"A Marseille ils parlent comme ca...."

Marseille Travel Blog

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Asra and our sea view

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.

Room number 1
  We bought a 3 day bus pass, and since the busses down there are as efficient as the metro in Paris, it was a good way to get around.

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.

Me and the view

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.

Asra on the beach
..this time we had a street view and no balcony.  After coffee on the downstairs patio overlooking the water, we donned our swimsuits and summery dresses and made our way to the bus stop to get a ride to the beach.  Unfortunately for us (and for the sweet little old lady lugging her groceries), no busses were running that day...May 1!  How could we forget that it was a holiday?  There was no option but to walk all the way to the beach.  A two hour walk in the blazing sun.  We got lovely sunburns!  The beach was fun..even though there were no bathrooms.  I was forced to make use of the rock wall that jutted out into the sea...with the boulders as my cover and Asra as my lookout, I peed with a lovely view of the sea with the sounds of waves crashing all around me.
Beach
 

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.

Sunset
  For lunch we ate some authentic African cuisine at a place recommended by one of Asra's guidebooks.  It was delicious--chicken, couscous smothered with tomatoes with onions...and ginger juice to drink.  That evening we got dressed up to go out on the town...for dinner we had bouillabaisse at a little restaurant by the port.  It was an experience, let me tell you.  I'm glad I tried it, but I don't think I'd ever get it again.  It's fish soup, which would be fine if you didn't have to fight with all the bones!  I almost choked to death at least 4 times during the meal..but that's just because I'm not used to picking out fishbones.  The pastis was delicious though.

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.

Hotel Le Richlieu...where we stayed
..and when some Romanian soldiers on leave started chatting to us in broken english, we decided to just call it a night.  (They were perfectly nice, but we were tired and out of money).  On the way home we had a photoshoot and got whistled at by several passing cars. 

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! :)

 

JPLfr13 says:
Excellent Marseille description!
Enjoy you like it-)
Posted on: Sep 20, 2008
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Asra and our sea view
Asra and our sea view
Room number 1
Room number 1
Me and the view
Me and the view
Asra on the beach
Asra on the beach
Beach
Beach
Sunset
Sunset
Hotel Le Richlieu...where we stayed
Hotel Le Richlieu...where we stayed
Picnic dinner...
Picnic dinner...
Morning coffee
Morning coffee
Beautiful day
Beautiful day
Memorial Statue and Asra
Memorial Statue and Asra
Crystal clear water
Crystal clear water
Us on the beach
Us on the beach
Notre Dame de la Garde
Notre Dame de la Garde
On the way up!
On the way up!
On a clear day you can see forever…
On a clear day you can see foreve…
Postcard perfect!
Postcard perfect!
Notre Dame de la Garde
Notre Dame de la Garde
Inside the church
Inside the church
Ceiling
Ceiling
Window
Window
Room number 3
Room number 3
Le Vieux Port
Le Vieux Port
Asra and Le Vieux Port
Asra and Le Vieux Port
Marseille
Marseille
Me and Marseille
Me and Marseille
Asra in Le Panier
Asra in Le Panier
Le Panier
Le Panier
Cathedral de la Major
Cathedral de la Major
Le Panier
Le Panier
Asra in room number 3
Asra in room number 3
Sunset number 3
Sunset number 3
Sunset and yacht.
Sunset and yacht.
Out on the town!
Out on the town!
Photo schoot
Photo schoot
Photo shoot (purse modeling!)
Photo shoot (purse modeling!)
We had a good time with this
We had a good time with this
View from the train station
View from the train station
Asra and her pistachio dessert
Asra and her pistachio dessert
Me and my creamy powdery delicious…
Me and my creamy powdery deliciou…
Marseille
photo by: voordax