Welcome back to the blog and today we talk about travel, especially my last long weekend in Marseille..
The title of this article is clearly sarcastic.
I didn’t know much about the city before I booked the flight and I’m glad to have discovered it. Unfortunately its fame is not the best. Actually I didn’t find it very safe and cozy but it really has some interesting things to see so LET’S START!
There are two neighborhoods dedicated to Street Art: Cours Julien and Le Panier (at least these are the best known).
I only visited one, Le Panier. As often happens the neighborhoods rich in walls colored by the works of street artists, are redeveloped. Le Panier was in fact a bad area, although originally it was simply a district of fishermen. For a long time criminality was the master, but after World War II and being destroyed by bombs, something started to change.
Today we find him alive, full of people and bars with tables in the square. Not only street art but workshops of artisans and ideal place for exhibitions of painters and artists of all kinds.
The MUCEM is the Museum of Mediterranean Cultures, a place that fascinated me from the beginning.
The entrance is from the port and through the old fort of St. Jean (the fort can be visited free of charge) and then, through a bridge, you can reach the modern building of the architect Rudy Ricciotti.
But let’s go in order. Once you enter the fort you can buy a ticket (€11) and then have access to temporary and permanent exhibitions always themed Mediterranean. In the area of the fort it is possible to enter 5 different rooms where videos of 20 seconds each are projected, one of which tells the story of Marseille.
To cross the bridge and pass on the other side you can already see a modern touch with very current installations and murals.
The structure is nothing but a square of 72m on several levels connected by ramps. The external “walls” leave the possibility to enjoy the wonderful view of the port and the cathedral.
On floor 0 there is the semi-permanent exhibition (changes every 3 or 5 years) Galerie de la Méditerranée, while on floor 1 there are temporary exhibitions. The terrace and restaurants are accessible to all.
The Galerie de la Méditerranée is an insight into the history of Mediterranean cities and also has a focus on the Mediterranean diet, the tools used to grow/procure food and you can also find recipes here and there, printed on sheets that can be taken by visitors.
Notre Dame de la Garde
Arm yourself with comfortable shoes to venture up the hill that leads to the beautiful Basilica of Notre Dame de La Garde. In neo-Byzantine style, the basilica was built from 1853 on the foundations of a fort, for this reason it is located at 149m. Which makes it not only a place of faith and pilgrimage but also the most visited viewpoint ever. The church is very small but full of details.
Castel of If
My generation is perhaps one of the last to have seen with enthusiasm the film with Gerard Depardieu and Ornella Muti about Edmond Dantes, the Count of Montecristo, from his ononimo novel written by the pen of Alexandre Dumas (son). Why this introduction? but simple, the castle of If is the prison from which Edmond escapes.
It is pure fiction, in fact the castle was used as a prison until 1945 and is compared to Alcatraz or the prison of the island of Elba because no one has ever escaped from there. Probably also because it is located on one of the Frioul islands and therefore even if a prisoner had been able to escape, he would have had nothing but water around.
You can reach it by boat from the port of Marseille, at a cost of € 10 you can take the boat and visit the islands of the archipelago, adding € 6 you can visit the castle.
The soap, the Cathedral (La Major) and the ancient port
Impossible to pass by Marseille and not buy a bar of soap. There are (more or less) craft shops everywhere, especially near the port, and they sell soap bars with different colors and smells. If you feel like it you can also visit the Marseille Soap Museum for €6 and you will have a free soap from the next store. With 5 more you can also participate in a workshop to make your own (by reservation).
The port is the heart of the city. Streets, squares full of bars and restaurants for a wine tasting or to drink the traditional Pastis, an alcoholic drink made with anise, for lunch or dinner. During the day there are the fishermen’s stalls selling fresh fish and a flower market. The latter is located in a part of the square under a kind of mirror ceiling. The effect is really nice, but you risk neck pain
Last but not least we visited the Cathedral. Many people think it is Notre Dame de la Garde, but they are wrong. The Major is located in the city center can be seen from the Mucem, the port and many corners of the ville because it is huge: 70 meters high, 142 meters long and an internal nave that reaches 20 meters giving a unique feeling.
The building is a symbol of the Catholic cult of the city. According to an ancient legend it was built where once stood the temple dedicated to the goddess Artemis
Have you ever visited Marseille? What was your impression of the city?
Looking forward to hear from you, a big hug and talk to you soon
Hello goingexpat.info owner, You always provide valuable information.
Thank you Alberta. <3