All in do

a grand entrance

New York’s Grand Central Station has its iconic constellation ceiling that entices even the most harried commuters to look up. The lofty iron roof at Paris’ Gare Saint-Lazare is captured in Monet’s masterpiece, in which his impressionist clouds and steam capture the romance of train travel. Here in Marseille, the Gare Saint-Charles has a grand staircase that spills into the city. Flanked by majestic statues and palm trees with rows of Art Nouveau bronze dolphin lampposts cascading down the middle, the escaliers make you feel like a royal descending into a ball, even when lugging an awkward suitcase. There’s so much architectural eye candy the stairs are a destination in its own right. Here’s some backstory for my fellow history buffs. 

take a walk on the wild side

Marseille’s Quartiers Nord stretches across four arrondissements, from the beaches of l’Estaque to the ancient village of Château-Gombert. The vast district comprises 25% of the city’s population and brims with history (Musée de Terroir Marseillais), nature (the canal de Marseille), and agriculture (Tour des Pins farm and fromagerie) and industry (the original Ricard factory). Sadly, the sordid reputation of the area's projects keeps both locals and visitors away - the Quartiers Nord is conspicuously omitted from any tourist maps. The Hôtel du Nord is here to change that. 

living la vida modern

At NYU, inspired my cosmopolitan campuses in NY and Paris, I incorporated Urban Studies into my made-to-order major. I was, and still am, fascinated by how cities tick both architecturally and anthropologically, and particularly how their design affects the daily lives of their inhabitants. So when I learned that Marseille is home to Le Corbusier’s first and most famous foray into modernist apartment living: la Cité Radieuse, I was delighted. I was downright thrilled to discover the Radiant City still buzzed with the community spirit Le Corbusier intended. Visitors can tour an historically-preserved apartment, check out a bookstore, a rooftop museum MAMO, dine at a gastronomic restaurant, and even bunk at the hotel within the building’s walls. My fellow fans of architecture, design buffs, and curiosity seekers – this spot is for you!