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Saturday, 2 August 2014

First Stop Marseille!

Day 1

After our long travel day the day before and only getting into the hotel at near midnight, it's fair to say we discounted that evening. When we arrived the hotel receptionist welcomed us with a glass of wine (who doesn't want that!) and we chatted about our plans for the next day. Our room in 'Hotel Carre Vieux-Port' was nice and clean, although the hotel was having other floors renovated nothing disturbed us. Having already looked up on trip advisor the main attractions, we knew the Parc des Calanques was the number one attraction. Reviews had told is that the best calanque was calanque des sugiton and was only reachable after an hour long hike. Being lazy and not really fancying a hike on our first day we were going to opt for one of the easier ones but Pierre (the receptionist.. I know typical french name) offered to take us with him and his girlfriend to Sugiton as he insisted it was worth the hike. 

In the morning we took a boat trip out to the Ile d'if which was an island only about a kilometre off he shore of the Vieux-port. The boat was only 5€ each (student discount yay) and was fun in itself. It took less than twenty minutes to get out to the castle. The island was pretty small and only a 5minute walk up to the castle itself. You had to pay to get in but like everywhere that we found inFrance, if you're under 26 you get in free! Saved ourselves around 10€... I love being young. The castle was an old prison and was a collection of cell/dungeons. It wasn't so big but It was interesting to see and we got a lot of cool photos. We grabbed lunch up here too and the view was amazing! 


Afer debating whether we were up for the hike with Pierre (and going on a trip in a car with people we didn't know... Safety first!) we decided it would be fine. We got back in the afternoon in time to meet him and  Melanie. They drove us up to the Calanques, which would've taken us an hour by bus. The hike was fine to begin with and the views were so amazing, we'd never seen scenery quite like this before. We were even clambering down vertical drops with trains.. Who knew this would be our first day! Pierre decided it would be more fun to take us entirely of the tourist track. After scaling the whole cliff edge of the Calanques, from one calanque to the next, we made it somewhere we could lie down and swim. It was beautiful, but the water was freezing! We braved it a few times but sitting and taking in the scenery was the best bit. Pierre and Melanie were so lovely and entertaining the whole way round. We were so lucky to have this experience that most tourists wouldn't have the chance to see! 

Day 2: 

Despite having been told otherwise, there was loads to do in Marseille so the plan was to get up super early for our second (and last) day and even though we were running slightly later than we had planned we still managed to fit everything in - just. 

To start off we had breakfast in a lovely bakery that was right next to our hotel this is where Melanie, our hiking friend, worked and the food was delish. We ended up getting both breakfast and lunch here and as I'm eating my baguette while I'm writing this I can tell you... It hits the spot. 

We then headed off to our first activity of the day - the muCEM. We had seen a lot of pictures before of the museum and its architecture is really interesting. There's a great mix of architecture in general in Marseille with some really beautiful buildings, castles and squares but this was quite different, modern and definitely worth a visit. 

Here are some piccys...

Not only is the outside of this building really interesting but the actual museum expands beyond this into different areas and is connected by a bridge. From here you get some great views of the port and again the architecture throughout the rest of the museum is really beautiful, there's a great blend of the old and new.

 A second place we had put on our list of must-sees was Notre Dame de la Garde which you can see on a hill from the port and it looked really impressive. On the way to the museum in the morning we found somewhere that you can get a mini train around Marseille to see the sights and this ended up at Notre Dame- perfect. Being absolute suckers for anything touristy we booked our tickets and hopped on board. (8€ for 1hr 15 mins) Getting to the top we didn't really have time to look around properly but the views were amazing, the train was also great because it meant that we could see the different bits of Marseille that we otherwise wouldn't have and all while just sitting down with a nice breeze... Something we definitely needed after the day before. 

We loved Marseille, loads to do and see! Beaches, walks, beautiful landscapes and buildings. Maybe not as much on the nightlife front but there were a few bars and the atmosphere was great. It is the sort of place you could go and work for a summer, go the beach at the weekends and have a Mary Kate and Ashley 'Passport to Paris' style romance. You know the one, mopeds and all.

One major lesson that we have learnt today, is that while you might think that you know how train stations work and how much time you need... You could be totally wrong. So instead of rushing around trying to find people to translate the ticket machine for you with four minutes to go maybe leave a little bit more time, we are going to be soooo early next time. (Maybe)

We are now arrived at our next location, here's a little hint of where we are... Any guesses?

Stay tuned to find out more!

Meli's camera finally worked so here's a few more pics to have a look through: 


  1. Sounds so amazing, and its a place i'd never thought of visiting. The castle/prison looks really cool, I love that sort of thing. It's also really nice that you had someone to take you on that hike, so generous of them. Looks like you're having a really great time, and I'm very jealous. Can't wait to see more posts!

    Emma x
    Writing Essays With Wine

  2. The calanques pictures look amazing! Did you try the bouillabaisse? I just did a post on the 4 I tried on my blog: Last day in Marseille tomorrow :(