Monday, July 23, 2012

Marseille + Mama Shelter

After driving from Saint-Tropez we had dinner reservations at a quaint little place, called the Nautic Bar, a friend of ours from France recommended (merci, Jerome!). He told us it was a hidden gem that's directly at the calanques or river creeks, which are tucked away in the rocky ridges. They have crystal clear waters and so much nature surrounding them, so it's hard to believe the second largest city of France is so close.
In order to access these calanques it is essential to have reservations at one of the restaurants down below. It is a very long, dusty, and rocky drive down the mountain side, but the views are excellent. It's also a great place to go for a swim. The food left us a bit underwhelmed, but it was an experience and definitely off the beaten path.

Next time we go I'd like to visit Cassis, which we unfortunately ran out of time for. All of the wait time getting to and from Saint-Tropez made that impossible.
Marseille was a stop over point for us, so we didn't do too much exploring of the city itself. Though we'd definitely like to make it back sometime soon. I like that it's a cultural melting pot of a city with a lot of diversity. Everyone I talk to is underwhelmed when they mention it, but that piques my curiosity even more. Sometimes I really like gritty cities and find them intriguing. There's so much bubbling beneath the surface.
The perfect place to stay is hands down Mama Shelter - Marseille. I've had friends recommend the one in Paris, but we've always liked to stay more central (it's out in the 20th). Now I can whole heartedly see why they recommended it. The one in Marseille just opened earlier this year and it is downright sexy. It has a hip and trendy vibe with playful friendliness and the attention to detail is impeccable.
I may or may not have scared Stefan by wearing the superman mask as he came up to our room from parking the car.
It's the type of hotel that's a destination in its own right with free new release movies and an awesome breakfast. It's the kind of place I'd go specifically for the hotel -it's that good.
We didn't have a lot of time on Friday morning, because I wanted to get up to the market in Lourmarin. I read time and time again that the market in Lourmarin is the crown jewel of Provençal markets, so that's where we headed late in the morning.

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