Tuesday, 5 June 2012

France 1 - Flight and Martigues

I have taken a few weeks to travel overseas for a special family reunion -  my younger sister and her boys will be visiting our parents in Portugal, and since I haven't seen them for 5 years, I thought it would be a great idea to visit while she is there. But first stop will be Marseille in France, where my daughter lives.

I flew out on Saturday 2nd from Perth via Singapore to Paris. On the Singapore to Paris leg of the trip, I flew on the gigantic and very comfortable Airbus 380. Unfortunately it departed Singapore with almost 1hour delay, which meant by the time it landed at Charles de Gaulle airport in Paris, I had already missed boarding time for my 7,20h connecting flight to Marseille! I still ran half way across the airport, but as I looked at a big flight monitor screen, I could see the gate had closed!
I had to go to an Air France counter and I was booked in the next flight, at 8,35h.

After going through luggage control, where I had to throw out my water bottle that I had filled up on the flight, I went to the lounge leading to the departure gates, hoping to be able to get some internet time so I could email my husband to let him know I had arrived, so he could sms our daughter and let her know I would be late.

At the beautiful Singapore airport, computers linked to free internet are plentiful, and you get 10 min. free time; but at Charles De Gaulle airport, at least in the area I was in, there was a single computer... and it was out of order!

beautiful green spaces at Changi Singapore airport
After asking a staff member I was directed to a wi-fi area, but I don`t have roaming in my mobile, and I had bought a "world sim" at the Perth airport, to be able to use it in Europe but it kept on giving me a technical error message! (Two days later is now working, so it might have needed a few days to be activated?)
I then tried the public phones using my travel money card, but I was missing a number from the mobile...
With no luck reaching anyone, I boarded the flight hoping my daughter would be there to meet me... and she was!!

After a little nap, but still looking tired I was ready to meet the French "in-laws" at dinner. Conversation was stilted between us as unfortunately my school French has long been forgotten, and their English was very rusty too!
My son in law speaks fluent English and I am amazed at my daughter's fluency in French, as when she came here 3 years ago, all she knew was the basic school French, so both of them were on translation duty.
My first taste of French macaroons at dinner
Monday 4th -  armed with a printout from google maps, I walked about 40 minutes from my daughter's place into the centre of the town of Martigues - the Venice of Provence - (about 38km from Marseille). After getting a map from the Tourist office, I walked around for almost 5 hours visiting 30 out of the 38 monuments or interesting sights shown on the brochure in the 3 quarters the town is divided in: Ferrières, L'Ile and Jonquières.
My favourite was L'Ile (the Island) whose first inhabitants date back to the 5th century B.C. and where we can find picturesque narrow streets filled with colourful narrow apartment buildings with window shutters and planter boxes. Each quarter has a marina filled with fishing and recreational boats; plenty of green spaces with lots of fragant lavender, a typical plant of this area.
Being a Monday, most of the small commerce was closed, with the exception of a few restaurants, which might justify the lack of people everywhere I went.

Bronze statues - fisherman and woman mending nets - in Ferrières quarter, by bridge to "the island" quarter
At the Jonquières quarter, boats were used as planters
La Madeleine church (baroque style) - under repairs
Pink facade, blue shutters, mullioned windows
More colourful house facades and window shutters
One of the prettiest sights on the Island quarter - Mirroir aux oiseaux - quai Brescon
The back view of previous photo
A riot of colour by the riverside restaurant in "The island"
After such a long walk, I was ready to get the 3p.m. bus home (the tourist office also provided me with a bus timetable) and put my feet up!

The exercise was not finished though as I had agreed to accompany my daughter to her Monday night 45 minutes "Shebam" class (type of  Zumba). It was quite enjoyable and I managed to perform well, or at least I think I did well...

Then it was time for a late dinner and early sleep!

Of course this morning I woke up totally broke - sore legs, neck and back - for an exercise avoider like me I have certainly overdone it in one single day!

Hope you enjoy the photos of my walk around Martigues.


  1. First of all, the Singapore airport seems beautiful and relaxing.
    Second, your photos are so pretty. We feel there, enjoying the day :-)
    I have been in Martigues already, but only in the Jonquieres. Thanks to you, now I know much more about the village. I will keep this post in mind, if one day I return there.
    Bjs! :-)

  2. Hi Sandra: the Singapore airport is one of the nicest I have come across, the choice of shops is amazing! My daughter lives in Ferrieres, the northern part of Martigues. If you do return visit "The island".

  3. The town looks so picturesque there!

  4. I love following your stories, I left on Monday the 4th June via Singapore and Paris to Lisbon I was lucky my flight was ontime, but as you say Singapore airport is amazing and yes CDG has no free internet I was lost as I wanted to tell my husband who was in Lisbon that I had arrived in Paris. After the Airbus A380 flight isnt it awful getting on those little jets.....Ailsa Rodrigues

  5. Hi Ailsa, we just missed each other by 2 days! Very mean of the French not to provide free internet...

  6. Our Showroom provide a wide range of window treatments include-Vertical Blinds,Roller Blinds,Roman Blinds,Panel Blinds,Honeycomb Blinds,Sheer EleganceTimber Venitian Blinds,Timber Blinds Perth,Slimline Venetian Blinds,Curtains Shutter,Outdoor Blinds,Awnings Seaview Shutters.We can help you choose the right blinds to suit the paint colour and carpets in your new home.


I would love to hear from you, please leave a comment.