Soap production is one of the region’s most well-known traditional crafts. Marseille soap boasts an international reputation, thanks to its benefits which are still very much appreciated today. Made exclusively from natural products, it is usually perfumed with olive oil or lavender.
Pétanque balls :
The must-have leisure items in Provence. This sport, invented in La Ciotat in 1910 has made it onto the international stage with the “Marseille Pétanque World Championships" held every year in July, attracting more than 12,000 players from around 20 different countries. This form of boules gets its name from the position the players adopt when throwing the ball without moving their feet - "les pieds tanqués".
Gourmet specialities :
Among the region’s drinks we must cite Pastis, an alcoholic aniseed-based drink, created by Paul Ricard, to be enjoyed with friends (in moderation) for an aperitif, as well as the local beer "La cagole", brewed in Marseille.
The traditional croquants marseillais (almond biscuits), pompes à l’huile (bread-based dessert), navettes (traditional biscuits containing orange flower water eaten at Candlemas), glacé chestnuts, and more recently the marseillotes (aniseed nougat coated in chocolate), and espérantines (chocolate with olive oil).
Olive oil, Provencal honey and spices are the cornerstones of this gastronomic architecture.
This gourmet voyage of discovery would be incomplete without mentioning the chichi-fregi (sugar-coated doughnuts), and panisses (made from chickpea flour) specialities of L'Estaque, the small fishing port which inspired Cézanne.
was created in Marseille at the end of the 18th century. Made from terracotta, painted or clothed, it features in the nativity scenes during the Christmas period.
A santon fair is held every year at the Allées de Meilhan from the last weekend of November to the end of January.
Le Boutis: the patience of an angel and the perfection of savoir-faire
It is thanks to the maritime trade of fabrics that the manufacture of textiles and costumes developed. Three hundred years ago "Indiennes”, cotton canvas with lively colours, arrived in France through the port of Marseille. They were immediately adopted by the inhabitants of Marseille who embellished them with embroidery. Marseille quilting (boutis and piqué) was born. Beautiful examples are displayed at the Musée du Terroir Marseillais at the Château Gombert, a bastion of popular arts and traditions.
Boutis combines embroidery and quilting using a special needle technique and is enjoying a renaissance.
Boutis is also used in the world of haute couture, in particular by Christian Lacroix.
Worth seeing :
La maison de l'artisanat et des métiers d'art
(arts and crafts centre)
21, cours d'Estienne d'Orves - 13001
Open from Tuesday to Saturday from 1 pm to 6 pm
Museum of the Decorative Arts, Fashion and Ceramics - Château Borély
134 avenue Clot Bey- 13008
Open from Tuesday to Sunday
from 10 am to 6 pm (from 2/01 to 31/05)
from 11 am to 6 pm (from 1/06 to 30/09)
from 10 am to 5 pm (from 1/10 to 31/12)
Le musée du Terroir Marseillais - Espace Pignol
(museum of popular arts and traditions)
5, Place des Héros Château-Gombert -13013
Open from Monday to Friday from 10 am/13 am – 4 pm/5 pm
Saturday and Sunday from 2 pm/ 5 pm.