So, I just got finished with my 2 week vacation (les vacances scolaires) with my friend Anna. She came all the way from America to travel with me here in Europe. Our first stop was in Marseilles, France for 3 days. I must say that Marseilles was really unlike any other place in France in both good and bad ways. Knowing that Marseilles is competing with Lyon as the second largest city in France, I assumed there would be a lot going on in terms of nightlife. Yet, the city went to sleep fairly early. I also assumed there would be a lot of tourism, because it's the south of France, on the sea, yadayadayada. To my surprise I learned that this wasn't really true. In fact, the family we stayed with said that there wasn't much tourism and many French people don't even like Marseilles because, well, it doesn't feel French. The family also told us that it is a very blue-collar town. Again, a surprise! I expected it to be ritzy and glamorous.
For instance, I learned that the scene in Love Actually where Colin Firth's character proposes to the Portuguese lady was actually filmed in a cafe in Marseilles (it was supposed to be in Portugal). Yep! Went there, and I had the worst Martini known to man. Yet, it was cheap, really charming, and the place was empty! (a football match was going on).
Another great thing I discovered were Les îles du Frioul. We took a boat ride there, and it was paradise.
Next, I discovered the Corniche. If you go, take a bus ride around La Corniche and stop at random parts of the pebble beach. That's what Anna and I did and it led to one lovely Sunday afternoon of sun bathing, cheap eats and flea market shopping.
Overall, I must say that my favorite part about Marseilles was it's maritime essence. I couldn't help but think of the song "Brandi" by Looking Glass:
Brandy, you're a fine girl
What a good wife you would be
But my life, my lover, my lady
Is the sea
I loved the fish market on the Vieux Port.
Their church Notre Dame de la Garde on the hill was even dedicated to the protection of sea and to the sailors, as you can see by the decor.
In remembrance of this martime experience, naturally, NATURALLY, I felt compelled to purchase this necklace in Topshop (nevermind that it was in London)...
...because, after all, "The cure for everything is salt water: sweat, tears and the sea." Isak Dinesen