"A Marseille ils parlent comme ca...."
Marseille Travel Blog› entry 9 of 12 › view all entries
On a whim, my friend Asra and I decided to take a little trip down to Marseille. I'd just returned from a week in Provence with my parents, and I was eager to return. We booked train tickets one rainy evening in Paris and by noon the next day we were traipsing through the trainstation in Marseille dragging our luggage and trying to buy tickets for the bus!
It was rainy when we arrived, but soon the weather cleared enough for us to make our way to a nearby beach. Marseille seems to be more of a port town than a beach town, but if you take a hike (or a bus) you can find the beaches.
We planned on booking a place to stay once we got there...so we spent much of the train ride searching in library books for recommended hostels and hotels to get phone numbers. Sitting in the main train station in Marseille with our baggage around us, we dialed up the numbers on our list. Asra, in her best and most polite French asked for vacancy at the Hotel Richlieu...hooray! A vacancy. Did they have one for the next night? Yes but a different room....alright, and the next night? Yes again, but...a different room! Asra looked at me questioningly. We could handle it. Done and done. Booked for three nights, in three different rooms at the Hotel Richlieu.
The bus took us practically to the front door of the hotel and we discovered that it was right on the water! Our first room had a balcony and an ocean view. We got settled and freshened up, then made our way to the beach for an hour. That evening, we decided to picnic on our balcony, so we brought home some wine, cheese, bread, saucisson, and chocolates (Lindt Creme Brulee of course)....we watched the sunset, chatted, sang songs, drank wine, and smoked cigarettes. We were very merry, and even made a 5 minute video that included a "tour" of the hotel, a view of a helicopter, and the sunset. A fun game was translating American songs into French. We worked on the song "I Swear" for about an hour...I still have our translation memorized.
The next day, we transferred all our stuff to Room Number 2.
After the beach, we walked up to the church (Notre Dame de la Garde) at the top of the hill. Apparently pilgrims have made pilgrimmages to this church for hundreds of years. Some would even put stones in their shoes as they made the climb as a penance. It was a beautiful church...but we were only able to stay for a little while because Mass was beginning, and we didn't wish to partake. We got a little lost on the way down the hill as we tried to make our way back to our hotel...eventually we made it, but we were exhausted. We lounged around and had another picnic and watched Top Gun in French.
The next day we did a little shopping and explored the town. For our third day we were in another room in an ocean view. We visited Le Panier (the old part of the city that was like Montmartre in Paris), Le Vieux Port, and bought several postcards.
We went to a bar after dinner, but we were having more fun talking to eachother reminiscing and making up stories about other people in the bar.
And so ended our stay in pretty Marseille. We had beautiful weather (and in Paris it was cold and rainy!), and we saw a lot of the city since we did so much walking. We had lots of fun laughing at the funny Marseille accents...a lilting sing-song that we found difficult to understand (despite our fluency in French!). The people were friendly and the atmosphere was completely laid back. Not to mention how beautiful the scenery was...it's always nice to be by the ocean! :)