Splendidly situated on a hillside above the Vieux Port, this colorful neighborhood is the historic center and cultural heart of Marseille. Le Panier is Marseille's oldest quarter, inhabited since antiquity when the ancient Greeks settled here in 600 BC. With its steep, narrow winding streets and quaint pastel buildings, this quarter offers a glimpse into the charming personality of Marseilles. Once a working class neighborhood, Le Panier is now gentrified, but still has a fascinating multiethnic and artistic character.
You'll find plenty of authentic Algerian cuisine, local artisan boutiques, gourmet food shops, and art galleries. This quarter is also a residential neighborhood, and the typical houses with shuttered window and lines of laundry provide evidence of the families who live there. Visitors may begin a walking tour on the north side of the Vieux Port harbor basin at the Quai du Port and then walk up La Canebière, a vibrant boulevard that buzzes with activity. The quarter has several important monuments such as the Hôtel de Ville (Town Hall), which was built in the second half of the 17th century based on a Genoese architectural model.