A Day Trip to Marseille

Yesterday, we took a day trip to Marseille.  As some of you know, Marseille was one of the 3 cities we were considering moving to almost one year ago.  However, due to Marseille’s mostly negative reputation, we decided to move to Montpellier instead.  Marseille is known as one of the cities that native Marseillians (is that what they’re called?) love, but all other French people hate.  So although Marseille wasn’t at the top of our list of places to visit, we were still curious to see what this place was all about.  Thankfully, we had a friend in our congregation who had lived in Marseille for a couple of years and was willing to show us all around.

I actually had been to Marseille once before, about 4 years ago, for about 3 hours.  However, the 3 hours consisted of me being rained on, getting sea sick, and getting bombed by a large sea gull.  Not great memories.  It was time to make some new ones…

We weren’t off to a great start, as it was raining when we first got there.  Marseille is supposedly known for great weather, and I must truly be the only person who is 0-2 in the great weather department.  Fortunately, there was a large shopping mall on the outskirts that could provide some great protection.  Coincidentally (or not), this mall is also home to an awesome store called Primark, which is like a Forever 21, but oh so much better and cheaper.  So the girls spent the next 90 minutes quickly shopping while the guys patiently waited in a nearby Starbucks.  No photos in Primark – there was no time for that!

After the shopping frenzy (who knew how tiring shopping can be?!?), it was time for a liquid refreshment.  There’s no Starbucks in Montpellier, so it was nice to be reunited with one in Marseille.  I even splurged for a Caramel Frappucino, something I’d never buy in SF…

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Finally, we were ready to do some touristy stuff.  We drove into the city center close to Vieux Port, which reminds me of Fisherman’s Wharf, but without all the cheesiness…

Vieux Port with 2 fortifications guarding the entrance into the city

Vieux Port with 2 fortifications guarding the entrance into the city

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Marseille Selfie

Marseille Selfie

Lunch!

Lunch!

After walking along the water, we just happened (!!) to be on a major shopping street in the center of Marseille.  10 people walking down the street with 10 pairs of eyes looking at attractive window displays, let’s just say it was very slow progress to walk down the street…

Walking down the long street full of lovely shops...

Walking down the long street full of lovely shops…

The men commiserate with Daniel when his wife walks into a shop...

The men commiserate with Daniel when his wife walks into a shop…

Dave tries on some blue suede shoes...

Dave tries on some blue suede shoes…

Olé!

Olé!

My 2nd Starbucks of the day.  Thanks Céline!

My 2nd Starbucks of the day. Thanks Céline!

Thankfully, Ben (our “tour guide” for the day), was very patient with us.  A couple more city sights of Marseille…

Fountain in front of Palais de la Justice

Fountain in front of Palais de la Justice

Marseille Street Art

Marseille Street Art

We then drove to Notre Dame de la Garde.  It’s a beautiful striped church at the top of a hill.  Even more beautiful than the church however, were the views of Marseille from the top…

Notre Dame de la Garde

Notre Dame de la Garde

Striped Arches

Striped Arches

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Views from the Notre Dame.  Nearby islands, with the most famous one housing Chateau d'If (from Count of Monte Cristo) in the foreground

Views from the Notre Dame. Nearby islands, with the most famous one housing Chateau d’If (from Count of Monte Cristo) in the foreground

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Panoramic of Marseille and its beautiful surroundings

Panoramic of Marseille and its beautiful surroundings

After we got our fill of Marseille, we headed to Les Calanques, which are beautiful coves near Marseille.  We didn’t have enough time to truly explore them, but at least we were able to see one.  I would love to come back to this area when the weather is better.

One of the small towns of Les Calanques called Sormiou...

One of the small towns of Les Calanques called Sormiou…

Can you believe that this is a 2 way road?  Only in France!

Can you believe that this is a 2 way road? Only in France!

After a long day in Marseille, all of us were quite tired, so we thought we would grab a quick bite to eat before starting on the long drive home.  What better place to go than to return to the scene of the crime, the mall where we started the day?  So that’s where we went.  Sadly, my favorite store was now closed…

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The verdict on Marseille?  Well, it wasn’t as bad as I had remembered, and it actually can be quite beautiful, given it’s surroundings, but I’m very happy that we chose Montpellier.  Even without a Starbucks or a Primark, I’m still happy to be living here!

 

2 responses to “A Day Trip to Marseille

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