Thank you // Merci
Yes // Oui
No // Non
Maybe // Peut-être
DO & DONT'S
Do: Wear sunglasses! The city gets 300 days of sunshine per year.
Don't: Don’t insult Olympique Marseille. Football is serious business here.
Traditional Marseillaise soap.
French hip hop records.
A bottle of Pastis.
We are in the south of Marseille now, headed for the Cité Radieuse. But before we arrive, we have a short walk down the Boulevard Michelet ahead of us. This is a busy street with many lanes and tons of traffic, so not exactly a stroll to remember. But Marseille makes it up to you. On your way to our destination, you pass the Stade Vélodrome on your left, the impressive stadium that is home to the football club Olympique Marseille and the rugby team RC Toulon. It’s the largest football stadium in France that houses more than 67.000 spectators, and is truly spectacular to look at. As you pass it, make sure to have a good look. Then, you should be able to spot the Cité Radieuse on the other side of the street pretty soon.
Designed by the Swiss-French architect Charles-Édouard Jeanneret-Gris, who is much better known under the name Le Corbusier, this building is credited for being the first example of the Brutalist architecture style and philosophy. Looking at it, you quickly understand how they thought of the name of that building style… Le Corbusier built this housing development with the help of painter and architect Nadir Afonso between 1947 and 1952. It has many features that were revolutionary at that time and that are the reason that living in this monstrous building stays popular to this day.
The 337 apartments are laid out over twelve stories, with each apartment stretching from one side of the building to the other, occupying two levels and having a balcony. There are also many communal areas throughout the building, one story houses different shops, another one a hotel and restaurant. On the roof, you’ll find a paddling pool for the children of the occupants, a running track, a sun deck, an open-air stage and a children’s art school. Both the hotel floor with some shops and the roof are open to visitors. Before you go up, you’ll have to sign in with the concierge who is sitting in a booth opposite the elevators.
La Cité Radieuse // 280 Boulevard Michelet // website
12.40pm // MAMO
Art on the roof of the Cité Radieuse
From the top, you’ll have a marvelous view of the Mediterranean, the mountains surrounding Marseille and the whole city. Wander around to get the full picture, then head inside. Since 2013, the roof of the Cité Radieuse hosts MaMo (Marseille Modulor), an exhibition center that showcases the works of young and emerging artists.
The exhibitions here change regularly but are usually all worth the price of admission. If you are not sure what to expect, check online before you visit or take a peek inside through the glass.
Enjoy the exhibition and then make your way back to the city. Just walk back to the Metro and take the M2 for two stops until you are back at Castellane. Exit there, it’s finally time for lunch.
MaMo // Centre d’art de la Cité Radieuse // 280 Boulevard Michelet // Admission: 5 Euro // website