The southern French city of Marseille is a vibrant, international hub that has plenty to offer shoppers. From trendy boutiques to bustling flea and farmers' markets, department stores to luxury outlets, these are some of the best places to head for shopping in Marseille.
La Canebière: For Global Retailers & Popular Brands
This wide and bustling boulevard is often referred to as the "Champs-Elysées of Marseille." It connects to the Old Port at the northwest ends and is lined with shops from global fashion and accessories brands, beauty and cosmetics retailers, and homeware shops.
Rue Paradis, Rue St Ferréol, and Rue de Rome are all fashion-centric streets running off the main avenue and lined with boutiques, many of them from high-end and designer brands such as Louis Vuitton and MAC Cosmetics. Meanwhile, the massive Bourse shopping center is slightly overwhelming on crowded weekends, but offers a wealth of popular brands and style options.
Travel Tip: Consider staying in one of the grand hotels that overlook La Canebière for a taste of old-world Marseille.
Le Panier District: For Trendy Boutiques & Art Galleries
This centuries-old district with a long history of immigration has recently become one of Marseille's hotspots for cool boutiques and products made by local artisans. The winding, hilly streets and ochre-colored facades of Le Panier (literally, "the basket") are home to niche clothing and accessories designers, sellers of traditional Marseille products such as scented soaps and "Santon" Christmas decorations, perfumers, and more.
Travel Tip: If it's original artworks you're after, make sure to browse the area's many intimate galleries. It's often possible to come away with a reasonably priced print or even an original.
This sprawling, boldly modern shopping complex is right on the waterfront, just north of the Old Port. Locals and tourists alike flock here for its more than 170 shops, restaurants, and free events such as fashion shows and product demonstrations.
Inside, you'll find shops from global brands such as H&M, Zara, Tommy Hilfiger, and Michael Kors, as well as specialty shops, beauty and fragrance, accessories and locally produced gifts. The Printemps department store is also located here.
Travel Tip: The outside deck area affords some spectacular views over the water and the port.
Probably Marseille's most coveted market, the Marché des Capucins (also known locally as the Marché de Noailles) is the place to head for an authentic taste of local culture, not to mention excellent fresh produce and dried goods. Wander the 30 stalls here for bright Provencal fruit and vegetables, spices, and foods whose diversity reflects Marseille's—from blocks of sesame halva to Moroccan spices, chili pastes, and Algerian pastries. The prices are low, and the quality is generally excellent.
Travel Tip: The market is open from Monday to Saturday, 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. If it's a sunny day, stock up on fresh fruit, cheese, bread, and pastries from the market for a picnic on the beach or in a nearby park.
Cours Julien: For Cool Shops & Edgy Styles
Located just east of the Marché des Capucins, the ultra-cool Cours Julien area is covered in street art, and is well-known for its vintage clothing shops, creative designers, and shops emphasizing edgy and bohemian styles. It's an especially good place to beeline to if you're in the market for second-hand clothes, accessories, jewelry, books, and home items.
Travel Tip: Pop up to the Cours Julien after a whirl through the nearby farmers markets.
Occupying several blocks, the Marseille Flea and antique market is often compared to a North African-style bazaar or souk. It's crowded, buzzing with color and conversation, and sometimes, the sound of haggling between merchants and customers.
You can browse through crowded covered and open-air stalls selling vintage clothes, old books and records, antique furniture and art, ceramics, and cutlery, and countless other goods. Make sure to check out the enormous covered antique market and adjoining bistro.
Travel Tip: The covered market is open daily except Mondays, while the "fairgound market" stalls are only open on the weekends. Also note that most merchants only accept cash, so make sure you have enough before you go
Rue de la Tour District: For Luxury Shopping
If it's high-end shops you're after, head to the Rue de la Tour area, dotted with chic boutiques and standalones from designer brands. Situated just a couple of blocks from the Old Port and the Marseille Opera, the shopping district boasts storefronts from the likes of Tara Jarmon, Longchamp, and Petit Bateau.
Local, trendy brands such as the Maison Casablanca and wedding gown designer Rnadia Negafa are also major draw cards for shoppers. Rue de Paradis is another main artery lined with boutiques.
Travel Tip: A morning of shopping can be rounded off with a stroll and lunch on the Old Port, preferably with views over the waterfront.
Galeries Lafayette: For Fashion, Homeware & Food
Probably France's best-loved department store, Galeries Lafayette is best-known for its flagship in Paris. Luckily, the iconic store has two branches in Marseille: one within the massive Centre Bourse shopping center (28 rue de Bir Hakeim), and a second in the chic Prado shopping complex (Allée Ray Grassi). This is an excellent pitstop for men's and women's clothing, accessories, beauty products, and homeware. During the annual summer and winter sales season, you can often find good deals on dozens of designer brands.
Travel Tip: Go early in the morning and/or on a weekday to avoid the crowds, especially during the sales season.