It may be hard to imagine feeling the necessity to skip town when the capital has so much to offer. But to really understand France - its people, culture, values and storied past - you'll need to reach beyond the well-heeled streets of Paris. Some of these spots make ideal day trips from the city while others deserve your undivided attention. All are picture- perfect so keep your cameras handy.

The Pastis Experts in Marseille

It isn’t wine or cocktails that mark happy hour for locals in Marseille but Pastis, the anise-flavored drink of choice first commercialized by Paul Ricard during the prohibition of absinthe. Ricard’s recipe and formula– star anise, licorice root; five volumes of water for one volume of Pastis - proved an instant hit back in the early 1930’s and is largely responsible for popularizing the aperitif-hour tradition in the south.

Today’s experts can be found at La Maison du Pastis, a shop tucked deep in the colonnades of the Vieux Port specialized in 75 different varieties of Pastis and Absinthe. Be sure to ask for a taste before you pick up a bottle, the staff is more than happy to oblige.

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La Maison Du Pastis

108 Quai du Port
Marseille, France
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