La Maison du Petit Canard, Marseille, facadeOwned by a German-Egyptian couple, this intimate guest house is tucked at the end of a small pedestrian alley on the edge of the Panier (Marseille's Old Town), just a short walk from the Old Port.

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The four rooms, each occupying a floor in one of the Panier's traditional steep, rickety, narrow houses, are studio apartments named after characters in Marcel Pagnol's Marius-Fanny-César trilogy (pictured below: the Fanny studio).

Steffi and Youssef will serve you a hearty breakfast, including home-made jams, in the next-door annexe, in a dining room watched over by a portrait of Youssef's grandfather. In summer you can take it on a little outdoor terrace.

Evening meals are available too for a modest charge. Click here to watch Youssef, a keen cook, demonstrating one of his recipes.

La Maison du Petit Canard, Marseille, the Fanny studioYou'll find La Maison du petit Canard (The House of the Little Duck) just off the place des 13 Cantons, which is mobbed by day by French visitors drawn by the area's connections to the enormously popular television soap opera Plus Belle la Vie.

You could easily miss the side-street, but fortunately the way is brightly signposted by Youssef's colourful paintings and cut-outs of, yes, ducks.

A cul-de-sac, it's quiet, especially at night when the tour groups have moved on. And it has simply bags of atmosphere.

The prices at La Maison du petit canard are really very modest. Some studios have mezzanine floors or sofa-beds and, if you are not too worried about privacy, four people could comfortably share.

A deposit of 25%, or a minimum of one night's rent, is required for reservations. Payment by cheque, made out to Madame Tönnies, or by bank transfer. No credit cards.

Visited November 2010

Where: La Maison du petit Canard, 48 impasse Sainte Françoise, 13002 Marseille. Tel: (+33) 4 91 91 40 31.

Website for La Maison du petit Canard

 

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