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Published: February 8th 2008
Marseilles was our next stop and it is apparently the cultural melting pot of France (whatever that means). Straight away though we did notice that it is different from the rest of southern France, a little edgier and with the markings of various cultures. The afternoon we arrived we walked around the old town and down past the Vieux Port. From the port we hiked up the huge hill to the Basillica Notre Dame de la Garde which sits high above the city. Great views of the city were our reward and the Basillica was impressive, there were also some scars on the outside from WWII.
On our second day we took a day trip to France's oldest city, Avignon. It's most famous for being the home of the Pope in the 1300's after they fled from Rome. During this time they built the Papal Palace and some other grand buildings which we wandered around. We also saw the bridge of Avignon which is apparently famous in a nursery rhyme for people dancing on it but neither of us could recall it.
After circling Avignon's walls we jumped back on the train and headed to Arles, home to Vincent
Van Gogh Painting
If he had subjects like this to paint he probably would have sold more than one painting in his life
Van Gogh for 15 months and where he painted some 300 canvases (It's also where he got into the infamous argument where he lopped off part of his own ear!). While the city wasn't that fond of him at the time they have made up for it now and have placed easel-like notices at sights around the city where he painted his famous works, with the painting on it, showing where he would have set up his easel. For some of the places we needed more imagination than others but others looked much the same.
On our final night in Marseilles we went out for dinner and sampled the famous Bouillabaise which we had to order the day before as the chef needs to go to the fish market to get all the necessary ingredients. Bouillabaisse is made up of 5 or 6 different fish cooked separately and served with soup. We had pretty high expectations for it as a serve set us back €35. We were glad we tried it as a trip to Marseilles wouldn't be complete without it, but we probably won't ever have it again.
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