Best souvenirs to buy in Marseille, gift ideas to bring back from Marseille
Buying best souvenirs in Marseille, the second largest city in France is certainly fun because there is everything from designer clothing boutiques to discount retail stores (including the British Primark store!), Lots of producers locals and beautiful bakeries that have years and years. There is not a single main shopping street in Marseille as in other cities.
The 1960s Center Bourse shopping center looked tired until its award-winning facelift where shopping is good now. The waterfront, from the Old Port to the cruise ship terminals, is full of interesting shops that are ideal for strolling.
The stores are open between 10 a.m. and 7 p.m. and the smaller ones close for lunch, the big difference is that a lot of shops are open on Sundays as there are often a lot of cruise lines to serve. So there is a lot to see and discover in this wonderful city. But you still have to know what Marseille is famous for. Take advantage of our list below with the best souvenirs to buy in Marseille !
Magnificent Marseille soap
Soap has been made in the city since the 12th century and is still traditionally made using olive oil and iron presses. La Grande Savonnerie at MuSaMa – Marseille Soap Museum – tells the interesting story of Marseille soap and its manufacture. There is the possibility to buy soap in a myriad of scents including traditional lavender and mimosa.
La Licorne is a magnificent old-fashioned store and factory at Quai de Rive Neuve which is « the Marseille soap supplier » and has its own museum. Marseille soap is held in high esteem by the French and almost all households have at least one bar! For the lowest prices, it’s best to head to one of the markets.
A bottle of local Pastis in souvernir of Marseille
One of the main streets of the city is La Canebière and at its end, the Capuchin Market is located. This colorful market is more like an exotic souk because Marseille has a large African community from the former French colonies. It’s a great place to wander around, sip mint tea and buy vibrant patterns and plenty of fresh spices.
Saladin Le Monde des Epices is a small shop located rue Longue des Capucins where there are many barrels of fresh spices and some African ingredients for dishes that you might have appreciated during your visit.
What better souvenir to bring home than a bag of freshly baked Madeleine? There are many beautiful pastries scattered around the city and they make all these shell shaped sponge cakes which are delicately flavored with almonds. Remember that madeleines are very popular with French people, so line up to buy madeleines tomorrow morning, otherwise you might be disappointed.
A set of pétanque balls as a gift
Now, this idea is only possible if you have room – and a good weight – in your luggage ! On the Place des 13 Cantons, in the Panier district, there is a workshop, La Boule Bleue, specializing in the manufacture of bowls for pétanque, which is of course the national game of France or football also with OM. The workshop also has a small museum for those who would like to learn more about the history of the game that evolved in neighboring Provence.
Santons de Provence – Christmas crib as souvenirs of Marseille
Once Again, this is a souvenir and gift idea if you have enough space in your luggage ! In the rue Neuve, near the Quai de Rue Neuve, Marcel Carbonel finds himself at work in his workshop. Marcel is a master santonnier – creator of cribs – and it is funny to see him carefully sculpting the different characters of the crib – santons.
A souvenir about the sea
There are several boat supply shops on the Quai de Rive Neuve for those who have sailed to Marseille on their yacht. These shops are also very popular for souvenirs because they offer oilskins and caps, socks and deck shoes, but also magnificent pointy models, Marseilles fishing boats as well as engravings, posters and old maps.
Some ideas for high-end food …
There is a fascinating boutique called Les Arcenaulx in Cours d’Estienne which is well known for its collection of illustrated books on Marseille and Provence which includes some titles in English and a good antique section. There’s also an artisan section and a small food section that sells an eccentric selection of great local foods that make great gifts – could you be tempted by a box of alcoholic fish? Here you will find locally caught sardines with pastis for sale!
Traditional cookies – Navettes de Marseille
Special Esperentine chocolates
The Esperentines were special chocolates that were created in the city on the occasion of its 2600th anniversary in 1999. The chocolates have the shape of an olive leaf with a garnish of almonds, orange peel and mint. The outer casing of each is made of bright green chocolate. These very different looking chocolates were awarded at the Salon International de la Confiserie de Paris in 2000.
Haute Couture fashion souvenirs from Marseille
While you may not think there will be Parisian-style boutiques in Marseille, it is, and you can find them in a block of boutiques located just behind the Marseille Opera House. Many of the biggest names are represented in the different stores and there is a good choice. Certain fashion designer and brand decide to settle in Marseille before any other city, like the Hana San brand specializing in high-end shirts for women. If you decide to complete the equipment, the largest Louis Vuitton store outside Paris is in Marseille in the 18th century Hôtel Particulier.