TRAVEL with pat and lew

* Marseille … the 2nd largest city of France

Posted by Lew Weinstein on July 6, 2010

We have an 8 night home exchange just outside of Aix-en-Provence, and decide to spend a night in Marseille first. The train trip from Collioure to Marseille (changing in Narbonne) is a pleasant trip, during which I figure out how to end the novel I’m working on.

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Bay of Marseille - prison from which Dumas' Count of Monte Cristo escaped

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Marseille is one of the oldest cities in Europe, dating to well before Roman times, and it was a center of intense resistance to the Nazis during WWII. There is a small but very moving museum called … Memorial des Camps de la Mort … (Memorial of death camps) … located at the end of the port quai. It is well worth a visit, and it is free.

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Walking near the port, we found a wall of posters that captures the spirit of Marseille, as one of the second largest cities in various countries around the world.

other 2nd largest cities

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The highlight of our Marseille visit was the Basilica Notre Dame de la Garde, situated high above the city with spectacular views of the port and sea below.

Basilica Notre Dame de la Garde seen from port below

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We got to the Basilica on the tourist train that leaves from the inner end of the old port. On the way up, we were treated to descriptions of the sites we were passing (in English) and were stunned to hear the golden statue atop the Basilica called the “Blessed Virgin and the kid.”


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the spectacular altar of Notre Dame de la Garde

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There are two excellent shopping streets in Marseille, rue Saint Ferriol and rue de Paridis, located a few blocks from the old port. Many designer shops and an excellent Galeries Lafayette.

We concluded our Marseille visit at the Musee Cantini. It advertised a Picasso exhibit, but there was only one Picasso. The attraction of art is always in the eyes of the beholder. You judge …

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