Marseille? Who would want to visit this city? Crime, drugs, violence, the Mafia – the city’s reputation has been shrouded by for years. The 1970’s movie, The French Connection, focusing on the city’s thriving drug trade, didn’t help. But, much of the drug trade has moved on to Eastern Europe. And, fortunately policing and public security have improved.
My husband and I live in the Luberon hills, about 1 ½ hours north of Marseille. I’ve been to France’s second largest city numerous times and never encountered any problems. We’ve always enjoyed visiting this bustling, vibrant coastal city. And now – more than ever. The New York Times has rated Marseille second in its list of “46 places to visit in 2013.” Billions of Euros have been spent on innovative new construction, as well as renovating and repainting many of the old structures to ready Marseille for its honor as European Capital of Culture this year, when there is a wealth of activities on the agenda.
Soak in the city’s captivating seaside ambience at the Vieux Port, the old port which is the heart of this city that was founded by the Greeks six centuries before Christ. Every morning fishermen unload their catch at the tip of the port, the Quai des Belges, for the fish market where locals survey the specimens and tourists take photos. “Soles vivantes,” fish still flapping in a shallow pool of water, were a hot item recently, no doubt because it was the sole season as we later learned. The 17th century Hotel de Ville, the majestic, centuries-old home of the city government, is on the right side of the quay facing the water. MoreAdd to favorites