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.
+ 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.
+ 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.
+ 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.
+ 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.
To be continued : an escape to the Calanques …