MARSEILLE, FRANCE IN 4 HOURS

TRAVEL

MARSEILLE, FRANCE IN 4 HOURS

08 . 12 . 15

We landed in Marseille, France airport right in the middle of Summer, which is also the perk season for travels in this part of France. It was my first time travelling to France during the crowded season and I was not prepared. Waiting for luggages at the belt took 30 minutes. Queuing to collect the rented car cost another 1 hour. Throwing out the initial plan to drive to Marseille city for a quick stop over before heading to Aix-de-Provence, we reached Marseille city at 2pm.

Marseille airport is not located right in Marseille city. The drive takes about 20-30minutes to reach the city. I was totally not prepared for the airport to be located quite a distance away that in such a small area. Silly me! I should have thought of that!

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First stop, our initial intention was to park along the street side at a back alley , since it’s free of charge (that’s how we save parking charges during travels, by searching for free parking even though the parking lot is a distance away but hey, that also means extra exploring of the area and maybe chancing upon new things).

A kind soul came over and warned us that we are exposing ourselves and the car to theft. He even went to the extend to pass us cardboards to hide the luggages from sight! Salute to these good people in the world! And he is the first of the many kind friendly French people we met in our stay in France.

Of course, with his warning, we are now freaked out by how dangerous this part of France is. I recalled during the road trip in Eastern Europe, it’s never as dangerous and it’s feels kinda strange that western Europe being more prosperous than Eastern Europe is now more susceptible to crime. Abandoning the idea of parking by the street side, we ended up paying for parking and get a lot in the shopping centre car park. Making sure that our rented car will be safe, we picked a lot right by the lift lobby. Not to mention that we spend 15 minutes lining the car windows with cardboards, struggling to hide the luggages from any sight.

A walk right into the main street, the lively Sunday ambience of the area greeted us. Music playing somewhere in the background, people laughing, lots of conversations going on at the same time accompanied with the sight of shoppers holding lots of shopping bags. I greedily drank in this wonderful sight that no camera will be able to capture.

There is always the dilemma to take more photos of what I am experiencing or dropping the camera into the bag and thoroughly register everything in my mind. I choose the latter (sorry that photos are limited!).

Zipping into a few shops, walked a few streets looking at the beautiful window displays and of course, I can’t miss a visit to Hermes Store in Marseille. To conclude the trip to the Hermes Marseille store, I was disappointed but I did get myself a bracelet as a souvenir.

All shops start to close at 5.30pm (we spent 1.5 hours in Hermes), and we simply have no time to explore further but to hop into the car and head towards the church on the hill which was highly recommended by the sales assistant in Hermes Store.

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Marseille is a pretty seaside town. Right by the sea, sits the beautiful Notre-Dame de la Garde as highly recommended by the Hermes sales assistant. Thanks to spending too much time in Carrefour and getting carried away looking at the massive selection of groceries that Singapore lack, we were greeted by closed gates when we reach the church.

Notre-Dame deal Garde was built by the architect Henri-Jacques Espérandieu on the foundations of an ancient fort. The fort was located at the highest natural elevation in Marseille, which is on a 149 m (490 ft) limestone on the south side of the Old Port of Marseille. It is an important local landmark and the site of a popular annual pilgrimage every year on Assumption Day, August 15.

The church opens daily from 7am to 6.15pm, we were there just about 6.30pm. Late by a mere 15 minutes, thus sealed my fate to only the exterior photos of the church.

Standing on a high evaluation, just a few steps away from the church opens up to an amazing view of the ocean. It’s a sight one will often says “oh my gosh, this is beautiful”. I silently recite these words in my heart, focusing to stay as cool as possible.

Right below, I can see a new shopping development and how I wish I have time to roam this new area. Afar, are boats closing into the harbour, seagulls flying right above the coastal area. On my left I can see a lighthouse in the horizon which I guess must be the Phare de Sainte Marie lighthouse in the old port of Marseille. Soaking in the fresh fragrance of the French Mediterranean Sea, a few photos for memories and I bid farewell till the next time I’ll be back in this part of France again. (which god knows when)

Parting this city exploring it only for 4 hours left me incomplete. I heard many people mention that Marseille is just like any other coastal city with nothing much but perhaps it’s my first time meeting the Mediterranean sea, or because of the beautiful summer sunday atmosphere that surrounds the city, but I felt there is much more to explore in this city than a tourist harbour spot.

Driving around the narrow roads, I saw there are hidden corners waiting to be discovered, off the beaten track terrain to be explored, or just lazing in a cafe over-looking the ocean. This French city is worth at least 2 days stay or maybe a base for exploring the nearby towns. But alas, I’m sure the hotel rates at astronomical during the summer holiday, thus I shall leave this city till fate let us meet again.

2016-12-01T23:55:55+00:00
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