Marseille is France’s third-largest city home to the country’s largest port, and is a popular port of call on many Mediterranean cruises.

We visited Marseille on a cruise and thought it was a great city for independent exploration rather than a shore excursion. We headed to the Vieux Port (Old Port of Marseille), to browse the Christmas market and shop for local crafts and specialties, sip on some mulled wine, and then check out other local businesses and artists. We like to bring home souvenirs from travel, usually food and other consumable products, along with art for our home. We always prefer to support the local businesses when we shop, and have found street markets or local events are a good choice for souvenir shopping.

Here are our recommendations for shopping in Marseille, souvenirs worth bringing home with you.

Foodie Delights

Packing your bags for Marseille and dreaming of all the delicious food? Don’t forget to leave some space for edible souvenirs! Marseille’s vibrant food scene translates perfectly into a treasure trove of foodie finds, waiting to be discovered and brought back home. From classic Provencal ingredients to unique local specialties, Marseille offers plenty of foodie souvenirs.

NOTE: Be sure to check for updated information on what food products you can bring home with you. Most will be okay, if packaged and sealed, but that won’t pass muster. Check here.

L’Esperentines Chocolates

L’Esperentines Chocolates are a popular food souvenir made in Marseille. The chocolate shop is known for its delicious and unique chocolate – they use olive oil, a twist on the usual recipe. The recipe was introduced in 1999 as a way to celebrate the city’s 2,600th anniversary. 

These exclusive chocolates have a subtle blend of high-quality cocoa with hints of orange peel, almonds, and mint, all blended together with organic olive oil. You can taste the olive oil. It’s not overpowering, but it adds a new touch that might just surprise you. 

The presentation of the chocolates is a work of art, packaged in the shape of an olive leaf with almond, orange and mint filling. 


Navettes are traditional boat-shaped cookies. Legend has it that these cookies represent Mary Magdalene and Saint Martha’s journey to Marseille over 2000 years ago. 

While classic orange-flavored Navettes remain a favorite, you can also try cinnamon, rich chocolate, fragrant vanilla, and lavender flavors. Navettes are traditionally enjoyed around the Feast of the Annunciation (usually celebrated on March 25, postponed if it falls during Holy Week or Easter Week), and they are often exchanged as heartfelt gifts during this time. Delicate yet delicious, they make an ideal souvenir or gift to bring a piece of Marseille back home with you.


Pastis is an anise-flavored liquor popular in Marseille. Pastis, known for its intriguing transformation from caramel brown to light yellow when combined with water, is made with licorice flavoring and a neutral base spirit. 

Close of on a Ricard jug and a water bottle with its logo. Ricard is a pastis, an anise and licorice flavored aperitif typical from Southern France

It can be enjoyed straight up, diluted with water, or combined into refreshing cocktails.

Olive Oil

Discover the liquid gold of Provence: high-quality olive oil that brings a touch of Mediterranean to your dishes. It is perfect for dressing salads or drizzling on vegetables. 

When purchasing olive oil as a souvenir in Marseille, prioritize quality over quantity. The good stuff is expensive, although you can still find a great value to take home.


Marseille’s spice markets provide a range of exotic blends and fragrant single spices. Among the many options, Herbes de Provence is the timeless favorite. Made from a combination of savory herbs and floral notes, it symbolizes the region’s sun-kissed landscapes and rich culinary tradition. Sprinkle a pinch onto roasted vegetables, grilled meats, or into marinades.

Aside from Herbes de Provence, you can also try:

  • Fleur de Sel: This prized sea salt, harvested from the salt marshes of Camargue, adds a delicate crunch and briny flavor to dishes.
  • Saffron: Known as “red gold,” saffron is a luxurious spice made from the Crocus flower. Its vibrant color and subtle flavor make it a prized ingredient in Mediterranean cuisine, most especially in the city’s signature dish, bouillabaise.
  • Bouquet Garni: A traditional blend of dried herbs such as thyme, parsley, and bay leaf, commonly used to flavor soups, stews, and sauces. 
  • Piment d’Espelette: Originating from the Basque region, this mild chili pepper adds a gentle heat and fruity undertones to dishes, giving them a distinct flavor profile. A go-to choice for Provencal chefs who want a little spice and smokiness.
  • Anise: Used in both sweet and savory dishes, anise has a licorice-like flavor that complements baked goods, liqueurs, and Mediterranean-style seafood dishes.

Local Wines

In a country known for its extensive wine industry, it’s not surprising that Marseilles offers a great selection.

A favorite is the Côtes de Provence rosés. These refreshing wines are made from a blend of Grenache, Cinsault, and Syrah grapes. On a sunny day, after visiting a lot of shops in the old port area, I found a great place to sit and look out at the water and enjoy some cheese and a glass of rosé. It was an enjoyable afternoon pick me up.

If you want a bolder wine selection, try the Bandol reds. These robust  wines, made mostly with the local Mourvèdre grape, have rich notes of dark fruit and spice. The crisp Cassis Blanc made from Clairette and Marsanne grapes, or the refreshing Cassis rosé crafted from Grenache and Cinsault, are also solid choices.

I recommend sipping and tasting at a cafe first, then find a shop that carries your favorite choices. Wine must be packed in your checked luggage, so consider traveling with a wine sleeve to protect it (check out these reusable wine sleeves here). Or, if you buy a lot of wine when you travel (or want to get super fancy), you can try one of these specialty wine suitcases.

Local Crafts & Specialties

One of the easiest ways to buy local is by directly patronizing local artisans and crafts people. Here are some suggestions of items that make great gifts.

Provençal Fabrics

Provençal fabrics are a popular souvenir in Marseilles. The colorful fabrics with traditional “indienne” patterns capture the region’s rich cultural heritage.

While these are gorgeous fabrics, they can also be used for practical for everyday use – brighten up your dining table with a colorful tablecloth or upgrade your kitchen with matching napkins. A tote bag made from these fabrics is both practical and stylish, perfect for carrying essentials.

Santon Figurines

Santon figurines are small, hand-painted nativity scene characters that serve as a delightful reminder of the region’s unique heritage. 

Originating from the Provençal tradition of creating nativity scenes, Santon figurines are expertly made with fine detail and painted by experienced artists. Each figurine portrays a character from traditional Provencal life, ranging from humble farmers and artisans to beloved village personalities. They may be Christmas or religious themed, but many more are just representations of French life.

We visited Maseilles when the Christmas market was on. There was a special area for Santon vendors, probably a dozen or so in all. I wanted to buy a starter set, something that I loved as it was, but that I could add on to in future visits. We probably spent an hour or so wandering the various Santon vendors, looking at the various styles (they are remarkably similar, but some vendors specialize in specific themes) and prices (all very similar and based on size). Eventually I decided on a wine-themed Santon, with a base that’s a wine bar (or taverna) with three figures representation the wine seller, barrel maker, and bar maid. It has a prominent spot on a shelf  in our wine cellar.

Petanque Balls

When looking for souvenirs in Marseille, don’t overlook Petanque balls. These metal boules, essential for the popular game, not only offer entertainment but also serve as excellent conversation starters. Péetanque, rooted in French tradition, is a sport where players roll balls toward a target, with the closest ones scoring points. It’s very similar to bocce  or lawn bowling.

We don’t have room for a pentanque pit, but I thought they’d make a fun centerpiece on a table in the family room.

Savon de Marseille (Marseille Soap)

Another popular souvenir in Marseille, France, is the iconic Savon de Marseille, or Marseille Soap. Originally, the soap was solely cube-shapedm but we now found it also available in bars (much easier to pack). Made from simple, organic ingredients such as olive oil and sea salt. Its production methods have mostly remained unchanged over the years, preserving its authenticity and quality.

What sets Marseille Soap apart is its local production, which continues to thrive in Marseille and the surrounding area. Artisanal soap makers use traditional methods, ensuring that each bar of soap maintains the same level of purity and craftsmanship as those made years ago. It’s gentle cleansing properties make it suitable for all skin types, so it’s a practical way to take a piece of Marseille’s rich heritage home with you.Marseille.

We selected a dozen different fragrances to take home, some of which were included in gift baskets and some of which I kept for personal use. When I’m down to the last bar, I figure it will be time to make a return trip!

Nautical Touches

You’d expect a port city to have its share of natuical products, and Marseille didn’t disappoint. It’s not our decorating theme, so we were just looking. We saw many a gift shop doing a brisk business for visitors who love a nautical theme. We think these provide the best value (although none of them had a low price tag).

Model Ships

Model ships were display most everywhere. These miniature replicas of Marseille’s traditional fishing boats are expertly made to replicate the design and character of the originals. 

Nautical Prints & Maps

Nautical prints and maps provide unique and memorable souvenirs in Marseille. Nautical prints capture the beauty of Marseille’s bustling harbor, showcasing the details of ships, boats, and waterfront architecture. Some are current, others from days long gone. 

I enjoyed the vintage-styled maps and thought they would work well framed and hanging in a den or family room. Alas, we have an abundance of artwork still waiting to be framed and hung, so had to pass this one by.


Save to your favorite travel and shopping boards for your next trip to France.