Marseille 19th May, 2010.
Marseille 19th May, 2010.
The wind had blown all night and Ariel was bounced around although we were moored against the wall with winds recorded over 35 knots. After looking around the market we gathered our pack lunch and made for the train station for the 12.28 p.m. to Marseille as we appeared not very far. Although we were shocked at the 16 euros each for the fare we were pleasantly surprised at the beautiful scenery on the journey along the coast to Marseille. The train appeared brand new and very modern and surprisingly it took 55 minutes into the city. The station is a very grand old building with very modern shops inside.
We were a little concerned at the streets outside the city. We walked down thin alleyways with lots of men just standing around staring. Thank goodness we soon found the Vieux Port and the yachts circled by hotels and restaurants. This was just how we had imagined Marseille was going to be. Later, we found some incredibly expensive clothes shops. The station area was obviously in the poorer area.
Marseille was famous for its association with crime, racism and the French Connection films than its ancient roots so it is often bypassed by visitors. It is one of France’s largest cities and the capital of Provence.
We made our way to the Saint Jean Fort and then to the St. Laurent Church above the harbour which was made by hundreds of prisoners. It was very dark inside but still contained some beautiful statues. We then walked to the giant 19th century Cathedrale de la Major which looks out to sea. A beautiful church with mosaic floors everywhere and beautiful ceilings and very well looked after.
We continued on our journey to the La Vielle Charite which is a 17th century hospice designed by Pierre Puget. It is now restored and is a centre for arts and science and special events are hold here.
Luckily, there was a bus to the Notre Dame church high above Marseille which we jumped on. We were amazed at the small roads the bus took right up to the church. Definitely, would not be allowed in the UK.
Notre Dame is outside and inside is wonderful. Well worth any effort to see it. The sun was shining but the wind was still blowing as hard as you came out of the church you were nearly knocked off your feet. Quite a funny feeling on such a beautiful day. We walked down to the harbour area as we had found a restaurant for dinner and we were luckily enough to be one of the first fortunately as it soon filled. Alison and I tried the mussels, Jim the fish stew and Steve the steak. Fabulous meal before we made our way back to the station for the journey back to Port du Bouc. We were able to spot the coves, the little harbours for yachts and fishing boats as the train made its way along the coast.
Port du Bouc is like a town without inhabitants at night. It is quite eerie as you don’t see a soul. Ariel was as we had left her but luckily the wind had calmed a little for our night’s sleep.