Hemlock ❤️s Adventure: Marseille

Fun to have and places to explore in Marseille, France

Mary Kate Hafner, Adventurer 

Why we went:

A few days after becoming a Great Resignation statistic, I hightailed it off to Europe for the first time with my boyfriend. He was joining me for the beginning of a two-month solo trip around the Mediterranean Sea. 
A close friend of my boyfriend’s relocated from the Midwest to the Southern French city and graciously invited us to visit. Marseille became my home base during my European adventure - bookends to my travels.
While France had not been at the top of our travel lists before the trip, I now dream of spending lifetimes in the country. 

Where to stay:

There are many wonderfully French and funky Airbnbs in the city, like this one, where you can stay in an art gallery for the night. 

Stay in or near Cours Julien, a vibrant square filled with art, restaurants, bars, cafes, and locals. One could easily spend an entire evening people-watching over several glasses of white wine before strolling home. 

Plus, there is an iconic photo-op in Cours Julien to help announce the wonderful place you’re experiencing to the world. 


Where to eat:

Every day in France, one must consume many foods and many sweets. It would be a shame to do anything differently. 

For pastries, you’ll win every time with Amandine. A big fan of locals, this patisserie will delight you daily with delectable bites. If you can believe it, there is a whole room dedicated to chocolate - the perfect souvenir to bring home for whoever is watching your cat.

Mariselle was once the most important trading center in the region, which has provided a wealth of influence from other countries, especially in North Africa, specifically Morocco. Not far from your Cours Julien accommodation, you will find a neighborhood full of Moroccan restaurants, food stalls, and spice markets. Grab a falafel and drool. 

At French restaurants, turn towards seafood. Specialties of Mariselle include fried sardines and fish soup.


What to do:

For the day you want to get out of the sun, the Mucem Museum is your spot. 

End your visit on the lovely, shaded rooftop cafe, sipping a latte and watching the sea crash onto the rocky shore. 

For the day you want to shop, Maison Empereur is a treat for your imagination. Primarily selling cleaning supplies on the ground floor, upstairs leads to a world of another time. Thoughtfully crafted classic French textiles, toys, beauty products, home decor, jewelry, apothecaries, aprons, homeware - the list can go on - can be found there. You can also purchase traditional Marseille soap or Savon de Marseille, another worthy souvenir, at the shop.

For the day you want to relax, visit a traditional hammam spa and bliss out.



Parque Nacional de Calanques, a national park offering marvelous swimming opportunities, is only a short bus ride away. There is the Mediterranean Sea you see in films and scrolling on your phone. Enjoy a day lounging on the smooth rocks snacking on bread and cheese between dips into the sea. 


The wrap-up:

While Marseille may not have the best rep in all of France, we found the city endlessly charming. Its people are friendly. Its food is heavenly. Its history is dynamic, and its culture is alive. 
A final suggestion - bring your favorite Hemlock bandana to tie around your neck and complete your French ensemble.


Photo dump: