Marseille is known as a vibrant city, and it's mostly with good reason. Even on the winding back streets of the Old Town, there are raucous conversations taking place among locals, and it seems like there's always something going on at every hour. Between the active port and the souk-like markets, it can all get a bit overwhelming, and when that’s the case, visitors can head to the Place aux Huiles for a wonderful respite from the daily hub-bub.
Translated, the Place aux Huiles is Oil Square, which refers to the old canal that led from the Old Port to a shipping point for barrels of olive oil. In the early 20th century it was filled in, and later on the Place aux Huiles was built and named in honor of its past.
Today the L-shaped square, designed to resemble an Italian piazza, is just off the Quay Rive Neuve on the Old Port and is lined with some of the best restaurants and bars in town. But because it is off the main drag and only open to pedestrians, the area is relaxing, quiet and the perfect place to while away a lazy afternoon after sightseeing in the morning.