Travel to France: A Walk through the Marseille Fish Market

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Travel to France: A Fisherman Brings in His Fresh Catch from the Mediterranean into Marseille's Port.

Travel to France: A Fisherman Brings in His Fresh Catch from the Mediterranean into Marseille’s Port.

A short distance from my Marseille hotel, Hôtel la Résidence du Vieux-Port, I took a walk through the Marseille Fish Market. Boat after boat docked at Quai des Belges on Marseille’s Old Port just after 8 in the morning.

Travel to France: Marseille Fish Market, Sept. 2013

Travel to France: Marseille Fish Market, Sept. 2013

With boats bobbling, fishermen handed their catches, some in plastic baskets others in nets, to their wives who put the Mediterranean fresh catches on display. Some fish were familiar like swordfish, flounder, grouper, lobster and sea stars while most were odd looking creatures I’ve probably tasted but cannot identify. I watched as some seafood sellers cleaned the fish using an assortment of tools dependent upon the type of fish. This ranged from delicate fillet knives to what looked to be mini saws. The market is open 8 a.m. – 1 p.m. daily.

Fresh Seafood Being Sold at the Marseille Fish Market

Fresh Seafood Being Sold at the Marseille Fish Market

Bouillabaisse a Le Miramar Restaurant
Both residents and area restaurants shop the fish market for fresh boat-to-market-to-table seafood. A popular dish on local restaurant menus using fresh seafood from the market is bouillabaisse. I had the chance to taste it for the first time at Le Miramar Restaurant located only steps away from the fish market.

Le Miramar Restaurant is Located Steps Away from the Marseille Fish Market is Famous for its Bouillabaisse.

Le Miramar Restaurant is Located Steps Away from the Marseille Fish Market is Famous for its Bouillabaisse.

Bouillabaisse originated in Marseille and is a fish stew prepared with fresh seafood caught and served the same day. Specific recipes vary but it’s said an authentic Marseille bouillabaisse must include the following three fish: a bony rockfish called rascasse, European conger and sea robin.

Tomato Paste, Garlic and Bread to Add to Your Bouillabaisse.

Tomato Paste, Garlic and Bread to Add to Your Bouillabaisse.

The way Chef Christian Buffa of La Miramar Restaurant served it was the bouillabaisse first (find the recipe on the eatery’s website). It was more like a deep red broth than a soup and I was instructed to add as much tomato paste as I liked along with thin slices of crisp bread rubbed with fresh garlic. Following the bouillabaisse came a mountain of seafood dominated with fish, mussels and a crab with potatoes in a fish broth.

Chef Christian Buffa of La Miramar Restaurant Discusses his Bouillabaisse.

Chef Christian Buffa of La Miramar Restaurant Discusses his Bouillabaisse.

The multi-course meal included a pate-like dish and two desserts, a small one – which would have been plenty and an over-sized wine glass filled with strawberries and what seemed like fresh whipped cream. The beverage of choice is a rosé wine which is dry and fruity, not like sweet blush wines. The Provence region has been producing wine for more than 2,500 years.

Bon appétit! 

Here’s a quick video from the Marseille Fish Market.

The road, or shall I say a plane, recently led me to Marseille-Provence, 2013 European Capital of Culture as a guest of Atout France and their tourism partners. This is the one in a series of several posts about this trip to France. Follow the conversation on Twitter and Instagram with the hashtag #visitmp2013.

Author: Solo Travel Girl

Originally from Buffalo, N.Y., a hiking trail led Jennifer Huber, aka: Solo Travel Girl, to a career path in tourism. She has worked in the tourism industry for more than 20 years including 10 years with a park management company in Yellowstone, Death Valley and Everglades National Park. She currently lives in Southwest Florida, and maintains this travel blog with the goal of inspiring others to travel alone, not lonely.

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1 Comment

  1. Thank you for a great article, I so want to go! Looking forward to your next chapter.
    Thanks Solo Girl!

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  2. Food & Wine Weekend at Waldorf Astoria Orlando: Around the World at Bull & Bear | Solo Travel Girl - […] was intrigued by this French-inspired dish because it was a bouillabaisse. In September I tasted bouillabaisse in the city…
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