The windy city along the French Mediterranean has long drawn travelers around the world. Marseille feels like an icon — maybe it’s the products we find all around the world, like the savon de Marseille or the famous pastis liquor, there’s just something recognizable about Marseille. It’s like an old friend. It’s exactly what you would expect of an old port — a bit grimy, salty air, and bustling streets that tell stories from many generations.

Passing by for the afternoon, we arrived for a late lunch in the Vieux Port at La Brasserie Om. The perfect spot to commence the day in Marseille, it was an airy lunch filled with a cool sea breeze and fresh seafood. After sipping down an espresso, we headed out for the neighborhood of Pannier.

Cutting through the remainder of the Vieux Port, it was hard not to catch a glance at the Notre Dame de la Garde where we would eventually end the day. It was by luck that we passed by the Compagnie de Savon shop, a shop that sells soap all around the world — the kind we pay double for back at home at shops like Anthropology. Though I was tempted to grab a bottle or two, I had previously spotted an artisanale glacier just next door that eagerly called my name. Popping in for a scoop of ice cream at Glacier Vanille Noire, we continued on.

Climbing the stairs into the Pannier, we had heard it was well-kissed by plenty of graffiti. It was quite shocking to see how much there was, but nonetheless, the pastel-colored window panels were too good not to love. The rolling hills around Le Pannier, made for a few hours of exploring and popping into local shops.

With our feet feeling tired, we took a taxi to the top of the hill to see our last sight in Marseille. The Notre Dame de la Garde was the first thing we spotted driving into town. It’s presence over the city gives off a certain kind of beauty that is hard to capture. The panoramic view sprawling over the coastline of France felt surreal, making it the best way to end the day.

An afternoon in Marseille went by in a magical way, and I have a feeling it won’t be the last I’ll be seeing of it.

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