Look, let’s be real: there’s a reason nobody visits Marseille. Aside from its high murder rate, abandoned buildings, and general lack of things to do, it’s also windy there. All the time. This threat to good hair days is inescapable in the Winds of Provence, which may sound like the name of an obscure woodwind quintet but is actually a region of southeast France that’s continually battered by strong winds. Marseille’s nemesis? The Mistral, a dry wind that can reach speeds up to 55 miles per hour. On a good day, the winds will only reach 20.
to cope with this torturous existence, the population of Marseille has, like so many mad geniuses before them, turned to art. Street art, to be exact. The Panier district of the city in particular is covered with vivid murals. The neighborhood itself looks exactly the way you want a Provençal neighborhood to look: pastel houses, ivy-covered walls, narrow stairways that provide a brief respite from the wind.
It’s an interesting neighborhood to visit, should you find yourself in Marseille. But unless you are planning to face death on the steep cliffs of the Calanques, I would suggest skipping the city and heading to Nice.
In fact, I’ll save you the trip entirely. Live vicariously through these photos I took in Le Panier. For a truly immersive experience, sit by a fan on full blast.