Marseilles 6.12.2007


Awaken with a lust for life

in the oldest city in France…Marseilles!

IMG_2499     IMG_2498     IMG_2502

IMG_2500     IMG_2501

IMG_2490     IMG_2488     IMG_2489      IMG_2487


 Up early, with determination to secure a new, less costly room before lunch.
  Hollow echoing hunger guides us to a boulangerie (bakery) for a cheap snack before check-out.
 Full of customers, we reach the front of the queue at a popular bakery.
We politely requests, “Neuf croissants, s’il vous plaît.”
A backwards glance, the countergirl responds, “Trois?” (Three?)
Non, NEUF,” we correct.
With a slight twist at the nose and now full attention, the girl responds in perfect English, “NINE??”
Wide smiles from our end and vigorous nodding.
Flaky, buttery authentic pastries as large as a face; the day is off to a good start!
Also on the lookout for a Monoprix,
a sort of mythological grocery store selling water, wine, fruit and socks if we’re lucky.
Before we return to Alize, we spot one…they do exist!
Enter the Monoprix store through the fragrance department – socks: dead ahead.
We’d worn through most of the other pairs on our journey this far.
Up a narrow escalator to the groceries.
Load up on kiwis, tuna fish, chorizo, bleu cheese, water, chocolate,
and of course French bread and cheap French wine.
Weaving through the crowds, back to the hotel to gather our packs
and take some last gasps at our amazing view of Vieux port from the balcony.

IMG_2504     IMG_2491     IMG_2505

IMG_2506     IMG_2507     IMG_2508

IMG_2510     IMG_2511     IMG_2509

From Alize to Etap

IMG_2513     IMG_2512

Quick checkout and the search for relocation begins.
Not a completely blind hike, the guide book saves the day once again.
Backwards directions to another soon-to-be new friend, Hotel Etap, a chain of budget hotels.
At first, we’re turned away.
Jude, with his lifesaver Canadian passport, goes back in to negotiate.
He calls us inside shortly.
There is an opening, but a two hour wait is required.
No problem!
Etap has a private courtyard where we enjoyed
the remaining croissants and peeled some kiwis.

Time flies and soon we are admitted into our next new home.

IMG_2514     IMG_2515

Food stays cool on the air conditioning,
and the dorm style bed set-up is perfect for our arrangement.


Shortly after we are settled we agree to explore the area.

There are ferry ships in the nearby Vieux Port that take visitors to surrounding islands.

IMG_2516     IMG_2518     IMG_2517

The view from standing around harbor.

IMG_2519     IMG_2520

IMG_2521     IMG_2522     IMG_2524



IMG_2526     IMG_2527

 Jude explains that one of the islands,

the Il d’If (Island of If)

housed a building that was at one time
the same prison featured in The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas.

 IMG_2530     IMG_2529     IMG_2528

IMG_2531     IMG_2532

Tickets purchased, we narrowly make the last boat out.
We chug through the packed harbor and take in the view that has spanned thousands of years.

IMG_2535     IMG_2534     IMG_2533

The juxtaposition of the contemporary with the Baroque as well as the ancient
with the medieval sends our camera shutter spinning.


IMG_2539     IMG_2538

IMG_2540     IMG_2537     IMG_2541

IMG_2542     IMG_2543     IMG_2544

IMG_2546     IMG_2548     IMG_2547

Not far ahead out of the harbor, our destination is spotted: Château d’If (Castle of If).
As we near the dock, the smooth walls of the castle turned prison
and the famed craggy cliffs become apparent.


IMG_2550     IMG_2549

IMG_2551     IMG_2552

A cell at sea level. A form of torture?

Beginning our ascent to the main attraction,

what appears to be remnants of a prison cell

will soon be flooded with water with the rising tide.

IMG_2554     IMG_2553

IMG_2557     IMG_2555     IMG_2556

IMG_2558     IMG_2559

IMG_2560     IMG_2561

IMG_2562     IMG_2563

IMG_2564     IMG_2565     IMG_2566

Through the entrance doors to Le Château

we are met by two employees who require us to pay a few Euros each to continue any further.

We pay up as exploring the tiny island is inevitable.

IMG_2567     IMG_2570

IMG_2568     IMG_2569

IMG_2571     IMG_2572     IMG_2573

IMG_2574     IMG_2575

IMG_2577     IMG_2576     IMG_2578

IMG_2579     IMG_2580

IMG_2581     IMG_2582


IMG_2585     IMG_2586     IMG_2587


IMG_2589     IMG_2588



IMG_2591     IMG_2593     IMG_2594     IMG_2595

IMG_2596     IMG_2597     IMG_2598

IMG_2618     IMG_2600     IMG_2603

IMG_2601     IMG_2599     IMG_2602

IMG_2604     IMG_2605

IMG_2606     IMG_2607     IMG_2608

IMG_2609     IMG_2610     IMG_2611     IMG_2612

IMG_2620     IMG_2619

IMG_2613     IMG_2616

IMG_2614     IMG_2615


 IMG_2622     IMG_2621

IMG_2624     IMG_2623

IMG_2625     IMG_2626     IMG_2627

IMG_2628     IMG_2629     IMG_2634

IMG_2630      IMG_2641     IMG_2632


IMG_2636     IMG_2637     IMG_2631

IMG_2640     IMG_2639     IMG_2638

IMG_2643     IMG_2642     IMG_2644

IMG_2645      IMG_2646

Small as the island is, the structures built upon it are deceivingly large…

IMG_2649     IMG_2650

 …including its resident sea birds with a bad reputation!

A little further away is a larger island with modern buildings.
Looking back, the city of Marseilles (the second largest in France) is easily made out.

It is strange to think that so close to land, no prisoner ever escaped to freedom…

due to these dramatic cliffs.

Finishing a self-guided tour of the island,

one of the employees approaches and sends us back to the dock

to catch the last boat back to the mainland.

No time to explore within the castle walls, we catch the ferry back.

IMG_2648     IMG_2647


IMG_2652      IMG_2653     IMG_2654

IMG_2655     IMG_2656

Cutting through the waves, before returning to the Vieux Port,
the ferry docks at the nearby modern island spotted from the castle.
Awaiting more passengers, we are entertained by a few boys and girls on the shore
showing off acrobatic skills by leaping off a bridge
into the cooling waters of the Mediterranean.

IMG_2657     IMG_2658     IMG_2659

IMG_2660     IMG_2661

Boating home, the French flag twists in the wind at the stern

with a backward glance at Il d’If.

 IMG_2662     IMG_2663     IMG_2664

Docked on terra firma once again,
it’s early still and there’s much more of Marseilles to see.

IMG_2690     IMG_2665     IMG_2666     IMG_2667


Église Saint-Vincent-de-Paul

(Saint Vincent of Paul Church)


IMG_2668     IMG_2669     IMG_2671


IMG_2678     IMG_2686     IMG_2673

Venturing deeper into the city, we hike to Palais Longchamp,
which is also the home of the Museum of Fine Arts.

IMG_2684     IMG_2685

IMG_2677     IMG_2674     IMG_2676

Beautiful natural water fixtures
remarkably compliment the impressive palace sculptures.

IMG_2680     IMG_2679     IMG_2681

IMG_2682     IMG_2675     IMG_2683

IMG_2687     IMG_2691

Walking back to the Etap.



No ghosts welcome in Marseilles.


Oh no they didn’t!
Oh, yes we did…walk by.
What’s your pleasure?
Royal Cheese or Le Big Mac?

The sun starts to drop in the sky and we return to Etap
for a self-catered dinner of
French bread piled with bleu cheese and Spanish chorizo.

IMG_2698     IMG_2697

IMG_2696     IMG_2695    IMG_2699

Late into the night we have music, photos, conversation…

…and bottles of 1Euro 85cent French wine!


Virtual Cocktail Bar

Friend. Follow. Like. Love.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.