Friday, 8 December 2017

France - Marseille - day 4

On the fourth day we woke up early and walked to the Vieux Port (Old port), to catch the ferry to Château d'If on the island of Frioul, but just like the previous day, this day was even worse, the winds were so strong that most boats were moored and no ferries were leaving the port due to the rough sea.

Thomas's dad Max joined us with extra jackets, as the wind was icy cold and showed us his boat moored in the Old Port. He's owned it for many years and uses it for recreational fishing.

Max showing his boat to Jose 

                                                        The windy day can be seen in these photos
The Church of Saint Laurent (Eglise St Laurent), church of sailors and fishermen with an octagonal bell tower, was built in the 13th century. It sits on a hill between the Old Port and the Panier. It is believed to have been built on the site of a Greek temple to Apollo, and has survived many threats. 

Church of St Laurent (top left)

From the Old Port we walked just north to the suburb of Panier (Quartier Le Panier) where we met with Thomas's Mom, Isabelle who works in a pathology lab.

Sadly I wasn't really aware of the historical importance of this suburb, so I didn't pay much attention, although I saw a lot of narrow cobbled streets, lots of steps and little lanes and even compared it to some parts of Lisbon. But I think my eyes were mostly drawn to the many murals I found in this area. 

Narrow lanes and stairs leading to houses, art in the Panier

This area was first settled by the Greeks in 600 B.C. when they founded the city of Massalia.
During World War II, the Jews living in this area were deported to concentration camps.
Due to it's maze of narrow streets, it was considered a hiding place for members of the French Resistance, and in 1943 Le Panier and the Old Port were evacuated and about 1500 buildings were destroyed with bombs.

We got into Max's car that was parked in the Panier and he drove us across town to the highest point of Marseille where the magnificent Church of Lady of the Guard (Basilique Notre Dame de la Garde) is.

Views of Marseille, the Old Port, the Frioul Islands

This Catholic basilica is Marseille's best known symbol and most visited site with around a million and a half visitors a year, many coming just for the views.
Built in 1853 and consecrated in 1864,  in the Neo-Byzantine style on the foundations of an ancient fort, this 149 mt high limestone building has the best views all around.
The bell tower is topped by a 11,2 mt high, 9 tonnes,  statue of Madonna and Child (La Bonne Mère) made of copper and gilded with gold leaf.

La Bonne Mere

Because sailors and fishermen would come here to the site of the original church to pray for safe voyages and return to give thanks when they came home safe and sound, it then became the custom for those that had nearly perished at sea to commission paintings of their ships to hang on one of the church's walls or to donate replica models of their ships that hang from the ceiling vaults - they are called the Ex Votos or "from the vows made".
And these are truly works of art too.

A wall with over 60 paintings offered to Notre Dame de la Garde by sailors

Replicas of ships hanging from the vaulted ceilings
Before leaving what I consider to be the most beautiful Church I have ever seen, I was taking a photo of my family down below. 
They were looking up at me, when I noticed the driver of a black car parking and going to back door to open it. The car suddenly started to slide and I screamed. They all noticed and the driver realized that he hadn't pulled up the brakes in the car!! That was a disaster averted, as it was on a slope...
My family below with the city in the background

From the Church we were driven south to Borely Park (Parc Borely), a 17 hectares municipal park adjoining the Botanic gardens.
Formerly owned by Joseph Borely, a French ship owner and merchant in the 17th century, who built a country house in the middle of the gardens, it was acquired by the city in the 19th century. It has a lake, a horse racing track by the sea, a wooden pavilion and a large expanse of grassed area.
One side is bordered by a river and I spotted some beautiful small apartment blocks located next to the river.
Before going in we bought churros with caramel filling (fried dough pastry traditional sold in Portugal and Spain).

The Rose garden was a bit bare, but I still found some roses. I saw a black and white bird that could be mistaken for a Willie wagtail, and Australian bird, but this one didn't wag it's tail, so I'm sure it's something else. 
Another interesting animal I came across looked from afar like a Quokka, a marsupial from the island of Rottnest (just across Perth), but it was a Coypu, from the beaver family.

Rose Garden
A coypu (beaver), the lake and other areas of Borely park

It was time to return home, and Max dropped us near our Airbnb. We still had time to put our feet up for half an hour and then get ready to go out to our last dinner in Marseille at the invitation of Max and Isabelle.
The 4 of us took the tram to the area known as The Corniche (La Corniche), the picturesque 5km seaside road along the Mediterranean coast. Part of the road has been named after President Kennedy. (Corniche = a road cut into the edge of a cliff, especially one running along a coast).
Beautiful views of the sea, the Frioul islands and the Prado beaches, with a couple of restaurants hanging on cliff rocks over the sea. 
In the Lieutenant Danjaume Square is a war memorial built in 1927, of a 5mt tall woman with arms raised to the sky, and it's dedicated to those who died in the Army of the East and distant lands. At sunset this was a magical place!

La Corniche, a ferry leaving the harbour, monument to those fallen in wars

Just around the corner and down a staircase we reached the picture postcard fishing village of Vallon des Auffes. (Auffes is a type of grass of the area used to make ropes).
It's just 2,5km south-west of the Vieux-Port in the 7th arrondissement, but it feels like a different world. A lot of fishermen have little cabins here used to store their fishing gear and cook the traditional bouillabaisse on Sunday.

Vallon des Auffes little harbour, Chez Jeannot restaurant (white building at end of harbour)

Thomas's parents and his younger brother arrive and they go up to the first floor of the Chez Jeannot Pizzeria while I finish taking photos of the sun setting behind the bridge.
The top floor has glass windows overlooking the little harbour, so a fantastic view, the food was ok, apparently those who had pizzas liked them, the restaurant was full, and service left a bit to be desired considering the prices.
My husband asked for butter to put on the bread, and was told they had no butter!
A French restaurant with no butter? Very strange. Eventually another waiter brought some butter.

Karina, Isabelle and Max, Jose standing, me, Thomas and brother,  Steak dish and fish dish
And so ended our 4th day in Marseille. Next installment will be the last day in Marseille and Portugal.
I can hear a sigh of relief from all of last it's ending! 😉😉


  1. I´m with you in this one, Sami - I´d spend more attention to the murals than to history, I guess.
    La Bonne Mere is very beautiful and not just the statue.
    I like the idea of giving thanks for a safe journey with paintings and replicas.

    Oh, my, I remember sitting in the passenger seat, wrapping company christmas-"trash"-gifts whilst my colleague left to pay the gas-bill, returning screaming and the car already - very, very slowly - rolled!
    He forgot the handbrake, too (nothing happened).

    I´m looking forward to seeing a Quokka next time as Ingo agreed to pay Rotto a visit.

    The sunset looks awesome, too. As does the statue, sad reason for it´s being, though.

    They had no butter?
    Well, guess same as if you asked for tap-water here...

    Noooo! No sigh of relief, I love seeing where you´ve been and what you´ve encountered (oh. Do I suppose you knew that? ;-)...).

    1. Thanks for keeping me company while I write about my trips. How exciting about Rottnest, you'll love it! Strange about the tap water, do they have no taps, lol?

  2. I don't know where to begin, except to say I'm NEVER EVER bored with your lovely photos and history you share of places you visit. It's like I live vicariously because I'm sure I'll never visit any of these sites you see.

    Each place was beautiful in its own right, but like you, I really LOVED that gorgeous Notre Dame de la Garde church you shared. The ships hanging from the ceiling, the paintings, and the religous artifacts all led to jaw dropping beauty.

    The rose garden was lovely, too. I enjoyed the beauty of the roses, even though it was so windy. Thanks for taking us with you. Yes, I'm still head over heals in love with this trip you took.

    1. Oh thank you Elizabeth, I'm so pleased you're enjoying getting to know places you might not visit. That church was awesome, truly beautiful!!

  3. Last first. There was, maybe still is, a shortage of butter in France. Perhaps the first waiter can onsell saved butter for more money.

    The beaver does look like a quokka but not as cute.

    I meant to ask about the church on the hill when we were there, but I forgot. You filled in my knowledge gap nicely.

    That could have been a very nasty accident with the rolling car.

    Your photos of Marseille paint it very well. Had we have had more time, we would have seen more, but I still remember the unease I felt when in Marseille. Just me, I suppose.

    1. Didn't know about the shortage of butter in Marseille, must be all those croissants they make, lol. That's a pity you didn't visit the church Andrew, maybe next time. Strangely enough I felt safe, although wary of pickpockets, but my future son in law, who is from Marseille was always on the lookout. He also said things seem to be better now than a few years ago. We saw a lot of armed personnel due to the threat of terrorism, even at the church, which is sad.

  4. Thanks for sharing the beautiful and interesting photos.

  5. Definitely no sighs of relief Sami, it's been a pleasure reading about your travels, your photos are fabulous! Gosh you must have got such s fright when you saw the car moving, especially as it was pointed directly at your family, yikes!

    1. Exactly Grace, my heart was racing, it was a scary moment! Have a good weekend Grace.

  6. Que passeio maravilhoso!!!
    Gostei imenso deste post. E que trabalheira teve, Sami!!!
    : )

    1. Obrigada Catarina. Tirei tantas fotos que fica difícil escolher o que por, por isso faço estas colagens. Bom fim de semana.

  7. Não li por questões óbvias - digo eu - mas admirei as fotos. Simplesmente maravilhosas.
    Tema de hoje
    Margens de sedução de branca espuma
    Deixando um abraço humilde e poético.
    Bom dia . Domingo feliz

    1. Obrigada pela visita Gil e por ter gostado das minhas fotos. Bom Domingo.

  8. Dearest Sami,
    It always is very tricky when planning a trip and having ONLY a couple of days for visiting special places; weather permitting.
    This was too bad with rough winds... But again you all enjoyed a fabulous day.

    1. We can't always plan for the weather unfortunately, so we had to make the best of what we had. Thanks Mariete.

  9. Belas fotografias de Marselha uma cidade que já tive o privilégio de visitar.
    Um bom Domingo.

    Dedais de Francisco e Idalisa

    1. Obrigada Francisco, e uma cidade interessante.

  10. Esta é uma das cidades que está no roteiro das cidades a visitar.
    Boa semana

    1. Acho que vale a pena Pedro. Alem disso o sul de Franca tem imensas vilorias interessantes para visitar.

  11. Marseille is one of my favourite cities. I love Le Panier area, great for a wander, a spot of shopping and a good lunch. And the street art is excellent - always a surprise waiting around the next corner!


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