France’s second-largest city has always attracted a motley crew: a mix of sailors and free spirits, immigrants and artists, including Cézanne and Le Corbusier. Thanks in part to its varied population, Marseilles has evolved in the past decade into a surprisingly sophisticated urban center, with a culinary and art culture that rivals anything in the Mediterranean. Combining Arab and Gallic flavors, scruffy dockworkers with chic designers, the quintessential port city is a true melting pot.
Seeing the Mediterranean’s version of Alcatrez, Chateau d’If, a 16th-century island jail that served as the setting for The Count of Monte Cristo.
Watching surfers ride the waves from the comforts of Le Café de la Plage, a beachfront bar specializing in fruity cocktails.
Savoring bouillabaisse—the house specialty—at the nautical-themed Chez Michel.