Thanks to its links with North Africa and the Arab world, France has many immigrants from those areas. And visiting their market is truly like a magic carpet ride.
Come with me to the kasbah.
Because of its history, its status as a port city, and immigration from North Africa and the Arab world, Marseille has long had plenty of influence from those regions in various aspects of its society and culture. But the Marché de Noailles, open daily next to La Canebière, is the real, unassimilated deal - possibly the closest thing you'll find in Europe to a Maghrebi souk. The first thing that strikes you is the aroma that permeates the air, from the tons of spices sold at scores of stands - an odor that you'll notice lingers in your clothes even after you leave here. Since it's a market for locals, it's mostly food and workaday items sold here, so it's mostly of interest for colour and photos. But on the other hand, you will see some traditional items, as well, for example, hats and embroidery. And as in all bazaars of this type, bargaining is not just recommendable but expected.
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