35. A Tour de France – Marseille

“It is always an event at Marseilles for a ship to come into port.” – Alexandre Dumas

Hello everyone! This week we’ll continue our new miniseries: our very own Tour de France. What kind of France exists outside the boundaries of Paris? What kind of France exists in the middle of the countryside? What does someone in Paris have in common with someone in the Pyrenées? How many kinds of French people are there? What makes someone truly “French” anyway? For the next six episodes, we’ll be tracing the route of the original Tour de France, traveling through the “in between places” – the vast countryside which traditionally held most of the French population. Beginning in the tiny village of Montgeron, then passing through Lyon, Marseille, Toulouse, Bordeaux, Nantes and finally returning to Paris, we’ll be eating, drinking and exploring our way through the nation. On y va!

Episode 35: “A Tour de France – Marseilles”


The Discovery of France: A Historical Geography – Graham Robb, 2008.

The Rhinoceros and the Megatherium, Juan Pimentel, Harvard University Press, 2017.

Asia in the Making of Europe, Volume II: A Century of Wonder, Donald F. Lach, University of Chicago Press, 1994.

Merchants and Marvels: Commerce, Science, and Art in Early Modern Europe, Pamela Smith and Paula Findlen, Routledge, October 2001.


Marseille, the Secret Capital of France” – Michael Kimmelman, The New York Times, October 2013.

An Historical Account of the Plague at Marseilles – Jean-Baptiste Bertrand

“City by the Sea” – Alexander Lobrano, SAVEUR Magazine, March 2014.

“Marseille Sways to a Maghreb Rhythm” – Seth Sherwood, The New York Times, July 2009.

“Marseille’s Ethnic Bouillabaisse” – Andrew Purvis, Smithsonian Magazine, December 2007.

“Cherchez La Bouillabaisse” – John Vinocur, The New York Times, April 1984.

“A Prime Kettle of Fish” – R.W. Apple, Jr. The New York Times, August 2002.

“The Hunt for Bouillabaisse in Marseille” – Debashree Majumdar, National Geographic Magazine, June 2017.

“Marseille: What’s Not to Love?” – Alicia Drake, Travel + Leisure Magazine, May 2009.

Further Reading:

I’m loving Graham Robb’s The Discovery of France: A Historical Geography.

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