Friday, May 1, 2009

Marseille: Monday 27th April 2009

Marseille is 90 mins away down the A7. The morning was overcast when we set off but by about noon the sun was shining, it was 21 degrees and very pleasant to see the city by. When we made it through the dense inner city traffic to a traffic building it was a pleasure to be out of the car and walking about.

The town is a vast sprawl and has a gritty feel; there are lots of immigrants and high levels of unemployment, but it is a pleasant city. It does have a Mediterranean feel with the dryness and the sea.

We walked around the harbour where fishermen were taking fish directly from boats (some exceptionally tiny) and they were being sold.

We walked up to Abbaye St Victor, Marsille’s oldest church. It has a 60ft crypt which can be viewed from above which holds some sarcophagi from 3 AD.

From here it was a grunty walk up to Notre Dame de la Garde (making up for our lack of exercise yesterday). The reward was 360˚ views over the entire city. The church has an enormous golden Madonna on top which is 33ft high. Much of the interior has a nautical theme.

On our way back to the car we ventured a couple of streets of the main drag as we had spotted a market and we were apparently in need of more broad beans. Here we found a basic street market where all sorts of people were going about their business. Sadly we got more broad beans but we also got a 1kg tray of gorgeous ripe strawberries, some of which made a lovely end to another delicious meal.

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