Our arrival into Marseille was a bit stressful. Our only phone that had cell service and that was directing us into the city ran out of battery so we took the first exit and ended up in not the best neighborhood.
We ended up pulling over in order to locate the phone charger and ended up scratching the side bumper (that turned out to be an expensive mistake) but luckily Evan found the charger, we filled up on gas from a sketchy gas station, and we were on our way to our Airbnb.
I’m not gonna lie, I was a little concerned about the looks of our apartment from the outside but it turned out to be a super modern, clean space and was just right for one night (there was no wifi, so I don’t think I could handle more than one night). After unloading our bags, we headed downtown and had amazing seafood at
After unloading our bags, we headed downtown and had amazing seafood at Toinou. We then walked along the harbor, which was eerily empty, and continued to enjoy warmer weather than we’ve been used to.
The next morning, Evan had to work on a final paper so I took off on my own to see Marseille in the daylight before we hopped back into the car and continued our journey. In just a couple hours, I was quite proud of how much I was able to see and managed to walk almost eight miles!
Some of the highlights included going back to the harbor and seeing all the fishermen selling their catch, a walk through Le Panier – the oldest neighborhood in the city which is filled with cute boutiques and restaurants, and checking out Cure Gourmande – the most amazing sweets shop with some seriously incredible apple cinnamon cookies.
After spending more time than expected at Cure Gourmande (I was eating all the free samples trying to figure out how I’d possibly decide which ones to buy) I realized I was going to be late to drop off the keys with our Airbnb host. So, with a bag of cookies in one hand and a half-eaten beignet in the other, I hustled up the hill to our apartment.
I arrived at the front door short of breath, with sugar all over my face from taking bites of the beignet and our host probably thought I was insane. The beignet and cookies were definitely worth it, though. After dropping off our keys, we loaded back into the car and headed to Basque Country.
I have mixed feelings about Marseille. Despite my love of those apple cinnamon cookies, I was pretty decided that I had no desire to return to the city at first (the number of abandoned buildings that were completely falling apart and the large amounts of trash everywhere was alarming).
But looking back now, I would like to spend more time exploring Le Panier and would love to hike up to Notre Dame de la Gard. When it comes down to it, I simply don’t think that we visited at the right time and a visit in the summertime may just change my mind about France’s second largest city.