Dr. Platt's Marseille Folio

Personalized for Dr. Platt

"The French port city is shedding much of its once-gritty reputation and emerging as a place where ambitious cultural and culinary offerings take center stage. No city divides the French like Marseille. For every admirer cooing about the sun-warmed sea, craggy coastlines, fish-rich bouillabaisse and the Mediterranean melting pot (thanks to 20th-century immigration from Greece, Spain, Italy, Corsica, Morocco, Tunisia and Algeria), someone else is grousing about corruption, dirty streets and eroding Frenchness. And where the port city’s champions see a swaggering no-nonsense metropolis free of bourgeois pretensions, others see a lack of refinement. Everyone agrees, however, that Marseille is a city in metamorphosis. Major urban-renewal projects have upgraded the waterfront into a sprawl of state-of-the-art cultural venues, shopping centers and skyscrapers from five-star architects. At the same time, ambitious seasonal cooking, artisanal cocktails and indie-fashion concept stores — once nearly unheard-of — are making noticeable inroads, infusing the city with something it had mostly lacked: cool and cachet. Perhaps inevitably, some now lament that Marseille is losing its distinctive working-class character and southern French soul. And, predictably, some now gush that the city has never been more modern, ambitious or happening." - The New York Times



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