Perhaps the most picturesque place in all of Marseille is the lovely “Le Panier” district. One of the oldest parts of town founded by the Greeks over 2,600 years ago, Le Panier is known for her charming narrow, paved streets and steps that curve up and down the quaint hillside north of Marseille’s Vieux Port.
Every visit to Marseille must include a walking tour to Le Panier. If you are an architectural connoisseur than you will fall in love with this section of town that has the tendency to take you back in time to a quieter, more charming way of life absent of modernity. As you walk along the Vieux Port, it is hard to imagine that an entire hidden world exists. At first glance, the buildings that stand at the front of Le Panier don’t look much different than what you will find anywhere else.
Yet, once you enter Le Panier and discover the first of many set of stairs leading you up to Marseille’s Old Town, you will instantly understand why this area is so special.
I spent an hour or so exploring this lovely area by myself, unafraid to get lost within her magical serpentine streets. It was a quiet afternoon and I pretty much had the entire place to myself. I adored photographing all the colorful buildings, windowsills graced with flowers and antique french lights.
It was a hot day and the stone steps got my attention. But thankfully I made plenty of stops along the way to try to capture some of the beauty of Le Panier.
I walked on and on admiring the charm and peace of Le Panier. I seemed to be a little overly obsessed with taking photos of the colorful laundry hanging out to dry or the old windows with peeling paint and a story to tell. But the afternoon was for me to do as I please thus I did what I love best when traveling: Exploring and marveling at what I see with my third eye.
I could have spent all day meandering through Le Panier. It truly felt like an entirely different part of the city especially during the early afternoon when everything was quiet. I would have loved to come back around dinner time to see what kind of energy awaited in Le Panier. But alas my mother and sister were waiting for me along Rue Paradis, the shopping part of town.
If you go
Le Panier is a short, five minute walk north of the Vieux Port. Follow Quai du Port and take a right along any of the streets along the north side of the harbor.