Celeb chef Alexandre Mazzia’s favorite Marseille experiences during the Olympics and beyond - Hexbag

Celeb chef Alexandre Mazzia’s favorite Marseille experiences during the Olympics and beyond


Marseille-born Michelin-starred chef Alexandre Mazzia will lead the Paris 2024 Olympics torch. This is his city tour, from sunsets to seafood.

Marseille is a seductive city at the entryway to the South of France, blending cultures, flavors, and landscapes. Life revolves around the historic harbor on narrow cobblestone alleyways, continuing the city’s Greek maritime heritage.

After growing up in the Congo, Alexandre Mazzia moved to Marseille and became a talented chef. He opened AM by Alexandre Mazzia in 2014 and received his third Michelin star in 2021. He was one of six chefs chosen to create a “fun, gourmet and healthy” 2024 Olympic cuisine.


Many Marseillaise live in hillside villages overlooking the corniche, while the post-industrial docklands sprawl north. As Michelin-starred chef Alexandre Mazzia, who has lived in Marseille since his teens, explains, “where people stop on their scooters to greet you, or honk their horns or sing aloud,” this seaside route offers natural beauty and unexpected social interaction. Mazzia, a former professional basketball player, likes beach games in Montredon. “It’s so close to the sea,” he adds. “The wind occasionally blows the ball away. But I enjoy the natural brightness and clear sea air—it’s so easygoing.”

Summer 2024 brings the Paris Olympics to Marseille. Olympic sailing, windsurfing, and kitesurfing will take place in Roucas-Blanc marina, while footballers will compete at the 67,000-seat Stade Vélodrome. Mazzia, who will carry the Olympic flame on 8 May, operates his avant-garde contemporary French restaurant AM on a small alley between the two sites and his lunchtime food truck Michel par AM, which serves croques, frites, and chicken brochettes.


Mazzia led us to the locations he thinks best represent his new city before leaving for the Olympic Village in Paris, where he is one of the official chefs. These are his suggestions for maximizing a weekend in this beautiful beach city.

1. Best sunsets and sea air: Point Rouge Beach and Montredon
Marseille has several magnificent overlooks due to its Mediterranean location on the French Riviera. Sunbathers and a boating club draw Mazzia to Pointe Rouge Beach for sunsets. He also comes for his favorite nighttime promenade.

“Just behind the small parking lot is a footpath that runs further south along the shoreline,” adds. It follows the seawall around Montredon to Les Tamaris, a restaurant in La Madrague, a modest coastal neighborhood. “The sea out here is a little rougher because of the currents,” she continues. “But the terrace at Tamaris sits up on a hill in the breeze with a view of the entire bay of Marseille.” The cuisine serves anchovy pizza, grilled octopus, steaming mussels, and clams from offshore limestone coves. Diners may also view “La Bonne Mère” (the Marseillaise nickname for Notre-Dame de la Garde basilica) and a lively corniche in the distance.


Address: 40 Boulevard la Calanque de Samena, 13008 Marseille

Phone: +33491733910

Restaurant Les Tamaris Samena: Instagram

2. Best introduction to Marseille culture: Vieille Charité
The Museum of Civilizations of Europe and the Mediterranean, designed by Rudy Ricciotti and covered in steel latticework, was all the rage a decade ago. Accessible by elevated walkways over the historical harbor, the museum hosts striking displays of antique artifacts and modern artwork, frequently in interaction.

Olympic Marseille insider tip:

Visitors may witness windsurfing, kiteboarding, and dinghy sailing without tickets. Free access to Prado Beach south of the Olympic Marina. In contrast, the town hall will host a 2,000-person “fan zone” dubbed Le Club Paris 2024. At all Olympic sailing events, the bustling corniche ocean-front avenue will be pedestrianized.

“That is the obvious choice, with quite incredible architecture as well,” Mazzia, “but what’s even more representative of the city and its history is the Vieille Charité, and it’s often missed by visitors.” This Baroque almshouse lies behind iron gates in Panier, a maze of old cobblestone alleyways near the harbor. The large courtyard has a domed temple with Corinthian pillars and pink molasse stone colonnades with galleries and libraries, including a poetry center and an African and Amerindian artifact museum. Mazzia adds, “And it’s all free to visit.” “I think it’s quite representative of us as an architectural melting pot and I enjoy the cultural context, in discussion with the working-class history of the Panier.”

La vieille-charite-marseille.com

2 Rue de la Charité, 13002 Marseille

Call +33 491145880

3. Best spot for local Marseille experience: Goudes
Marseille has boomed since its 2013 European Capital of Culture status, when its honeyed stone structures were de-sooted and outdoor art adorned the old coastline. The cozier neighborhoods south of the historic center attract young families and artists.

Mazzia advises visiting Les Goudes, a dry shoreline with pastis bars and roaming roosters, by day. “It has the air of an old fishing village at the very edge of the city but still within the 8th arrondissement,” adds. “The next stop beyond is Calanques National Park,” with its craggy cliffs and deep, fjord-like swimming bays.

Except for a few flat shares, there is little accommodation here. Mazzia suggests the elegant Château Beaupin hotel near Point Rouge beach. A unique blend of city and country, the 19th-century estate has a pool and private club set back from the sea. “It’s near Les Goudes and the sea,” explains Mazzia. “On a simple, quiet street that’s also in reach of the dramatic scenery of the massif (mountain).”


Address: 37 Avenue Beau Pin, 13008 Marseille

Call +33 698675818

Chateaubeaupin_Marseille on Instagram

4. Best Marseille seafood restaurant: La Boîte à Sardine
When wanting seafood or Marseille’s bouillabaisse fish soup, many excellent cooks can offer. Mazzia narrows by atmosphere. He frequents La Boîte à Sardine, a quirky fish tavern near Saint-Vincent de Paul church in the town center. “The owner, Fabien Rugi, is a great guy, and a little eccentric – which I appreciate,” Mazzia. “And I love a platter of pearly-skinned fresh fish, barely grilled and glistening with olive oil.” His favorite meal is fish soup and fries. “I put the frites in the soup, in place of the usual toast and rouille,” adds. “It reminds me of my childhood and the little peculiarities that Marseille is all about – my Marseille.”

Visit laboiteasardine.com

2 Bd de la Libération, 13001 Marseille

Call +33491509595

Laboiteasardinemarseille on Instagram

5. Best nighttime promenade

Bompard The 162m tall golden Virgin Mary statue of Notre-Dame de la Garde church is visible from all corners of Marseille. While the church’s views are impressive, most Marseillaise advocate arriving late, before 18:00, to see the sky turn pink and the city lights reflect off the sea.


Mazzia suggests Marseille’s public boat service during summer when traffic is heavy. “During the summer there are public boats going to the main beach spots of Marseille,” adds. “One going to the south part called les Goudes is between €5 (£4.28) and €8 (£6.86), so very cheap.” From €5 (£4.28) per trip, the Pointe-Rouge beach-Les Goudes line operates daily except on 8 May when the Olympic torch arrives.

Walk downhill through Bompard to see why Mazzia loves it at night. “You can watch the cars parading by on the corniche below,” adds. “And it feels like you’re between two worlds – the peaceful world of the mountaintop and the methodical back-and-forth of the ocean drive.”

Bompard is one of Marseille’s most appealing neighborhoods, with tiny streets, cafés, and a tranquil feel despite the bustle below. “I like these places that feel a bit timeless, that allow you to breathe a little more,” said Mazzia. The meandering alleyways lead to a lovely coastal promenade.

6. Best pantry stocking spots: Rue Aubagne
Marseille’s rollercoaster hills are delightful. Most noteworthy streets descend from the plateaus to the city center, such Rue d’Aubagne, a source for antique homewares and African handicrafts brought over by Maghreb immigrants.

“It crosses right through the Noailles neighbourhood, which is really special because it is both African and Asian,” Mazzia. Tam-ky, an Asian supermarket off Rue d’Aubagne, sells Thai herbs, Taiwanese tapioca boba, and Chinese ginger treats. “I also like Maison Empereur, a home-goods shop at the very end of the road,” adds. “The old-fashioned kitchenware is made by artisans with excellent craftsmanship and savoir-faire.”

5 Rue Halle Delacroix, 13001 Marseille

Call +33491540086

Tamky Noailles, Instagram


Address: 4 Rue des Récolettes, 13001 Marseille, France

Phone: +33491540229

Instagram: @maisonempereur

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