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Published: March 20th 2012
Just a very quick blog around a weekend we had in Marseille.
First thing is don't go in February its blooming freezing!!
Anyway Marseille is a very mixed city, the old town around the Vieux Port (old port) is very picturesque and lovely to stroll around and watch the fishing boats coming in and sell their catch on the harbour side. The port is dominated by the basilica
. A beautiful Neo-Byzantine
church is situated at the highest natural point in Marseille that looks down on the city. It reminds me slightly of Christ the Redeemer statue in Rio. Just next to the port is the Quartier Du Panier One of the city's oldest districts (and France’s), the Panier is where the ancient Phocaeans first settled and founded the city of Massilia. Its full of tiny streets and steep steps that are flanked on either side by crumbling merchant houses. It is full of little shops and bars, it’s definitely a locals area that has a shabby chic that is reminiscent of parts of Havana or even Latin America.
Out of the old part of the city Marseille take on a much more rough and
ready feel to it, you can tell is a working city and if I am honest the dirtiest city I have seen in Europe. There is rubbish and graffiti everywhere and it certainly has a more edgy feeling to it at night and away from the main tourist area’s, but this gives it a more exciting vibe you don’t get in many European cities. No visit to Marseille is complete without a boat trip out into the Bay of Marseille and the Frioul archipelago
which comprises four islands, one of which, If, is the location of Château d'If
, made famous by the Dumas
novel The Count of Monte Cristo
. We took and extended boat tour out to the Calanques One of the highlights of the coast of southern France, the calanques are a series of limestone cliffs, fjords and rocky promontories plunging into the Mediterranean, for about 20 kilometres of coastline between Marseille
and Cassis. In places there are pine trees clinging to the gleaming rock, and the crystal clear green and tourquise waters. In summer I bet it is amazing to swim in the various coves but as it was freezing with a -5 wind chill we stayed on the boat and wrapped up warm.
Marseille is just about right for a weekend visit, there is plenty to see and do but if like us you just fancy some casual sightseeing mixed with amazingly fresh seafood washed down with the local wine and a fairly lively nightlife then it is just about perfect.
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