The dense streets of the city’s Noailles district are usually thrumming with activity. As cafes and restaurants start reopening, we find locals excited to welcome visitors back
For almost a century, traders at Marseille’s Marché des Capucins have taken their morning coffee or pastis standing shoulder to shoulder at the curved zinc counter of Café Prinder. No longer, thanks to Covid-19. “C’est interdit,” says manager Pierre Auteroche – known to all as Pierrot – his blue surgical mask hanging around his neck as he eats lunch. “It’s a shame but that’s the way it is.” The cafe is empty except for two customers sitting at separate tables. “It’s the first day of our reopening,” shrugs Pierrot. “Let’s see what happens.”
Prinder is one of the longest-running establishments in Noailles, a quartier known locally as the “belly” of Marseille, France’s oldest city. Outside on the market square, shoppers haggle at stalls spilling with seasonal fruit and vegetables from Provence. With restaurants across France closed from March until Tuesday this week, farmers have struggled to sell the resulting glut of produce.