A city guide from the friends of 3fe for the friends of 3fe.
Meet Lizzie Parle, She is a baker who recently moved from London to Marseille. Here she shares some of the places she has recently explored and things she feels are important to note about Marseille! From Its wonderful restaurants to street markets she highlights the importance of the arts and community in the city and notes some amazing community-led restaurants and art organisations. Have a read of her tips and tricks to help you explore all this city has to offer!
Who are you, what do you do and what do you love about your city?
I’m Lizzie Parle, I’ve recently moved from London to Marseille and I make bread for a living.
Tell us about where you work?
I’m currently baking at a cute little bakery called Pétrin Couchette in the Noaille district of Marseille. It’s half coffee shop half bakery and if you come to the city it’s very likely you’ll pass by, it’s seems like everyone does at some point!
Pétrin Couchette - Instagram
Up to 5 places for Coffee that you can recommend
Deep is the original and number one spot I’d say. The coffee is more NYC style, as in quite a dark roast but it’s really consistent—always a vibe there. Coogee is a classic! Feels kinda bit like a late 2000s throwback but I’m never not pleased to stumble across it. La Tisserie—tiny roastery coffee spot. Nice ppl, good coffee, they sell brewing stuff too as well as coffee beans so that’s handy. That’s it so far, I haven’t been here long enough to hit up all the spots!
Deep/Coogee/La Tisserrie - Instagram
One place for Brunch
Café La Muse — the perfect balance of relaxed French bistro and hip hang-out spot. They have newspapers hanging up on those old-school wooden thingies which is always a big tick from me.
Café La Muse - Instagram
One Place for Lunch
La Coquille—it’s down by the old port in the more touristy area. You’re surrounded by fish restaurants that are mostly probably not great but this one is actually good. Nice wine, excellent seafood, it gets crazy busy the staff literally run. Thé moules frites are really delicious.
La Coquille - Instagram
A place for a casual snack/treat?
The stalls in the street below my apartment window on Rue Longues des Capucins are really good. I would come earlier in the day rather than later because the stuff is a bit fresher. The Fricassés are always a good shout and briks too. I like all of the stalls along there but I especially like the one that is mostly staffed by women bakers.
Place for casual dinner
Le Roi du Poulet au Feu de Bois— I stumbled upon this by chance looking for frites on a hangover and I noticed all the side dishes looked really good, especially the rice. I got chatting too the guy on the elaborate looking wood-fired rotisserie and the cuisine was Berbère Algerien. Needless to say when we went back for dinner it was so delicious, everything was top!
Place for fine dining dinner?
Regain—I don’t really do fine dining, so this is the closest I can get. Owned and run by a young couple, it’s delicious, inventive cooking.
Regain - Instagram
One place for Wine?
Le vin sur la main—really nice wine, and nice people!
Le vin sur la main - Instagram
One place for Beer?
Marseille is mostly a place for sh*tty beer. There is a strong artist community who prioritise cost over quality and I don’t blame them considering the cost of living crisis. It would be weird to go to Marseille without drinking a sh*tty beer in Cour Julien.
Which area to stay in?
In the summer I would stay over by Vallon Des Auffes for easy access to the sea. In the cooler months maybe staying around the Vieux Port is fun, it’s nice to stay central I think.
One Cultural Activity
Walking around the Fort Saint Jean and crossing the bridge over to the Mucem is not to be missed. It’s so beautiful and the museum itself is really cool. The permanent exhibition about mezze and Mediterranean food and farming is great.
One fitness activity?
Climb to the top of the hill where Notre Dame du Montes sits and look out across the city. You get a beautiful sea view and you’ll feel the climb in your legs for a couple of days
What are all the other places you wanted to mention above?
La Friche de Belle de Mai. It’s a really important arts/cultural centre right in one of the poorest suburbs of Europe. Poverty is a huge problem in Marseille and projects like La Friche are trying to build community arts spaces to reach those who might not normally have access to it. Just around the corner is the Cantine du Midi which is an inclusive eating space/community kitchen well worth checking out too. They are opening a bakery in the coming months called Cristico—should be interesting.
What's the one thing people need to know about your town/city before they arrive?
Marseille is a super cosmopolitan city and has been for centuries due to it being a port city and it’s very proud of this fact. Much of the language used to talk about the city by the rest of France is, in my opinion, entrenched in racist ideas about what it is to be French, eg when people often describe Marseille as ‘not really France’. And maybe it isn’t ‘really France’ if you have a narrow and rigid idea of what that is. But the France I want to live in is the one where I hear French spoken with lots of different accents and that’s the beauty of it.
What should people not do in your town/city that everyone always does?
Try not to get your stuff stolen while you’re swimming in the sea.
Best atmosphere in your city?
If it’s warm enough anywhere on the rocks by the sea to watch the sunset. VIBES
Best time of year to Visit? Spring or autumn is better really, it’s busy as hell in summer
The best view of your city?
From the gardens of the Palais du Pharo, you can see across the whole port.