Marseille a rough diamond of a city - a big sprawling metropolis, a port city, the second city of France & one that takes a little time to discover. You're not likely to fall in love right away because it's going to take you a little while to appreciate it for what it is and see the beauty within and the beauty that's around. It has always been a city of immigrants, since the Greeks arrived here 2,600 years ago to the 20th Century when people came here because of the turmoil of Europe and the North Africa. It's a transient city - a bit of a rebel and always has been. Underneath there is a heart that beats. I'm going to show you two areas of the city - the poorest and ungentrified parts of Marseille, Le Panier - the old town & Noailles, the area of the city that oozes North African charm. Decayed buildings, ancient streets, with centuries of history. We will walk and discover both parts of Marseille and see how diverse these two key parts are, divided by the Canebière, a once elegant boulevard that mimicked the Champs Elysee in Paris, only to succumb to post-war decay. Now on the way up, there's a long way to go -I'll show you street art, graffiti and buildings in need of some TLC!
Christopher & Laurent
Yes that's right - I did call this the 'Ugly City' tour. My name is Christopher, I'm a travel and street photographer and also a registered tour guide. Originally from London, I've been living in Marseille for six years and really enjoy showing my guests the more interesting aspects of this 2,600 year old city. In the time I've been living here I have learnt a lot about the origins and history of Marseille and know the best and most unusual parts of the city to visit, because I still see it as a tourist. I always say you don't visit Marseille and fall in love with it - you have to look beyond what is immediate and look for the detail that's within.
Le Panier - the old town of Marseille, ancient narrow streets, old buildings mixed with historic 17th century buildings, street art, graffiti and some buildings old and neglected and full of charm. The Noailles, the traditional North African part of the city - again small narrow streets, street food, street vendors and small shops and bazaars. The the Canebière, the once elegant grand boulevard created by houseman to copy the capital city Paris.
A bottle of water
This is an interesting and unusual way to visit the city. I will show you the two oldest and most interesting parts of Marseille and from this you will get a good understanding and feel for Marseille.
Alternative Marseille the Ugly City Tour