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The Five-Point Weekend Escape Plan

Take In the Cultural Renaissance in Marseille

With a freshly remodeled Old Port, striking new museums, and a fresh twist on its multicultural heritage, France’s edgy southern port city is reinventing itself.


1. Where to Stay

Hotel 96 is among the city's new openings that offer an alternative to older, staid properties.  

Avoid the din of the city’s bustling center at the Philippe Starck–designed Mama Shelter (from $90), located in the back streets of the trendy Cours Julien neighborhood. Like its Parisian sister, this year-old property features minimalistic rooms that contrast with Starck’s signature graffiti and creative décor elements including local slang covering the elevator walls and neon inner-tube light fixtures above the Island Bar.

Wake up to views of Mount Puget at Hotel 96 (from $128), a family-run, independent boutique hotel-cum-bed-and-breakfast that opened last November less than five minutes from the Calanques National Park. Overlooking the on-site garden, each of the thirteen color-themed rooms is accented with repurposed vintage furnishings and high-end linens.

Choose from five one-of-a-kind rooms at Au Vieux Panier (from $136) in the quiet hillside district of Le Panier. Formerly a Corsican grocer, this seventeenth-century hotel particulier was converted in 2011 into a boutique hotel that doubles as an art gallery, with rooms (ranging from small to apartment-size) that are transformed by local artists every year. The rooftop terrace is an added bonus, with its panoramic views of the harbor and the Marseille Cathedral.

Published on Jul 12, 2013 as a web exclusive.

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