Marseille, European Capital of Culture

Vieux Port and Fort St. Jean, Marseille

  Marseille is in the spotlight this year; the historic seaport on France's Mediterranean coast was chosen European Capital of Culture for 2013. A dazzling array of displays, performances, and exhibitions is underway and, happily for visitors who can't get there this year, much of it will spill into the future. The city, with government and EU assistance, has renovated museums, constructed ... Read Full Article

The Marvelous Soaps of Marseille (Savon de Marseille)

Savon de Marseille, sold at outdoor market stall

Soaps made in traditional fashion and within the city limits of Marseille, France, are the only ones allowed by French law to use the coveted name: Savon de Marseille. What makes this simple, mild soap so special? Why is it favored in exclusive boutiques and salons in the U.S. and Europe? Recently I went in search of the answer in Marseille itself. On La Canabiére, the city's main boulevard, La ... Read Full Article

Bouillabaisse in Marseille: The Real Thing

Le Miramar waterside restaurant, Marseille

Bouillabaisse is serious business in southern France, especially in the seaside town of Marseille . The delectable fish soup originated here, and every chef and fisherman claims to have the best recipe. The art of cooking bouillabaisse began on the Mediterranean coast centuries ago, probably by sailors thriftily turning unsold fish into a spicy stew. It soon became the signature dish for ... Read Full Article

Notre Dame de La Garde: Marseille’s Bonne Mer

Marseille Basilica

When in Marseille, you can’t miss her: Notre Dame de La Garde. Whether you are emerging from St. Charles train station, heading toward the Pharo beaches, or taking an evening stroll around the harbor, she is there. Notre-Dame de La Garde, the Roman-Byzantine Basilica built in 1854, watches incessantly over the city and its inhabitants. Located on the city’s highest hill, after which she is named, ... Read Full Article

Where to Stay in Marseille: Editor’s Picks

Pool at the Pullman Marseille Palm Beach

Check-out our picks for where to stay when in Marseille, France. Marseille is a big city (the second largest in France) with a big personality, so we recommend staying near the action-filled city center (Vieux-Port.) Marseille's Vieux-Port derives from its historic roots as a fishing village to what is now the largest commercial port on the Mediterrean. From here, you can take the Grand Tour of ... Read Full Article

Prowling Around Provence: Day-trips from Marseille


  It’s not happenstance that Marseille is an ideal base for exploring Provence. We love to take day-trips from Marseille because the Romans built roads from here in all directions, which the modern-day routes often follow. My husband and I have made use of these Roman routes many times as we explored the Provencal countryside. We’ve developed a system for our expeditions: we leave ... Read Full Article

Top Five Historic Sites in Marseille, France


  Be prepared to travel back in time as you visit these top five historic sites in Marseille, France. An established seaport, Marseille boasts a unique maritime history, dating back to the ancient Greeks and Romans. The city is committed to remembering and preserving its history through a variety of historic sites and museums. Le Musée des Docks Romains Located on the site of a former ... Read Full Article

Up Close Guide to Marseille

Swimming near Marseille

Marseille, the second most populated city in France after Paris, was founded in 600 BC by Greek sailors. They named it Massalia. Under Roman rule, Massalia became Marsala, which, eventually turned into Marseille. With such a rich legacy, it should not come as a surprise that Marseille has been elected the European Capital of Culture for the year 2013. The city and its inhabitants are preparing ... Read Full Article

Marvelous Marseille, France

Marseilles old port

When I was working as an English teacher at a lycée (high school) in Gassin, France, I frequently took day or weekend trips to nearby Marseille (Marseilles in English). What kept me coming back to this coastal city of industry was the laid-back “salt of the earth” quality of its over 1,605,000 inhabitants (Marseille is the third largest city in France after Paris and Lyon) and its eclectic array ... Read Full Article

Provence Weather, Wines and Culture

Tarascon Castle

Provence, in the south of France, is a fabulous place to visit to enjoy the  weather, the culture and, of course, the wine! Provence Weather and Le Mistral Even in December, the southern French region of Provence maintains lovely temperatures in the 50s and 60s. This is due in part to a cold, dry wind called “le Mistral.”  Le Mistral is the result of an atmospheric phenomenon that occurs ... Read Full Article