Bars and Cafés: Marseille

Here is a selection of some of the best bars, cafés and brasseries in Marseille. You'll find plenty of pleasant spots to have a drink or snack, though the city isn't famed for its night-life: a local quip goes that Marseille is Barcelona by day and Barcelonette (a sleepy small town in northern Provence) by night.

That's all slowly changing, though. The best places to head for if you're looking for late evening action are the Cours Julien (try WAAW, a "cultural bar" at 17 rue Pastoret) and the area around Saint Victor Abbey (La Ruche, reviewed below, is a local favourite). The backstreets behind the Opéra are best avoided after midnight.

The line in France between bistros and restaurants is a fluid one and many of these addresses also serve light food, sometimes very good food too, though they're famed for their atmosphere more for their cuisine. Stay tuned for new additions!

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The Bar de la Marine, MarseilleThe iconic bar of Marseille, the Bar de la Marine on the Old Port was the setting for Marcel Pagnol's famous trilogy, Marius, Fanny and César.

The OM Cafe, MarseilleIf you can't make the Vélodrome, the OM Brasserie (formerly known as the OM Café), right on the Old Port, is the place to watch an Olympique de Marseille football match live on its 13 plasma screens.

La Samaritaine brasserie, MarseilleOne of the last of the old-style brasseries on the Old Port of Marseille, La Samaritaine, which celebrated its centenary in 2010, is positively steeped in history.

Cafe de l'Abbaye, MarseilleDo you like the sound of a local bar that offers hearty home cooking at knockdown prices? Yet is close to tourist sights, has great views from the terrace and stays open late? If this appeals, the Café de l'Abbaye hits the spot.

Cakes at Sylvain Depuichaffray, MarseilleIf it weren't for the smell of delicious baking, you might easily walk past this tearoom in a backstreet near the Old Port. Which is a pity, because locals regard Sylvain Depuichaffray as the best pâtissier in Marseille.

The terrace of Le Charite Cafe, MarseilleIn the courtyard of the Vieille Charité in the Old Town, surrounded by colonnades dotted with olive trees in terracotta pots, this snack bar serves teas, drinks and, at midday, simple meals. It's a lovely, peaceful terrace on a hot day.

Plauchut tea room and patisserie, Marseille Near the top of the Canebière this deliciously old-fashioned patisserie, the oldest, in fact, in Marseille (est. 1820), offers a vast array of cakes, chocolate and biscuits, including many local specialities and sweetmeats.

Torrefaction Noailles tearoom, MarseilleThe wrought-iron canopy and ornate frontage of Torréfaction Noailles lead to a cool, tiled interior infused with fragrant coffees and teas.

Florence Bianchi of Le Glacier du RoiWith its aristocratic name and dramatic, low-slung chandelier made of Murano glass, this classy ice-cream parlour on the edge of the Old Town is one of the most popular in Marseille.

View of the Marseille Old Port from the Caravelle barTrue to its name - a 15th century sailing ship - La Caravelle has a nautical theme for its warm wooden interior, decorated with model ships and marine memorabilia.

Green Bear coffee cupMarseille is still far behind for vegetarian, vegan and organic dining, and so it's no surprise that the tasty, healthy, ethical and cheap snacks at Green Bear Coffee have found instant success.

Kitch'n Rock restaurant Marseille logoProvence's food is all very well, but sometimes only a full breakfast fry-up or English fish and chips will do. On such occasions, hungry ex-pats and fans of traditional British nosh head straight for this bar just off the Old Port.

Marseille Grain de Sable mealVegetarians! Founded by refuseniks from the world of international commerce, the organic, fair-trade, very alt culture Grain de Sable is an essential address.

marseille bar de la releveJust south of Marseille's Old Port, the Bar de la Relève is a scruffy neighbourhood bar and taxi drivers' hangout transformed into an ultra-cool brasserie.

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