Posts Tagged ‘Pointe Rouge’

It’s not often  you get back from lunch in Marseille with sand between your toes but that happened yesterday after a trip to dine at Pointe Rouge. La Provence had recommended ‘O Pedalo’ whose terrasse is literally in the sea – and I just had to try it.

The navette or water-taxi from the Vieux Port (3€ each way, on the hour) drops you 40 minutes later at Pointe Rougeactu-2014Navettes%20Maritimes%20Estaque%2008-05-2013%20(40a)(1) which is one of the last beaches before the headlands and calanques. This trip is in itself is a treat on a sunny day, sailing through the port out past the Chateau d’If then along the coast past yachts skimming the surface and ferries ploughing through the sea.

O Pedalo is the last in a row of restaurants lining the sandy beach.  It’s run by two brothers who have been in business here for the past 20 years. Their motto is ‘etre souriant et serieux’ and they take pride in having very fresh ingredients.

The menu is pretty eclectic with fish and seafood to the fore….loup, daurade, sardines calamars entiers grillés, salads, soups, pizzas and pastas.  La Provence praised their seiche entire grillée, soupe de poisons de roche maison and la souris d’agneau au thym et romarin. During the week, they have an express menu at 10 or 13,90€, and the wine list features mainly local Cotes de Provence wines. restaurant-les-pied My three dining companions had various fish dishes which they enjoyed and I was very happy with a vegetarian alternative which was for once cooked properly and with attention – a spaghetti pesto with masses of fresh basil, tomatoes and cheese in a delicious sauce. Desserts were just ices and sorbets from the freezer which was disappointing; but the service was impeccable and very friendly.IMG_7540

Afterwards, we climbed down a wooden ladder onto the beach and paddled all the way along through the warm sea to get the boat back to town. It was hard to believe we were in France’s second city.  This is a delightful summer’s treat and I should think a fun excursion with visitors.  The only fly in the ointment could be the capacity of the boat, especially during peak holiday season.  Best maybe to have details  of the buses too.

O Pedalo is open daily in the summer months – 11:45-14:30 and 19:30-23:00hrs.  It closes from November to March each year.





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Marseille is absolutely heaving with tourists at the moment: this morning, 3 enormous cruise ships were docked.  One English lady wandering around asked me what she could do in Marseille in the 2 hours she had. It’s not easy at the moment as the ongoing pedestrianisation in the Vieux Port means that large portions are barracaded off.  We were all funnelled on to walkways and couldn’t even walk along the quaysides to look at the boats.

Time to take to the sea!  The new service down to Pointe Rouge is called La Navette and is a great escape, especially on a hot day.  You embark just near the Frioul ferries.  Boats leave once an hour, on the hour, from 7:00-22:00, every day until 15th September when the evening services are dropped.  The journey takes you down the Vieux Port and along past all the beaches.  We pulled out to the open sea just after a massive SNCM car-ferry which threw us around in its wash, much to the excitement of our young passengers.  The journey takes 40 mins.  If you are doing an aller-retour, you have to get off at the other end and sit on a bench while the driver has a cigarette and a chat before taking the boat back to Marseille.  A bargain at 5€. www.rtm.fr; www.lepilote.com.

I enjoyed a wander around the ‘Savon de Marseille’ exhibition in the Maison de l’Artisanat in the cours d’Estienne d’Orves.  Soap has been made in Marseille for over 700 years – it was exported all over Europe.  During the nineteenth century, the town was full of small businesses producing the familiar blocks and local walls were dotted with colourful posters advertising the various brands.  This gallery has pulled together an interesting exhibition on this industry.

They also focus on the generations of women who spent hours at lavoirs or on river banks scrubbing the family’s clothes and drying them in the sun.  Upstairs in the gallery they have recreated such scenes and have many examples of post-cards featuring these women at work.

Free.  Until 18th July. Tues-Fri 10-12, 13-18, Sat 13-18:00.

Verdict:  It’s an interesting facet of Marseille’s history.  Probably not worth a special visit but recommended if you’re in town and need to get away from the crowds in the Vieux Port outside.


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