Marseille - Indulge in finger lickin' good mussels!

Posted by ~Summer~ on July 13, 2012

You probably know that France holds a special place in my heart since it was in Paris where we got engaged and began our love story.

So it was a joy to be able to step into Marseille, the second largest city in France after Paris, during our MSC cruise round the Mediterranean.

It was a Sunday so knowing how European cities work, we were pretty apprehensive if there would be anything to see or shop in that short afternoon.

I guess it's true in life that the greater the expectation, the deeper the disappointment. So in other words, when you don't pin high hopes on something, you will treat anything that pops up as a bonus and be grateful for it. Positive thinking, yeah. In the very least, we could at least walk around to get a feel of the city and admire its architecture.

We arrived in Marseille at Vieux-Port, the Old Port of Marseille.

Surprise surprise!

Despite it being a Sunday, the port was bustling with people and there were fishermen who were butchering fishes on the spot, some even alive and flapping, which was quite a sight. In addition, it was also a delight to walk around visiting the stalls along the market and picking up some souvenirs along the way.

Then we took a walk to Fort St. Nicholas, which was built during the 17th century when Marseille lost its independence and Louis XVI (whom by the way is the only King of France ever to be executed) wanted to keep an eye on his unruly citizens.

We were on our way to visit Notre-Dame de la Garden and it must have been over an hour's walk. Halfway, the rain started to pour and we decided to seek shelter in a cafe. It actually felt nice to just relax and have a sip while listening to the sound of raindrops. Oh yes, I could hear that because my girl fell asleep in her stroller so it was a romantic tea break for me and the hubby. Woohoo!

Notre-Dame de la Garde is a basilica situated at the highest natural point (162 meters) in Marseille. It is traditionally regarded by the population as the guardian of the city. Locals commonly refer to it as la bonne mère ("the good mother"). It is also the most well-known symbol and most visited site here with an estimated 1.5 million visitors each year.

Alas it probably would take us another hour to make our way up the slope and in view of time constraint, we decide it would suffice to just admire the building from below, purchase a souvenir magnet of it, and of course take a picture to remember that moment.

While walking back along Vieux-Port, we were not really craving for food because we already filled our stomachs from the buffet lunch on board the ship.  That said, we were walking past a restaurant called La Tavern de Maitre Kanter when we simply had to stop and stare.


Because everyone inside was sucking and licking on mussels that seemed to be out of this world. Even the young kids. Seriously.

We took a few steps forward, then both the hubby and I couldn't help it but slow down our pace.

"Hmmm. Those mussels really look yummy huh."

"Yar lor, even though I'm not a seafood fan but they look so good."

"Shall we?"


And so we backtracked and entered the restaurant.

While eagerly waiting for our food, Angel was intrigued by the huge fish tank that had live lobsters, crabs and fishes swimming in it. One thing I was assured of: The food had gotta be fresh!

We paid around 13euros and ordered a pot of mussels in white wine sauce. Yeah that seemed the best bet and we weren't really thinking Angel would be interested in mussels.

The waitress was waiting for more orders when we told her that was all and she went "What? Just one pot?"

What do you mean, like everyone has to have one pot each? We kindly explained to her we had lunch already and this was a snack, so she went off and pretty soon returned with a big plate of complimentary french fries, much to Angel's delight.

And boy oh boy! The mussels were indeed out of this world.

Firstly, there were huge. I mean, really ginormous.

Secondly, they were so fresh. No stinky smell at all.

Thirdly, they were finger-licking good. The white wine sauce was so yummy, juicy and delicious that guess what, even Angel enjoyed them! No joke. She must have eaten at least 5-6 of the mussels and we were hoping she would K.O. from the wine pretty soon once we went back on board.

Lastly, for the amount we paid, it was a big bunch of mussels we got. My last count was 87.

Yes! 87! I'm not really a seafood fan, like I don't dig into crabs, prawns, lobsters, oysters or anything in the family. Hard as it is to believe, I ate like at least 30 of these mouth-watering mussels.

I amazed even myself that day.

It probably wasn't the best in the world, but as far as we were concerned, it was the best we had ever tasted. Yum yum. Plus it was the first time Angel gobbled up mussels like a pro.

That night we had mussels on the ship as well. But you know what, they were not even half as good as these.

So thank goodness we made the decision to come here. Definitely one of the best ways to chill on a hot summer day.

That's it, I'm going to remember Marseilles because of the mussels. Off to wipe my drool now.

To see more of the world, visit my Travelogue page here.

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friday favorite things | finding joy


  1. those mussels really looks amazing... we had seafood yesterday too. Drooools :) hungry again haha

    Ai @ Sakura Haruka

    1. Yes Ai, they were soooooo delicious! Hee let's go for seafood feast together next time! The famous crab place, maybe? =)

  2. I'm French and I hate mussels lol You seemed to spend a good time in Marseille... I'm from Paris so i've never gone there ( we don't like each other indeed lol)

    I'm a new follower ( i don't remember which linky...)

    1. Haha I don't really dig into mussels too but this was something different. Which happens when you are away from home and everything in a foreign land seems intriguing and yummy. =p Anyway I love love love Paris because it was where I got engaged! =) Thanks for popping by!

  3. such a great set of photos!

  4. Looks like a really great time. My oldest is a huge fan of seafood and it always surprises me how much he jumps right in no matter the fish. I'm a new follower,

  5. Found your blog through Mom Bloggers Club. Since I have not yet been able to visit France, I loved looking at all your photos. I'm now following your blog.


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