Le Brasilia - photo by Olivier Amsellem
Le Brasilia - photo by Olivier Amsellem

One thing not to miss in Marseille

If you're visiting for Euro 2016 get up early and visit this Corbusier-inspired gem by Fernand Boukobza

A short hop from La Cité Radieuse, this curving slab on stilts is a fine example of local boy Fernand Boukobza’s indebtedness to Le Corbusier. Begun five years later, Le Brasilia also features split-level apartments with loggias and is built around 10 communities. However, it wasn’t a city commission, but a private construction for a developer targeting low- and middle-income families, and its name and inspiration was the result of a visit to the Brazilian capital. The building arcs in order to take maximum advantage of the light, while a series of roughcast concrete spiral staircases coil themselves down one side to form a fire escape. As anyone from a tower block in Glasgow will tell you, béton brut looks so much better by the Mediterranean. (Boulevard Barral/Avenue de Mazargues). 

Check out the Wallpaper* City Guide to Marseille - invaluable as a smart way of fast-tracking you to the best delights of one of the most beautiful cities in the world. It really is a tightly edited, discreetly packaged list of the best a location has to offer the design-conscious traveller. And if you'd like to see more béton brut, tons of it in fact, buy a copy of This Brutal World here.