The best places to shop in Marseille
I love to shop! What can I say…it’s a hazard of being a girl and with the holidays coming up fast shopping has been on my mind. Although Marseille hasn’t always been the first place I think of to go shopping in France (that would be Paris), I’m very impressed by the new offerings available to those of us wanting to indulge in a little retail therapy.
There’s no better time than now to check out the new offerings and get a start on that holiday gift list. And for those of you who have been frustrated by stores being closed on Sundays in France, many of the larger shopping districts are exceptionally open for the holidays. Take heart though, times are changing and some stores are open Sundays even outside the holiday season.
GGG’s Marseille Map for Shopaholics
Download GGG’s Marseille Shopaholic Map and bring it with you so that you don’t miss anything!
Where to shop in Marseille
As you can see from my map, the main shopping areas are all right at or near the “Vieux Port” (Old Port):
- CENTRE BOURSE – The shopping center “Centre Bourse” includes a “Gallerie Lafayette” (think Nordstroms) and a “FNAC” (books and media, even some in English)
- RUE DE LA REPUBLIQUE – The Rue de la Republique follows the tram line (and also leads straight to the Les Terrasses du Port) and has a selection of chain stores and specialty boutiques
- LA CANEBIERE – The “Canebière” is a main artery street and houses shops such as an H&M (located in a magnificent building)
- RUE SAINT FERREOL – The pedestrian street Rue Saint Ferréol (named after the bishop of Uzès who devoted himself in particular to converting the Jews within his diocese) is jam-packed with fashion stores
- RUE PARADIS / DE ROME / DE LA TOUR / BRETEUIL – The designer boutiques are located on “Rue Paradis”, “Rue de Rome”, “Rue de la Tour” (local designers outlets) and “Rue Breteuil” and run parallel to each other
- COURS JULIEN – The Cours Julien and its tree-lined street square is a very pleasant area to visit with trendier boutiques and music shops
- RUE LONGUES DES CAPUCINS – The “Rue Longues-des-Capucins” is the location of a fun and boisterous ethnic food market where you can see get a sense of the real Marseille
- QUAI DU PORT – The “Quai du Port” has a few specialty stores that are great for those looking for souvenirs (Santons, Savon de Marseille, and Pastis)
“La Caravelle” located in the Bellevue Hotel
If your feet start to ache, my favorite place in the whole world to stop for a drink (a café in the winter, and a Perrier “tranche” lemon slice in the summer) is at the restaurant café “La Caravelle” on the Quai du Port. It’s housed on the second floor of the appropriately named “Bellevue (beautiful view) hotel”, and has an itsy bitsy little terrace with an amazing view of the port and Notre Dame de la Garde. Just do a visual check before heading upstairs, if there aren’t any tables available outside I just park myself at any of the other cafés around the Port.
But wait, there’s more…
If you get bored with all that, and I’m not sure how it’s even possible, then hop on over to “Les Terrasses du Port” and “Les Docks”. You could walk there, but it’s a little bit of a trek so drive or take public transportation. On the way, why not stop at the newest shopping mall “Les Vôutes de la Major” and have lunch at “Les Halles de la Major” which I hear is excellent.
- TERRASSES DU PORT – The “Terrasses du Port”, a glitzy slick new waterfront shopping center with 160 stores (all the chains that you know and love), 2600 bling parking spaces, and an amazing promenade that looks out over the port of Marseille. If you are bringing your significant other, there are lots of seating areas for them to hang out and wait for you while you try on that divine dress you saw in the shop window. Open 7 days a week (yay!), 10am to 8pm.
- LES DOCKS – The classy “Les Docks” is situated right across the street from the Terrasses du Port in the old dock buildings built in 1858. The architecture was meant to be a reflection of time – it is 365 meters long (representing the days of the year), has 4 themed courtyards (for the seasons), 52 arched doorways (for the weeks of the year), and 7 floors (for the days of the week). It serves a different clientele, those interested in upscale specialty boutiques.
- VOUTES DE LA MAJOR – The “Voûtes de la Major”, located across from the MuCEM, is still a work in progress. The fashionable food market “Les Halles de la Major” is however already open, 7 days a week, and is a great option for a tasty lunch.
If instead your craving a little culture after all that retail therapy, the MuCEM Museum is right across the street and is an architectural gem in and of itself. There a thin bridge on the roof linking it back to the old town (Le Panier). There are amazing views from the Promenate Louis Brauquier that takes you around the Fort Saint Jean (built in 1660 by Louis XIV more as a statement of power and a nice way to frame the port than to be used defensively).
Just one last note, the recently built Grand Littoral Retail Park is one of the biggest shopping centers in Europe and must a least be mentioned. It’s located in Marseille’s 16th district, not at all near the port. Apparently there are also views well worth seeing, and it happens to be right nearby one of my clients. I sensing that I just might be making a visit there sometime soon.
- LE GRAND LITTORAL – The «Grand Littoral », NOT open on Sundays. 11, Avenue Saint-Antoine,
13464 Marseille marseille-grand-littoral.fr
I hope you enjoyed my post on the best places to shop in Marseille. After all that retail therapy and gift shopping, I hope you also have a year-end bonus coming soon to fill the coffers back up! Otherwise, top ramen is always a good option…
-Girl Gone Gallic