Le Vieux-Port (the Old Port) has always been the heart of Marseille, it’s the iconic gathering spot where les Marseillais come to celebrate a football victory (rarely) or march against the government (often). The good news is that it’s just been turned into a pedestrian-friendly, car free zone – with a series of parks, gardens and walking trails leading all the way to the Fort St Jean and the new MuCem Museum.
Just North of the Vieux-Port you can walk to Le Panier, the oldest neighborhood in Marseille, which used to act as a landing pad for freshly arrived migrants, from Corsicans to North Africans. Traditionally quite poor, it’s been featured extensively in local writer Jean Claude Izzo’s Marseille trilogy series as the childhood neighborhood of Fabio Montale, the anti-hero cop. It’s great to explore by foot, it feels like a small village with an atmospheric mix of narrow winding streets interconnected by steep steps, pleasant squares, secret gardens, washing hanging over head and impromptu graffiti art punctuated with enticing glimpses onto the blue waters of the Vieux-Port.
Rue du Panier