Marseille

To celebrate the end of the rental season Dan and I visited Marseille for the day.  Throughout the winter we are having one treat a week, namely visiting places we’ve yet to see but also trying new restaurants and activities in the area.  We chose Marseille first as its reputation for being a brash, multi-cultural, slightly shady city seemed like the perfect antidote to life at Bourrade.  We decided to head to Marche aux Puces, a Sunday flea market in the industrial end of the city as yet un-beautified by the approaching 2013 European Capital of Culture revamp.  It was a riot of birds in cages, rabbits in boxes, spices, Halal meat, north African ceramics, fruit and vegetables of every colour and (on the slightly dubious side) piles of synthetic fabric, knock off DVDs and phone chargers.     Inside the covered section of the market you could find everything from fridges and car parts to an abattoir with live produce outside.  The stall with TVs piled high was rather amusingly showing Harry Potter on every screen.  I choose not to take obvious photos as it would appear disrespectful so hope these three snatched photos will give a sense of our morning …the smell of cooking meat, neon signs and vague air of grubbiness!  It all reminded me of Blade Runner.  We came away with five tubes of Harissa, a bag of Cumin and Epices Couscous and a bamboo fruit bowl.Afterwards we walked to the Old Port, now a substantial shopping and lunching zone, for Marseille’s signature dish Bouillabaisse.  This turned out to be an altogether confusing experience as the vat of fish soup that humbly arrived, with croutons, aioli and guyere was in fact the warm up to the platter of fish that was served five minutes later.  Fish soup with a side portion of fish not for the faint hearted or only-a-little-bit-hungry!  As wonderful as it was neither Dan nor I were able to finish our portions and were only too happy that the prospect of walking up to we Notre Dame de la Garde.  Perched high above Marseille Notre Dame stunning 360 degree views of the city.You were asked not to take photos inside so I’m relying on a shop brought postcard.  The domed interior of the church was incredible – completely mosaic’d and gold all over.  There were also model ships hanging from the ceiling which I hope you can see in the below photo as they were charming.  The church had a larger collection of boats in the adjacent museum.  The exterior was neo-Byzantine in design and has wonderful black and white brick work.We will definitely be going back to Marseille as there is so much to see… not least Le Corbusier building.

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