On a regular basis, My Next Memory would like to give you our real feedback from a French destination and tell you how it’s really like to travel there.
So buckle up, and come with us. This month, we take you to Marseille!
This is a sunny city, this is a city at first sight.
At the end of the summer, the suitcase slid across the stone pavement and creaked. From the train station to the old port, all the way through the narrow streets, stepping on the uneven road, watching the tram tracks intertwined, screaming.
The closer to the port, the more lively the atmosphere is. Earlier in the morning, when you come to the old port, you can drill your nose without getting close to the sea bream. If you get closer, you will see a long-awaited seafood stall on the edge of the port, which has a long history. Fish market. The freshly caught fish fluttered on the board, struggling with splashes of water and being plated with golden sunlight, and jubilantly blossoming under the blue sky.
This is Marseille, with the blue and the Mediterranean and the generous sunshine of the day, and the high and low conversations of the hawkers, the locals ask for the price of the discussion, the joy of the visitors when the seagull approaches. The city, like the orange-flavored sparkling water that has lost an effervescent tablet in the summer, sizzles and is very lively, so that people can fall in love at first sight.
On the Old Port Square, there are always a variety of street performers performing. Stroll around the port and visit the buildings and monuments on both sides of the port. The port is densely packed with private yachts and various types of vessels, and the neatly arranged white masts naturally form a special landscape.
Standing in the port, you can see the distant island of Yves, which is famous for the Count of Monte Cristo. It takes only 20 minutes by boat from the old port. On this desolate island, a medieval-style castle stands proudly, echoing a lighthouse over 10 meters high on the other side. In the slap of the waves and the whistling sound of the sea breeze, the whole castle looks incredibly bright under the blue sky, and once you step into the castle, the sinister darkness of the Duifa prison in the essays of Dumas is floating on the edge of the castle. Different atmospheres can only be seen through the narrow air vents that can’t be touched.
Back at the port, take the bus all the way up, climb the winding road, and the church of the Virgin of the Virgin Mary is slowly appearing in front of you. It is said that there are countless churches in Europe, and the Notre Dame de la garde in Marseille is definitely not to be missed. The golden statue of the Virgin on the top of the church is a symbol of Marseille and a protector of sailors, fishermen and all Maasai. Because it is situated on a 154-meter-high hill, it is on the observation deck, the red-roofed city, the blue jewel-like Mediterranean and the small islands in the distance.
How much time to spend in Marseille? And doing what?
If the time is tight, you can spend two days exploring the city, the If island and the Cathedrale Notre Dame-de-la-Garde on the top.
If you have a more relaxed schedule, we recommended you extend your stay up to 4 days to explore the scenery around the city.
Ans for the fans, why not make Marseille your base for a one week vacation, including a trip to Porquerolles Island and to the nearby Provence lavender fields.
Emerald and turquoise at Les Calanques
Coming to Marseille and missing the Calanques would be missing the region’s biggest surprise!
Les Calanques is a unique coastal landscape, along the Mediterranean coast, where erosion has given a unique shape to limestone, cutting steep cliffs right among the Mediterranean hills.
Just past beyond Marseille, you reach this protected natural park where the different depths of the sea givevarious colors of dark green, green and light blue to the water. Take your time to watch this palette slowly melt into the Mediterranean deep blue at the horizon.
The Calanques are reached by bus or by car. Outdoor activities such as hiking, rock climbing, diving, and kayaking are available within the park. Locals’ favorite includes renting a boat from Marseilles for a day trip…sail and find your own private creek within the fjords.
For us, the award goes to the Calanque d’En Vau which just looks like an emerald fallen from the sky. Stuck between the karst cliffs it is one of the most iconic landscape of Provence. Join the locals for a leisurely holiday feeling during the summer!
Love at first sight in Porquerolles
If the Calanques are already quite a gem, then Porquerolles is probably one of the best kept secrets of the region. An amazing miniature archipelago of three islands including the stunning Port Cros and Le Levant only accessible by boat, Porquerolles is a sight not to be missed if you have the time. Recently selected as one of the most beautiful beaches in Europe, Porquerolles has been crowneda “National Park” since 1971.
In 1912, Porquerolles was bought by the rich man Joseph Fournier at an auction for 1 million francs, and offered to his beloved wife as a wedding present.
Cycling around the island is the best choice. The lush nature landscape, the paradise-like beaches, the picturesque villages, and the magnificent vineyard scenery make the Porquerolles an absolute attraction for at least a day.
La plage de la Courtade is the largest beach on the island. Only one kilometer away from the main village it is a stroll of white fine gravel, with turquoise sea right in front of you! Feel the eucalyptus breeze coming to you and wonder whether you are in a tropical paradise !.
Where modern creation meets unchangeable nature
If you have a special liking for art, don’t missthe Carmignac Foundation’s newly opened (June 2018!) large-scale contemporary art center. The museum covers an area of 2,000 square meters, and its exterior retains its idyllic scenery. The Foundation subtly mixes arts in all its forms like paintings, photos and sculpture with the surrounding garden and within the typical Provence villa. Take the time to also contemplate the magic of lights and shadows impressions made by the glass, water and mirror materials along your visit!
What about accommodation and food ?
Marseille provides a high variety of hotel styles, with some incredible places surprisingly sometimes more expensive than in Paris. .
Living near the old port is undoubtedly the best choice, and most luxury hotels there feature a terrace facing the sea.
In the morning, take a cup of coffee on your terrasse, greet the bright sunshine, and look at the blue coastline blending with the sky, or hear the seagulls playing over the sea, and the passing funny locals.. When traveling with a bigger party, we actually recommendto choose a homestay and experience the local lifestyle. You may even ask your alocal host fortransportation, food or other recommendations.
Marseille most famous dish is the Bouillabaisse, a tasty soup where sea fish, shrimps and shells are cooked together. . It is said that Bouillabaisse came from unsold fish leftovers successfully cooked by the fishermen’s wives.
What makes it so unique compared to other fish soups is the unique blend of Provence spices used in the soup….and it is said that some Parisians would travel all the way to Marseille just to enjoy some of the best Bouillabaisse !
We hope you’ve loved our insiders’ view on Marseille travel and that you’re now convinced the City is worth the trip among other Provence destinations! Feel free to like and share with your friends and give us a shout if you’d like us to organize the perfect excursion with a gret selection of hotels and restaurants for you