When it comes to France, my joy is sparked not by the grand avenues of Paris, dainty treats from the patisserie, or high fashion shopping, but from the rough and ready parts – bold flavours, cold seaside towns, grimy newsagents, supermarket shelves and farmers markets. My favourite French towns and cities will never make it into Vogue, but they provide the kind of experience I crave – real life, real people, real food. A few years ago, my husband and I visited Marseille, completely unaware of its seedy reputation, and discovered a beautiful, underappreciated gem of a city, complete with a rich tradition of gorgeous Provencial food and culture that I fell in love with. Continue reading
One of the specialties of the south of France is pastis, an aniseed liqueur which is usually diluted in chilled water and consumed as an aperitif. Pastis grew in popularity following the ban of absinthe and anise in 1915 – bartenders would concoct their own blends of a similarly tasting tipple and offer these illegal drinks under the bar to enthusiastic customers.
I had some incredible meals during my week long visit to Marseille, but let me tell you about the best one – Bouillabaisse at Chez FonFon. Continue reading
One of the jewels in Marseille’s crown is the brand new €191m museum, MuCEM, which sits on the seafront of the city, not far from the picturesque Vieux Port, which is the main hub of the old town. This beautiful building houses exhibits depicting the history of the city and the Mediterranean, cultural artifacts and the like, and is well worth a day of exploring. One of the highlights for me, though, was Gérald Passédat’s bistro, La Cuisine du Môle Passédat.
Gérald Passédat is a Michelin starred chef, whose menus are priced appropriately to his level of expertise. His main restaurant, Le Petit Nice, is located up the coast in Marseille and has been awarded three Michelin stars. If you don’t have the cash for €200 menus, though, you can still experience a little bit of his kitchen magic at an affordable price. €21.50, to be exact.
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This is the price for the cold buffet (and dessert!) at La Cuisine du Môle Passédat, which is located on the roof of MuCEM, and right next to La Table du Môle Passédat – another of Passédat’s pricier restaurants. The queues start early for La Cuisine, and once you’re inside it’s easy to see why. The complimentary loaf of bread is just the start of the delicious spread on offer.