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Condé Nast Traveller

Marseille, France: This is the underrated city in the South of France that should be on your summer bucket list

Marseille, France: This is the underrated city in the South of France that should be on your summer bucket list
When it comes to planning a summer vacation in the South of France, cities like Nice and Cannes often steal the spotlight. However, nestled on the Mediterranean coast, Marseille is an underrated gem that deserves a spot on your travel itinerary. With its vibrant culture, stunning seaside views, and a rich history that dates back thousands of years, Marseille offers a unique and authentic experience that will leave you enchanted.

One of the city’s hidden treasures is Tuba, a beach club that embodies the spirit of Marseille. The atmosphere at Tuba is unlike anywhere else, combining a sense of familiarity with curated music, expertly designed decor, and extraordinary cuisine. The menu changes daily based on the fresh catch of the local fishermen, ensuring a truly memorable dining experience. After a restful night’s sleep, with the soothing sounds of music and waves in the background, you can wake up to a refreshing swim in the warm sea, just steps away from your room. Sitting on a towel, sipping an ice-cold Coca-Cola, you can chat with Gassa and Fabrice Denizot, the duo behind Tuba Club, who epitomize the healthy and carefree lifestyle of beach bums. Their love for Marseille brought them back to their hometown, where they created this haven for locals and visitors alike.

Marseille underwent a transformative period in 2013 when it was named the European Capital of Culture. The city received substantial funding for regeneration, injecting over half a billion euros into its development. This investment not only revitalized Marseille but also attracted international attention. The Vieux Port, once a neglected area lined with abandoned docks, now showcases the Mucem, an award-winning art museum that stands as a testament to Marseille’s cultural renaissance. The city’s multicultural roots have been further enriched, and home-grown creatives like Gassa and Denizot have been encouraged to bring their talents back to Marseille. The result is a vibrant and cosmopolitan atmosphere where diverse influences blend seamlessly with the local culture.
“We wanted to present all the things we loved from our travels, but with a Marseille twist,” Gassa explained. The vision behind Tuba Club exemplifies this sentiment. With only five guest rooms, a restaurant, and the sea, their aim was to create a space where friends could gather, relax, and enjoy the simple pleasures of life. It’s not about saving the world but about providing a haven where visitors can immerse themselves in the unique charm of Marseille.

As you explore the city, you’ll discover its diverse neighborhoods, each with its own distinct character. From the historic Le Panier district with its narrow, winding streets and vibrant street art, to the bustling Cours Julien, known for its lively cafés, boutiques, and art galleries, Marseille offers a wealth of experiences waiting to be discovered.

Additionally, Marseille boasts picturesque coastal landscapes that will take your breath away. The iconic Calanques, a series of stunning limestone cliffs, provide an opportunity for hiking, swimming, and simply basking in the beauty of nature. The turquoise waters and hidden coves offer a peaceful escape from the bustling city life.

In conclusion, Marseille, France, is a hidden gem in the South of France that should be on every traveler’s summer bucket list. With its vibrant culture, revitalized city center, and breathtaking coastal landscapes, Marseille offers an authentic and unforgettable experience. Whether you’re indulging in the culinary delights of Tuba Club, exploring the city’s diverse neighborhoods, or immersing yourself in the natural beauty of the Calanques, Marseille will captivate your heart and leave you yearning to return. So, when planning your next summer getaway, don’t overlook this underrated city that is waiting to be discovered.

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