After our enjoyable trip to Cannes, it was Marseille next.
Marseille is the oldest city in France; it’s the second biggest city after Paris in terms of population. It is the capital of the Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur region.
Marseille is a very popular trading port destination. It enjoys bright sunshine during most part of the year. It’s been designated as the European Capital of Culture for 2013. Importantly, we observed many people speaking English as well!
Upon reaching the city centre, we went to the tourist information centre. We got a map for ourselves and started to venture into the city. Along with the guidebook we already had, the map proved to be handy. The map deserved some appreciation for its neatly presented information.
The Vieux Port (old port) near the city centre was pretty vibrant. Fresh catches from the sea were sold in the mornings. We went on a boat ride. You could rent a yacht for pleasure. Btw, you could also arrange to have your birthday or wedding celebrated on a cruise. Restaurants were in plenty in this area; we treated ourselves to some veggie food. Of course, not to forget the souvenir shops. Handmade soaps (savon de Marseille), miniature yachts, perfumes, embroidered/lace hand towels, etc seemed quite popular. As usual, yours truly did buy some souvenirs.
To get a glimpse of the commerce and industry side of the city, I went to La Joliette Docks. These docks were a symbol of the thriving maritime trade of the 19th century. The area now houses commercial buildings and complexes, besides a few restaurants and a local market. I was thrilled to see a local market where I ended up buying a few household articles.
We passed by Stade Velodrome, a popular football stadium in Marseille, which had hosted the FIFA World Cup in 1998 and Rugby World Cup in 2007. There was some renovation work going on. Hence, unfortunately, we couldn’t enter the stadium.
Marseille offered some of the best seaside views. A stroll by the vast and clean beaches towards evening was a scintillating experience. The glory of nightfall could be described best in this marvellous Marseille setting!
It was time to visit the Notre-Dame de la Garde. It was an ornamental basilica situated atop the city’s highest hill, La Garde. Built in the Romano-Byzantine style between 1853 and 1864, the Basilica (made up of the lower church or crypt and upper church) was a wonder in itself. Wow, it also offered us a breathtaking, inviting, panoramic view of the beautiful city! 🙂