Marseilles had never been on my list of places to visit, until earlier this year when planning a sourcing trip to France I discovered what appeared to be the most unique and fascinating place to stay. I often plan my travel itineraries based on hotels I want to visit, and Pavillion Southway quickly became the driving force for me wanting to visit Marseilles. When I discovered that it was close to Le Corbusier's Unite d'Habitation it was a done deal.

Entering Pavillion Southway, a 19th Century artist house in Mazargues, a leafy district of Marseilles, is like walking into a surrealist dream, one which you don't have to wake up from. Primarily a gallery and exhibition space, Pavillion Southway was conceived by Emmanuelle Luciani, an art historian, curator and artist herself. In addition to housing her own work, the space is also dedicated to showcasing the work of local artists, and regularly hosts residencies.

What makes Pavillion Southway so unique, and how I found myself there, is that Emmanuelle also rents a bedroom there which means you can immerse yourself in the house, it's history and art, and really take time to appreciate the ethereal collection of art and objects that adorn the house. It is an incredibly unique place to spend the night, with a beautiful garden, and was the most perfect base to explore Marseilles from. Making it even more special, Emmanuelle is the most accommodating host, who made it her personal mission to ensure we had tables booked in some of Marseilles best restaurants. The fact that her family are one of Marseilles original coffee roasters means that she is personal friends with most of Marseilles restaurants owners and she was so kind to ensure we did not leave Marseilles without dining at both Le Chateau and Tuba, two of Marseilles best seaside restaurants. The drive to Le Chateau, set in the Sormiou Calanque, is truly one of the most spectacular roads to a restaurant I have ever driven on, and Tuba is the perfect spot to see the sunset over the Mediterranean coast.

Adding to its appeal, Pavillion Southway, is only minutes away from one of Le Corbusier's most famous architectural projects, Unite d'Habitation. Designed in the 1940's and built in 1952, this architectural masterpiece gave birth to the Brutalist movement and remains one of the most visionary architectural projects of the 20th Century. Parts of the building are open to the public and I spent my last few hours in Marseilles wandering the grounds and corridors of the building in awe of it's progressive design. Commissioned with a view to solving France's post war need for public housing, it felt so contemporary, but much more inclusive and thoughtful than anything designed since Le Corbusiers time. What I also discovered during my visit there is that there is actually a small hotel and bar in the building which means that you can experience up close Le Corbusiers vision. A reason in itself to return to Marseilles.

In short, Marseilles turned out to be a real gem, and somewhere I wished I had added to my travel itinerary much earlier. All in good time!

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