Only Paris and the French Riviera can compete with Marseille for its breadth and diversity of merchandise. Your best bet is a trip to the streets just southeast of the Vieux-Port, crowded with stores of all kinds.
Rue Paradis and rue Saint Ferréol have many of the same upscale fashion boutiques found in Paris, as well as a Galeries Lafayette, France’s largest chain department store. For more bohemian wear, try cours Julien and rue de la Tour for richly brocaded and beaded items on offer in North African boutiques.
Le Panier is now home to a vibrant range of unique boutiques. Try 5.7.2, 23 rue du Panier (www.5-7-2.com; tel. 06-07-14-62-92) for 1930s to 1970s homewares, or Les Baigneuses, 3 rue de l’Eveche (www.lesbaigneuses.com; tel. 09-52-68-67-64), which sells a gorgeous range of retro-styled swimwear. La Boutique Éphémere, 20 rue du Panier (tel. 06-09-83-86-51), is also well worth seeking out. Designer apparel, as well as homewares and vintage treasures, are regularly overhauled and themed according to owner Laure Tinel’s whims—one month everything may be inspired by Alice in Wonderland; another month it’s all black. At Coucoukoulou, 42 rue du Panier (www.coucoukoulou.fr; tel. 06-59-24-44-56), Koulthoumi Ali creates colorful clothes, cushions, and dolls in traditional fabrics from the Comoro Islands.
For unique souvenirs, head to Ateliers Marcel Carbonel, 49 rue Neuve-Ste-Catherine (www.santonsmarcelcarbonel.com; tel. 04-91-13-61-36). This 80-year-old business specializes in santons, clay figurines meant for Christmas nativities. In addition to personalities you may already know, the carefully crafted pieces depict Provençal common folk such as bakers, blacksmiths, and milkmaids. The figurines sell for around 12.60€ and up.
Alternatively, Marseille in the Box, 13 rue Reine Elisabeth (www.marseilleinthebox.com; tel. 04-91-91-32-39) is packed to the rafters with offbeat Marseille-themed goodies, including books, beer, and vintage-style tins. Le Comptoir du Panier, 1 montée des Accoules (www.lecomptoirdupanier.fr; tel. 04-91-91-29-65), is stocked with clothing, jewelry, hats, and handbags crafted by regional designers. South of the port, the petite gallery L’Image en Provence, 28 quai de Rive Neuve (www.martin-raget.com; tel. 04-91-33-01-20), also sells gorgeous photos of Marseille, the Calanques, and Provence (from 15€), with particularly arresting shots of the coastline and the sea.
Navettes, small cookies that resemble boats, are a Marseillaise specialty. Flavored with secret ingredients that include orange zest and orange flower water, they were invented in 1791 and are still sold at Le Four des Navettes, 136 rue Sainte (www.fourdesnavettes.com; tel. 04-91-33-32-12), for around 9.60€ per dozen. On the opposite side of the port in Le Panier, José Orsoni also purveys top-notch navettes (5€ for around ten), as well as other traditional baked goods such as Corsican canistrelli and cucciole, at Navettes des Accoules, 68 rue Caisserie (www.les-navettes-des-accoules.fr; tel. 04-91-90-99-42).
Microcosmos Chai Urbain, 42 rue de l'Evêché (www.microcosmoschaiurbain.com; tel. 06-87-15-60-98) is a one-of-a-kind find. France’s first city-center winery is located in Le Panier and headed up by Fabienne Vollmy. Pop in to pick up a bottle or two of their organic, Provençal wine, sold exclusively on the premises.
One of the region’s most authentic fish markets at Quai des Belges (daily 8am–1pm), on the old port, is partially sheltered under the new Norman Foster–designed Ombrière mirrored canopy. On cours Julien, you’ll find a market with fruits, vegetables, and other foods (Tues, Thurs, and Sat 8am–1pm); exclusively organic produce (Wed 8am–1pm); stamps (Sun 8am–1pm); and secondhand goods (3rd Sun of the month 8am–1pm).
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.