This article was written by Grown-up Travel Guide contributor Jeanette Kramer who very kindly travelled to Marseille to represent Grown-up Travel Guide
Continuing our mission to inspire and inform Grown-up Travellers we present the latest in our series of articles containing ideas for alternative things to do and see in well-known destinations. We started by sharing our tips on London, Stockholm, Copenhagen and Berlin. Next came Oslo, Paris, Amsterdam, Chicago and Istanbul. We then focused on Australia – you can check out these guides to Perth, Melbourne and Sydney - before coming back to Europe with Belfast and Levi in Finland. We even showed you another side of cocky old Dubai.
Well, this time we received an invitation to check out the European City of Culture 2013, Marseille-Provence.
I should imagine you found that hard to turn down, too..
Actually I had to. But those awfully nice people over at the French tourism offices really wanted our readers to hear about their city, so we came to an arrangement.
A private jet to whisk you to the south of France?
I think you overestimate my prowess a touch. No, we just had to find a willing representative to take the trip for us. So a big cheer for Jeanette Kramer who chose to accept this mission (although I suspect it wasn’t an impossible one…
5 things you didn’t know you wanted to do in Marseille *
* that was Jeanette’s title. Neat, huh?
Marseille-Provence is the European Capital of Culture for 2013 and this honour has helped the region lay the ground work for a future as a cultural and tourism capital, inviting people from around the world to experience the lively, artistic and creative ways of the region. Marseille-Provence offers more to see, taste, do and enjoy than anyone can imagine. With so much to choose from, here are our top 5 things to do in Provence.
Savour traditional French fish soup in Marseille (Bouillabaisse du Miramar)
Made with 6 different types of local fish, mineral water, saffron, fennel and a host of other ingredients, this is a rich, layered soup that can be best enjoyed at Restaurant Miramar on the Vieux Port de Marseille. (http://bouillabaisse.com)
Take in the art at La Friche la Belle de Mai in Marseille
First of all in case you were wondering, that rather long name actually means The Fallow or The Wasteland in English. However this is certainly no dead zone. La Friche, a former tabacco factory turned cultural complex, offers a varied and ever-changing collection of modern art exhibitions, photography, sculpture, cuisine and artist studios.
It is a place of spectacle and broadcasting, with numerous theatres and halls for events and festivals. La Friche also includes a restaurant, playground, community garden, skatepark and a large public terrace and is as edgy and modern as art gets in the south of France. (http://www.lafriche.org/)
Visit the Savonnerie Marius Fabre in Salon-de-Provence (traditional Marseille soap factory)
Uncover the story and the unique expertise that comes from a family history of soap-making in Salon-de-Provence. Using traditional ingredients and production procedures you will learn the story of the Fabre family, the benefits of this renowned Marseille product and the secrets behind black liquid soap.
The boutique is the perfect place to pick up gifts and souvenirs. (http://marius-fabre.fr)
Tour the tunnels of Arles – Les Cryptoportiques
Six metres underground and originally built by the Greeks as a support-base for the forum in Arles, these “cryptoproticos” provide a fascinating subterranean stop and a cool, damp place to escape the heat of the day. You can find more information at http://goo.gl/BjTuDZ
Visit Van Gogh’s garden at the old hospital of Arles (L’Espace Van Gogh)
After the whole ‘ear incident’ and his descent into a fit of psychosis, Vincent Van Gogh was sent to the hospital in Arles, France, where he was diagnosed with “acute mania with generalised delirium”. Here he painted the famous Garden of the Hospital in Arles in addition to Ward in the Hospital in Arles and a portrait of his physician, Portrait of Doctor Félix Rey.
Still not sure what to do in Provence? Visit http://www.mp2013.fr for more! Marseille-Provence and its tourism partners were the generous sponsors of our time in the region. All words, thoughts and images are our own.
About our roving reporter: Jeanette Kramer is an international education professional with a passion for travel and photography. She blogs over at Love & Passport, where you will find her favourite images and adventures from around the world.