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Published: November 20th 2019
Our last day in Nice was beautiful- sunny and warm. Our goal today was to walk from Nice to Villefrance- sur -Mer. We started off around 10 AM through the streets of Nice toward the Port and then along the seaside all the way to Villefrance. It was a beautiful walk past rocky beaches, beautiful villas and through small villages. The terrain was smooth sidewalks but lots of steep hills. Our pace was leisurely and we arrived in Villefrance about 1 PM. We strolled through the narrow streets browsing in a few shops and then arrived at the harbour where the water was littered with boats and the shoreline cluttered with sidewalk cafes. We couldn't resist sitting down and having a nice leisurely meal by the water. We met a family from New York/St. Thomas, BVI who were celebrating some family milestones from the 80 year old patriarch, his wife who was 70 and his son's 30th anniversary. Their main aim while in France was trying the French cuisine and they told us of a couple of Michelin restaurants they had patronized. A bit out of our price range!!!
By mid afternoon we made our way back up to the
highway and caught the Bus 100 back to Nice. Having had a good lunch we planned a "clean up" supper so few provisions needed to be purchased. We walked through the busy Old Town soaking up the atmosphere. Our evening was spent packing up and planning our early getaway in the morning.
We had everything planned out to a T for our early morning rise, depart apartment, catch the tram to the train station and be on our way to Marseille at 8:23AM. Unfortunately the best laid plans sometime go off the rail. We caught the tram, which was quite crowded, and took it to the end of the line which I thought was the train station. When we got off, we looked left and right to see signs to the station but all we saw was a large parking garage. We headed toward it thinking the train station must be on the other side. We met a young man and asked where the train station was and he sorrowfully told us that it was back the way we had come about 6 stops. OH! OH!! By now it is after 8 AM and we know that the tram
is not super fast so we are doubtful we will make the train. We disembarked from the tram about 8:18 and ran as fast as we could, dodging through the crowds that were either going the same way we were or going the other way. We got to the gate, scanned our ticket, saw the train but we still had a flight of stairs to go up and then go down to the track and just as we were coming down the stairs the train pulled out!!! Now what? Will there be another train to Marseille today, will we have to buy another ticket? Those were the questions we asked at the Information Desk and luckily there was another train going at 11:23 and we could use the same ticket. What good luck!!! Since we had not taken time to eat anything for breakfast, we found a table outside the station and bought coffee and a croissant and sat for a couple of hours using the WIFI and talking to fellow travellers. The time went by very quickly and all in all we had a relaxing morning after the initial shock wore off.
We arrived in Marseille around 2:00.
It was a very warm day!! Luckily our hotel, Holiday Inn Express- St Charles was right across the street from the station. We were able to get checked in and into our room quickly. We decided to go back to the station and buy our bus ticket for tomorrows journey to the airport and find out exactly where we would catch the bus. That accomplished we set off to see the sights of Marseille. Our bodies say "Food and drink needed" so we found a street café and settled down with a slice of quiche (served much like you would purchase a slice of pizza here) and a glass of wine. We were amazed at the number of men we saw sitting in cafes drinking whatever and hardly a woman in sight!
Marseille is the second largest city in France and has a population of nearly a million people. It is a popular cruise ship stop where you can do a day trip to some of the favourite places in Provence. Since we did not have a lot of time and didn't want to be out and about too late, we opted to take the Petit Train. This was
a pleasant 2 hour trip that took us to the high point of the city- Notre Dame de la Garde which gave us an amazing view of the city. After the tour we meandered back to the hotel through the crowded pedestrian streets full of mostly men sitting in the cafes socializing.
We had a relaxing evening assessing our time in France.
Tuesday morning we were up and down to the bountiful breakfast that was included in our room rate. We were checked out and across the street to the bus departure area in record time. Thank goodness we didn't have far to go as it was pouring rain, really the first rainy morning we had our whole time in France. It was a bit chaotic getting on the bus as it was delayed because of heavy traffic caused by the rain but we finally got our luggage stowed under the bus, got a seat and settled in for the ride to the airport. It is about a 45 minute drive and we did have some stop and go traffic but got to the airport in plenty of time, had a smooth check in and time for some
last minute shopping in the Duty Free. Our plane was to leave at 12:10 PM but was delayed about 45 minutes sitting on the tarmac. The flight was smooth- so much better flying during the day than at night!! We arrived in Montreal around 2:45 DST. We went through Customs there which was nice to have that done and not have to do it in Toronto. We had about a two hour layover so had a leisurely sit down and headed for our gate about 5. Unfortunately there was some mechanical problem and our flight to TO was delayed about an hour but took off about 6:30 and landed in TO around 7:30. We contacted our chauffeur and the car was at the post shortly after our call. We arrived home in Seaforth/Clinton around 10:30. A long day!! Another wonderful eventful adventure!! Where to next????
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