OK, I’m going to be brutally honest here. We so did not fall in love with Marseilles (spelled with an s at the end in English and without the s in French). Don’t get me wrong. Parts of Marseilles are beautiful. The views from the Basilica, for example.
And, the waterfront with its cafes, sailboats, and two forts.
And, the Palais Longchamps.
But parts of Marseilles are just plain weird, and not necessarily in a good way. Like the “funny zoo,” which is an old zoo — that must have been completely depressing back in the day — where the animals have been replaced with colorful fiberglass replicas. And, they think anchovies and Emmenthal cheese belong on pizza in Marseilles. Ugh.
But, more seriously, Marseilles is gritty and it is dirty and parts of it smell distinctly like pee. Although there is graffiti everywhere, most of the street art just isn’t that good.
And, oddly, once you get away from the tourist district, it seems to be predominantly men on the streets and in cafes and and those men are basically just loitering. It was the first place we have been in a long time where we didn’t feel entirely safe. We actually got spat at one night as we walked home. No clue if it was because we were white or because we were tourists or if it was because I am a woman or if it was because they just didn’t recognize us. And, our friends witnessed a riot from their apartment window with men beating up other men with sticks.
So, while we would come back and give Marseilles another chance (particularly in better weather when we could get out onto the water), we aren’t putting Marseilles high on our list of places to return to.