Thursday, April 28, 2011

Simple Provençal Charm in Aix's Mazarin Quarter

The entrance of this three-storey 17th century house, with its brass dolphins on the door, gives a slightly misleading expectation of grandeur. In fact, the Hotel des Quatre Dauphins is a modest, charming two-star establishment decorated in traditional, simple provençal style. Click here to read more.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Something Old, Something New: A Hotel in Marseille Le Pharo

The New Hotel of Marseille Le Pharo is an unusual, not unpleasing mix of tradition and super-cool modernism. You enter through a sweet little provençal kitchen garden into a lobby based in the former Institut Pasteur, a 19th century medical research centre. After that, however, all is ultra-contemporary. Click here to read more.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

20th Century Art in a 17th Century Hôtel Particulier

If you're in central Marseille and love modern art, the Musée Cantini, or Cantini Museum, is a perfect spot to spend an hour or two.

This beautiful hôtel particulier was created in 1694 for a marine trading company and became an art gallery in 1936. A sweeping mosaic-tiled forecourt and high-ceilinged hallway usher you into a spacious house which provides an elegant, supremely peaceful backdrop to a small but discerning collection. Click here to read more.

Friday, April 22, 2011

The Markets of Aix en Provence's Old Town

On most weekdays, the Old Town of Aix en Provence turns into one giant extended market, allowing you to browse the delicious produce of the region within an exquisite historical setting. Click here to read more.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

The Five Best Calanques to Visit from Marseille

To complement our introduction to the calanques of Provence, this is a more detailled guide to the five best calanques along the coast south and east of Marseille, based on beauty, accessibility and the range of facilities on offer. You can either tour them on a general boat trip, taking in a number from the sea, or visit them individually. These ones can all be reached by car and/or public transport. Click here to read more.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

A Stunning Modernist Ryad in the Heart of Marseille

The peeling façade of a disused print works in a backstreet two blocks behind Marseille's Old Port opens into a spacious and breathtakingly designed modernist ryad conceived by the fashion and interior designer Annick Lestrohan. British readers: think Dr Who's tardis. Click here to read more.

Friday, April 15, 2011

The Best Pâtisserie in Marseille

If it weren't for the blast of delicious buttery baking that hits your nostrils at 50 paces, you might easily walk right past this tearoom in a backstreet a couple of blocks back from the Old Port. Which would be a shame, because Sylvain Depuichaffray is cherished by locals as quite simply the best pâtissier in Marseille. Click here to read more.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

The Breathtaking Calanques of Marseille

The calanques are the dazzling rough diamonds of the Mediterranean coast: an essential highlight of any tourist trip to Southern Provence. A spectacular series of looming white limestone rocks scored through with deep valleys, they're the backdrop to a unique ecosystem, colourful fishing villages, peaceful creeks with intense, clear turquoise water and a wide range of sporting activities. Click here to read more.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Stay Near Marseille's Old Port For 16 €uros

Opened in early 2010, the Vertigo Vieux Port, just off Marseille's Old Port, is a sister-hotel to the original, prize-winning Vertigo Centre and has been embraced by travellers with equal enthusiasm. Located in two imaginatively converted naval warehouses, it's based on the same, blindingly simple concept: a hostel without hassle, offering very cheap, basic accommodation combined with a chilled-out atmosphere and 24-hour opening. Click here to read more.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Marseille's Only Five-Star Hotel

Where to stay if you're after traditional pampering in Marseille? There's plenty of mid-range accommodation, a few very good four stars and many unusual, affordable quality guest houses. But the city is poorly served for high-end hotels. In fact, it has only one: the Sofitel Vieux Port, with correspondingly lavish room rates. Is it worth it? Click here to read more.

Friday, April 1, 2011

A Neighbourhood Bar in the Heart of Marseille's Tourist Territory

Do you like the sound of a bar that offers hearty portions of home cooking at knockdown prices and a friendly neighbourhood atmosphere? Yet is also close to big tourist sights and has - from the terrace - great views of the Old Port? If any or all of the above appeal (and what's not to like?) then the Café de l'Abbaye hits the spot. Click here to read more.