Streets and nights of Marseille by Orianne O. in Downtown Marseille

Marseille is known by cliches about the city’s sea, bright light, pastis, the “special accent” of the people, and, sometimes, crime or lack of security. But Marseille is much more than all that. The city has a deep soul and a beautiful dark side. Nothing here is superficial; everything and everyone has a story, a heavy past, and a strong present. Marseille should be defined by what it really is.

Name:Orianne O.

I’m a journalist/photojournalist for a French magazine and an independent author/photographer during my free time.


Seeing everything, living everything. Traveling the world and seeing true people, situations and feelings.

Tell us about Marseille:

Marseille is a city in the south of France referred to as “the door to the Mediterranean”. This is a port built by Greek, Persian, Italian, Spanish, Swiss and Arabic immigrants. It’s a beautiful city with very special sunlight. It’s always had a special place in France: a little apart from everyone else, and very rebellious. I find there are a lot of similarities between Marseille and New York, mostly between the cities’ atmospheres and their people’s history. Marseille deserves to be known because there are a lot of treasures here.

A perfect day in Marseille?

Wake up not too early, feel the sun on my skin, walk on the “vieux-port” to get something to eat, and take pictures when the night comes in.

What is the best thing about Marseille?

Food! There are a lot of delicious restaurants that prepare local dishes in a nice family atmosphere.

What is the worst?

Rats! At night (and sometimes during the day) you can see them running behind cars and garbages. They’re everywhere! One more thing that makes it similar to New York City.

What would be surprising about Marseille to an outsider?

Marseille will take your heart or not, but there is no compromise. You fall in love with the city at the first sight or you never do. A lot of people came once and never leave.

If Marseille was a person or character who would it be?

It would be a woman for sure. A rebellious one. Beautiful, passionate, destructive. Maybe a kind of mermaid.

Who are three of your favorite artists?

In Marseille? My grandpa, Marcel Olive, who wrote the book “Marseille au coeur”. I know that this is not very objective of me. I also have a fascination for the work of Stanley Kubrick and the photographer Raymond Depardon. But it’s hard to make a choice, there are so many amazing artists.


Name:Orianne O.


Favorite place to eat:

Chez Noël, at the top of the Canebière, a very good daily restaurant.

Favorite place to drink:

La Caravelle on the vieux-port.

Favorite shop:

Lollipop music store

Local Tip:

Try some panisses, a local dish made with chickpea flour, at the port of L’estaque.

Must Do:

Feel the city. Walk. Don’t judge Marseille by its cover.