The wonders of Marseille

By Thomas Doustaly

Posted today at 6:00 p.m.

Along the corniche, from the Old Port to the Calanques, Marseille is reborn. An invitation to stroll from west to east, between beaches, good addresses and walks, to Callelongue, where the road stops to never start again.

Who says sea says boat. Forgotten the inaccessible Phocea, the new star of the Old Port on the town hall side is the Noctilio 1930. a “Sea bar” installed on the deck of a two-masted schooner where you go up to nibble on tapas while having a drink in the evening, when the sun sets behind Fort Saint-Jean and makes the Golden Virgin sparkle at the top of the Good Mother .

Here, the end of the world has a name: Callelongue. In this small port the road stops and begins the Calanques National Park.

On the other side of the port, under the Pharo, the Borg family shipyard perpetuates the tradition of marine carpenters in restaurants but also by manufacturing, to order, the famous Marseille trays, otherwise called “pointus”, emblematic of the city. When there is a mast, it is made of pine, but the distinctive sign is the capian, at the front of the boat, which is used to moor it.

Passionate, Denis Borg makes you discover the places during a visit which can end with a drink. “To turn a wreck into a boat, he explains, it takes 500 hours of work. This is why we are labeled “Living Heritage Company” and classified as Intangible Heritage by Unesco. “ Scissors, clamps, pots of glue, paints, the instruments form a colorful decoration on the walls. The view of the entrance to the Old Port is splendid.

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From the Catalans beach, all the solutions exist to go to Callelongue: cycle path, partially protected pedestrian path, and of course the Corniche road. The Catalans and the Cercle des nageurs (you have to be a member to swim or be invited) form a very authentically Marseille group.

No membership card, however, to go swimming on the Catalans beach; Here, few tourists so much this downtown beach is that of the inhabitants and the regulars: ladies and gentlemen of a sometimes canonical age open the ball in the morning, follow the families then the groups of teenagers before the closing of the gate at 20 hours.

The beach of the Catalans and the Cercle des nageurs de Marseille.

Creeks, beaches, inlets, swimming spots along the route are governed by codes that the Marseillais know without having learned them: the Ladies’ Bath and its cabins attract families and… graffiti artists; the Anse des Phocéens, which the Marseillais still often call the Abri-Côtier beach, named after a legendary hut replaced by Le Cabanon de Paulette, is perfect for a snack or a drink; as for the uncomfortable rocks of Monte Rosa, at La Madrague, where swimming is a bit difficult, it is the gay beach of Marseille whose wild side already announces the Calanques.

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