Voila some tunes, books, films, and shows to get you in the mood for Marseille


IAM  The OG of Marseille's huge hip hop scene, this veteran rap group dropped one of the first French rap albums in 1991. Since ...De la Planéte Mars, their lyrics paint a bass-thumping picture of their hometown, like "entre beau temps et blattes géants  - between beautiful weather and giant cockroaches" in Notre Dame Vielle. Their collabs with Wu-Tang Clan bring a beat to Franco-American relations. Je danse the MIA -- one of their signature hits -- begs to be boogied to. Play this one loud.

 California Girl In Marseille Though penned by an American girl from San Diego, this cheeky song captures Marseille's cliches as well as any local can. Ria raps about "posing with my rosé on the toit terrasse (rooftop), no elevator but it's good for my ass." Her love for her adopted city radiates as she belts "Marseille, tu es mon soleil - you are my sun." Watch and listen for a crash course on daily life in Marseille. From one California girl to another, she nails it. 



A Considerable Town  Tag along on food writer MFK Fisher's rambles through the "endlessly entertaining and absorbing melodrama" of Marseille. This is not a guidebook--as she assures--but a visit through her senses--like tasting the pungent Provençal tomatoes, aka "love apples" as the "pinpricks of complaining seagulls" pierce the air. 


Total Chaos This explosive page-turner exposes Marseille's underbelly with both beauty and grit. Writer Jean-Claude Izzo aptly embodies the Mediterranean Noir genre in this first tome of his popular Marseilles Trilogy. 



Corniche Kennedy Until Maylis de Kerangal enchanting book about les ados marseillaises gets translated into English, the film version lets you see Marseille through teenagers' eyes. Their vantage point is particularly daring, as they practice the local tradition of diving from the cliffs of the famed route for which both film and book are named. 


Marseille Though Gérard Depardieu has the leading role as the departing longtime mayor, many say the city is the star of Netflix' first French production. With themes of power and corruption--no surprise since politics are involved--some have likened the series to House of Cards. 


The Marseille Trilogy  Provençal native Marcel Pagnol returns to his roots with this epic love story. Set around a waterfront Vieux Port bar, Pagnol--the first filmmaker elected to the Académie française- evocatively depicts everyday life of 1930's Marseille. A newly improved version has just been released on DVD.