Billions of euros were spent upgrading Marseille’s port for the city’s stint as a European Capital of Culture. Adam Batterbee
Billions of euros were spent upgrading Marseille’s port for the city’s stint as a European Capital of Culture. Adam Batterbee

My Kind of Place: Marseille, France



Why Marseille?

Provence’s sunny capital hasn’t stopped moving since its stint as a European Capital of Culture in 2013, when billions of euros were spent on sprucing up the Mediterranean port. The old Joliette docks, where the cruise-ships dock, are now unrecognisable, with innovative new museums, cultural centres, restaurants and shopping complexes filling what had been deserted areas.

The Vieux Port – with its colourful mix of workaday fishing boats and glossy pleasure craft – is much more of a joy to stroll around, thanks to rerouted traffic. Even La Canebière, the scruffy boulevard that bisects the city and ends at the port, has been cleaned up. But that’s not to say France’s second-largest city has been sanitised; there’s still plenty of rebellious grit in its cosmopolitan streets.

A comfortable bed

Marseille's newest five-star hotel, C2 (www.c2-hotel.com), was opened in 2014 by architect couple Claire Fatosme and Christian Lefèvre. The light-filled, modern rooms in a 19th-century town house are sleek yet inviting; stylish design touches are found everywhere in the hotel, from the chic bar to the spa. In summer, a boat takes guests to a private beach. Double rooms cost from €219 (Dh894), room only.

You can't beat the views of the Vieux Port from the five-star InterContinental Hotel Dieu (www.ihg.com). Contemporary rooms in this enormous 18th-century landmark on the edge of Le Panier are plush and cocooning, and most of them have terraces with port views. The luxury extends to a Clarins Spa, an indoor pool and the Michelin-starred Alcyone restaurant. Doubles cost from €204 (Dh833), room only.

The cosy Casa Honoré (www.casahonore.com), housed in an old printworks, resembles a Moroccan riad in the way its four rooms overlook a palm-shaded courtyard and its very welcome swimming pool. Rooms take inspiration from the 1950s and 1970s in their airy, understated style. Doubles cost from €150 (Dh612).

Find your feet

Norman Foster's ingenious mirrored sunshade, L'Ombrière, marks the start of the Vieux Port, with the city's tourist office (www.marseille-tourisme.com) a few moments away on La Canebière. To the north of the port is the maze of atmospheric hilly streets that makes up Marseille's oldest district, Le Panier. Just beyond are the new museums and shops of the old Joliette docks, including MuCEM (www.mucem.org), which celebrates Mediterranean culture – its roof terrace has excellent views of the city, too.

To the east of the port is the funky Cours Julien district, with graffiti-covered streets filled with bars, restaurants and vintage shops.

Meet the locals

The streets south of the port, where the sixth and seventh arrondissements mingle, have become a magnet for Marseille's trendy set. Check out the bars on Rue d'Endoume, including La Relève, as well as Fietje (www.fietje.fr) and La Part des Anges (www.lapartdesanges.com) on Rue Sainte. Or head to Cours Julien's Café Vian or Oogie (www.oogie.eu).

Book a table

It's a bit of a trek, but AM (www.alexandremazzia.com) is worth the effort if you want trailblazing, Michelin-star food that doesn't disappear into a foam of pretension. Chef Alexandre Mazzia's carefully crafted tasting menus cost from €69 (Dh282) and lean heavily towards seafood, with exquisite things being done to langoustine and spider crab.

One of the best bets for a meal in the Vieux Port, Le Poulpe (www.lepoulpe-marseille.com) prides itself on its "locavore" ethos. Almost everything comes from within 200 kilometres of Marseille, including the eponymous octopus, which gets turned into a gorgeous stew. The three-course lunch menu for €22 (Dh90) is very good value.

Shopper’s paradise

Meander along the lanes of Le Panier, Cours Julien and Cours Honoré d’Estienne d’Orves on the southern side of the port for one-off quirky boutiques, vintage and homeware shops, delis and chocolatiers. On Wednesday mornings, Cours Julien is taken over by a large farmers’ market, and there’s a lively North African vibe to the daily food market at nearby Noailles at the top of Le Canebière. Every morning, the Vieux Port echoes to the sound of the busy fish market.

What to avoid

You might spot bouillabaisse on a menu for €20 (Dh82), but it’s unlikely to be an authentic version. If you want the real deal – and want to splurge a bit – look out for the sign saying that the restaurant is one of the dozen or so that has signed the Marseille Charte de la Bouillabaisse, a charter written by chefs in 1980 outlining exactly what goes into this deliciously rich fish stew.

Don’t miss

If you can’t face a steep kilometre-long uphill walk, take the No 60 bus to the lavish neo-Byzantine basilica Notre Dame de la Garde, which sits at Marseille’s highest point and comes with sweeping views of the city and the sea.

Go there

Return flights with Emirates (www.emirates.com) from Dubai to Nice cost from Dh4,075, including taxes. The flight time is about six hours and 45 minutes. Trains to Marseille cost from €28 (Dh114) each way, and take about two hours and 45 minutes.

If you go

Flying

Despite the extreme distance, flying to Fairbanks is relatively simple, requiring just one transfer in Seattle, which can be reached directly from Dubai with Emirates for Dh6,800 return.

 

Touring

Gondwana Ecotours’ seven-day Polar Bear Adventure starts in Fairbanks in central Alaska before visiting Kaktovik and Utqiarvik on the North Slope. Polar bear viewing is highly likely in Kaktovik, with up to five two-hour boat tours included. Prices start from Dh11,500 per person, with all local flights, meals and accommodation included; gondwanaecotours.com 

The specs: 2018 Nissan Patrol Nismo

Price: base / as tested: Dh382,000

Engine: 5.6-litre V8

Gearbox: Seven-speed automatic

Power: 428hp @ 5,800rpm

Torque: 560Nm @ 3,600rpm

Fuel economy, combined: 12.7L / 100km

Turning waste into fuel

Average amount of biofuel produced at DIC factory every month: Approximately 106,000 litres

Amount of biofuel produced from 1 litre of used cooking oil: 920ml (92%)

Time required for one full cycle of production from used cooking oil to biofuel: One day

Energy requirements for one cycle of production from 1,000 litres of used cooking oil:
▪ Electricity - 1.1904 units
▪ Water- 31 litres
▪ Diesel – 26.275 litres

The five pillars of Islam

1. Fasting

2. Prayer

3. Hajj

4. Shahada

5. Zakat 

What is the definition of an SME?

SMEs in the UAE are defined by the number of employees, annual turnover and sector. For example, a “small company” in the services industry has six to 50 employees with a turnover of more than Dh2 million up to Dh20m, while in the manufacturing industry the requirements are 10 to 100 employees with a turnover of more than Dh3m up to Dh50m, according to Dubai SME, an agency of the Department of Economic Development.

A “medium-sized company” can either have staff of 51 to 200 employees or 101 to 250 employees, and a turnover less than or equal to Dh200m or Dh250m, again depending on whether the business is in the trading, manufacturing or services sectors. 

Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom

Director: James Wan

Starring: Jason Mamoa, Patrick Wilson, Amber Heard, Yahya Abdul-Mateen II 

Rating: 2/5

Russia's Muslim Heartlands

Dominic Rubin, Oxford

The Cairo Statement

1: Commit to countering all types of terrorism and extremism in all their manifestations

2: Denounce violence and the rhetoric of hatred

3: Adhere to the full compliance with the Riyadh accord of 2014 and the subsequent meeting and executive procedures approved in 2014 by the GCC

4: Comply with all recommendations of the Summit between the US and Muslim countries held in May 2017 in Saudi Arabia.

5: Refrain from interfering in the internal affairs of countries and of supporting rogue entities.

6: Carry out the responsibility of all the countries with the international community to counter all manifestations of extremism and terrorism that threaten international peace and security

All The Light We Cannot See

Creator: Steven Knight

Stars: Mark Ruffalo, Hugh Laurie, Aria Mia Loberti

Rating: 1/5 

Wenger's Arsenal reign in numbers

1,228 - games at the helm, ahead of Sunday's Premier League fixture against West Ham United.
704 - wins to date as Arsenal manager.
3 - Premier League title wins, the last during an unbeaten Invincibles campaign of 2003/04.
1,549 - goals scored in Premier League matches by Wenger's teams.
10 - major trophies won.
473 - Premier League victories.
7 - FA Cup triumphs, with three of those having come the last four seasons.
151 - Premier League losses.
21 - full seasons in charge.
49 - games unbeaten in the Premier League from May 2003 to October 2004.

Apple Mac through the years

1984 - Apple unveiled the Macintosh on January 24
1985 - Steve Jobs departed from Apple and established NeXT
1986 - Apple introduced the Macintosh Plus, featuring enhanced memory
1987 - Apple launched the Macintosh II, equipped with colour capabilities
1989 - The widely acclaimed Macintosh SE/30 made its debut
1994 - Apple presented the Power Macintosh
1996 - The Macintosh System Software OS underwent a rebranding as Mac OS
2001 - Apple introduced Mac OS X, marrying Unix stability with a user-friendly interface
2006 - Apple adopted Intel processors in MacBook Pro laptops
2008 - Apple introduced the MacBook Air, a lightweight laptop
2012 - Apple launched the MacBook Pro with a retina display
2016 - The Mac operating system underwent rebranding as macOS
2020 - Apple introduced the M1 chip for Macs, combining high performance and energy efficiency
2022 - The M2 chip was announced
2023 -The M3 line-up of chip was announced to improve performance and add new capabilities for Mac.

What is the FNC?

The Federal National Council is one of five federal authorities established by the UAE constitution. It held its first session on December 2, 1972, a year to the day after Federation.
It has 40 members, eight of whom are women. The members represent the UAE population through each of the emirates. Abu Dhabi and Dubai have eight members each, Sharjah and Ras al Khaimah six, and Ajman, Fujairah and Umm Al Quwain have four.
They bring Emirati issues to the council for debate and put those concerns to ministers summoned for questioning. 
The FNC’s main functions include passing, amending or rejecting federal draft laws, discussing international treaties and agreements, and offering recommendations on general subjects raised during sessions.
Federal draft laws must first pass through the FNC for recommendations when members can amend the laws to suit the needs of citizens. The draft laws are then forwarded to the Cabinet for consideration and approval. 
Since 2006, half of the members have been elected by UAE citizens to serve four-year terms and the other half are appointed by the Ruler’s Courts of the seven emirates.
In the 2015 elections, 78 of the 252 candidates were women. Women also represented 48 per cent of all voters and 67 per cent of the voters were under the age of 40.
 

COMPANY PROFILE

Company name: Almouneer
Started: 2017
Founders: Dr Noha Khater and Rania Kadry
Based: Egypt
Number of staff: 120
Investment: Bootstrapped, with support from Insead and Egyptian government, seed round of
$3.6 million led by Global Ventures

SERIE A FIXTURES

Saturday

AC Milan v Sampdoria (2.30pm kick-off UAE)

Atalanta v Udinese (5pm)

Benevento v Parma (5pm)

Cagliari v Hellas Verona (5pm)

Genoa v Fiorentina (5pm)

Lazio v Spezia (5pm)

Napoli v Crotone (5pm)

Sassuolo v Roma (5pm)

Torino v Juventus (8pm)

Bologna v Inter Milan (10.45pm)

How to get there

Emirates (www.emirates.com) flies directly to Hanoi, Vietnam, with fares starting from around Dh2,725 return, while Etihad (www.etihad.com) fares cost about Dh2,213 return with a stop. Chuong is 25 kilometres south of Hanoi.
 

Company profile

Company name: Ogram
Started: 2017
Founders: Karim Kouatly and Shafiq Khartabil
Based: Dubai, UAE
Industry: On-demand staffing
Number of employees: 50
Funding: More than $4 million
Funding round: Series A
Investors: Global Ventures, Aditum and Oraseya Capital

Muguruza's singles career in stats

WTA titles 3

Prize money US$11,128,219 (Dh40,873,133.82)

Wins / losses 293 / 149

Spec sheet

Display: 4.7" Retina HD, 1334 x 750, 625 nits, 1400:1, True Tone, P3
Chip: Apple A15 Bionic, 6-core CPU, 4-core GPU, 16-core Neural Engine
Camera: 12MP, f/1.8, 5x digital zoom, Smart HDR, Deep Fusion
Video: 4K+@ 24/30/60fps, full HD+@ 30/60fps, HD+@ 30 fps
Front camera:
7MP, f/2.2, Smart HDR, Deep Fusion; HD video+@ 30fps
Battery: Up to 15 hours video, 50 hours audio; 50% fast charge in 30 minutes with 20W charger; wireless charging
Biometrics: Touch ID
Durability: IP67, dust, water resistant up to 1m for 30 minutes
Price: From Dh1,849

MATCH INFO

New Zealand 176-8 (20 ovs)

England 155 (19.5 ovs)

New Zealand win by 21 runs