Category Archives: GO PLACES

Calanques, Marseille

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In the calanques, a small piece of heaven, between Marseille and Cassis, these isolated coves, reachable by boat or on foot, where you find yourself nested between the sea, the rocks, and the pine trees. You get there after a long hike, in the mid-day sun, your tee desperately sticking to your back.
You step right into the cold water, after burning your feet on the pebbles. You go jump from the higher rocks, over there, at the end of the cove, you swim for hours in the water that matches the sky. You’re so far away from Marseille and its noise. It’s the perfect image of the Mediterranean, the boats, the plants, this blue, always.

+ Marseilleveyre
First Calanque after Callelongue, last port at the very end of Marseille. The path to get there overlooks the sea and the boat, the view is breathtaking throughout the hike. A relatively large and rocky bay, with small buildings. You make the most of the beach shack on the pebbles by going there for lunch in your swimsuit.

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+ Sugiton
An hour of strenuous hiking after the architecture school in Luminy, Marseille, a rocky descent through a dense vegetation to finally find this sheltered cove and its flagship, the enormous rock in the middle of the water, the favorite jumping point for the fearless divers. You put your beach towel in the shadows of the trees, you liste to the soothing sound of the crickets, you savour the turquoise sea.

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A long weekend in Marseille

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A long weekend in Marseille to explore the city. The blue of the Mediterranean sea is everywhere, the heat was sweltering during our visit, the pavement is hot in the yellow and ocher streets.
There are these beautiful houses perched on the heights of Marseille, with a spectacular view on city winding along the coast. And those constructions overhanging the sea, built with odds and ends. But also, those large housing estates nested in the garrigue. Or these small ports, so far away from the town and its chatter that it’s hard to believe you are still in Marseille. But there are always the boats, the incessant ballet of liners, sailboats, yachts and container ships. The masts lining the bay of the Vieux Port.
The chaotic traffic, paced by the horns; the highway crossing the city and next to a charming church, the warehouses with decrepit frontage and the shiny new buildings by the sea. The tiny beaches overcrowded on sunday, just to grasp a little bit of summer. At every headland, intrepid divers leaping into the void encouraged by a cheering crowd. Old men playing cards in front of their house on an old camping table. The terrasses where it’s best to enjoy the day passing by, slowly, soothed by a chilling wind.

Some ideas of walks in the city, what I enjoyed most during my trip.

+ Mucem, Fort Saint Jean, and Cathédrale La Major

First, admire the church Cathédrale La Major with its Buren-like stripes and then go dow to the Mucem and the Villa Méditerranée. Exploring the walkways of the Mucem and its rooftop is a must even if the exhibition in the museum doesn’t tempt you. The view is breathtaking. Next, cross the footbridge above the void to get to the Fort Saint Jean and watch the boats going to the Vieux Port.

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+ Le Panier

Go get lost in the narrow streets of Le Panier, historical and popular district of Marseille. A pretty maze of old buildings, typically southern, with clothes drying outside every window.

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+ Vallon des Auffres

Go there at dusk, to watch the golden light gently stroking the small houses and the hulls of the boats. Stop at Viaghji di Fonfon, a tiny restaurant where you can take drinks and nibbles by the sea, sitting on the dock. Let the end of the day slide, paced by the declining light and the sound of the bathers at the end of the dock.

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+ Vieux Port, Abbaye Saint Victor

Of course, take a stroll along the Vieux Port but go also uphill towards rue Sainte and the Abbaye Saint Victor. Nice sunny streets and a magnificent view on the port’s bay. Eat diner at Le Poulpe, a locavore restaurant on the Vieux Port with an impeccable decor.

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+ Le Cours Julien

Vintage shops, small designers, and cute restaurants with terrasses overflowing the streets, a little boheme feel in this young and lovely neighborhood. I loved getting lost in the streets and exploring all the pretty boutiques.
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To be continued : an escape to the Calanques …

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Medoc

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A spring afternoon in Medoc. Just wander near the river shores, stopping by every little village. Suddenly, Bordeaux and its chic buildings seem far away, here you see tree-filled banks, Tchanqué shacks, and open-air cafes near the water. The vines are green and yellow, all the paths are covered in blooms, we pass by cute old-stoned chateaux with climbing roses at the front. We just need a convertible to complete the perfect picture and feel te wind in our hair. We tell ourselves, next time, we come here on our bikes and we sure bring a picnic to eat on the grass. And what if we bought a small shack ?

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Morocco

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I’m back after a longer break than anticipated, these past weeks have been busy and I struggled to find time for this space. In early may, we went to Morocco to celebrate my best friend’s wedding – she lives there. The wedding took place in Casablanca, in a large estate with a beautiful garden planted with palm trees, carpets and lanterns were arranged on the paths and musicians were welcoming guests. The bride and groom sais yes in the garden under an arch made of fresh roses. We danced till morning.
This trip was a good excuse to explore further the country. I love the dazzling light, the restless ocean, the buildings with fading colors, the cacti and succulents that grow on the side of the roads, the carpets and fabrics of a thousand colors.

+CASABLANCA

The white city, by the ocean, has a definite vintage feel and seems out of a 50′s movie. You walk among the palm trees and faded buildings. It contrasts with the new and shiny marina that looks like Dubai. You take the train at the old fashioned train station, Casa Voyageurs. You can prolong the movie by going to dinner and drinks at the Rick’s Cafe.
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+ESSAOUIRA
A large beach that draws out along the bay, further, you can see the camels, put there for the tourists. The wind blows strongly in your hair, the port welcomes your with its acrid smell of warm fish and hot tar. You see Moroccan surfers, with their bleached hair and hippie looks, living the sweet life. The sun hits you hard in the narrow streets of the medina, you zigzag between stalls selling spices, slippers and carpets. On the road, you pass by the argan trees and cooperative selling its by-products. A car is carrying goats on its roof, you overtake a carriage on the highway.
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+MARRAKECH
A city bustling with activity, the cars and scooters honking don’t offer much time off for the traveler. The ochre frontages and the trees with mauve flowers that line the streets offer some piece for the eye. A beautiful sanctuary : the garden of villa Majorelle. A lush garden, with palm trees, cacti, succulents, fig trees. The best is to meander in the paths and get lost in the blue, this deep blue, the Majorelle blue.
But, you must take part to the city’s flurry of activities, face the chaos of Jemaa El Fna square, get a ggod deal at the souk, get lost a but, push back nicely the vendors and get a drink at La Terrasse des Epices, looking at the perfect view.
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