Tuesday, 12 December 2017

France - Day 5 - Last day in Marseille and return to Portugal

It was our last day in Marseille, and when I finished packing, just before leaving the apartment I popped over to the church around the corner to take photos. We had been there 4 days and I hadn't had a chance to go inside.
Located in the 6th Arrondissement,  Church of Our Lady of the Mountain (Eglise Notre Dame du Mont), is a Catholic church built in 1823-24 in the Neo-classical style. Frederic Chopin played on the church's pipe organ in 1839, and the organ is still in existence.

Notre Dame du Mont

House Rules

And I couldn't leave the apartment without a photo of the owner's instructions posted by the door,  most likely done via Google Translate. 
Even with the warning I did fall on the "trap of the house" a small step between the entry hall and the lounge, almost twisting my ankle...

At the arranged time Max (future son in law's Dad) come to collect us and our luggage and drove us all to Martigues, about 40km northwest of Marseille.
On the way we first stopped at L'Estaque, just 10 km out of Marseille to have a look at the scenery from the harbour and to have a coffee at one of the seaside bars.
The charming port village is surrounded by the Chain of L'Estaque Hills (Chaine de L'Estaque).
The French painter Paul Cezanne, who was born in Aix-en-Provence, painted this village in a few of his masterpieces. After coffee we continued onto Martigues.

The harbour at L'Estaque

The hills and harbour of L'Estaque when the plane flew over

Our daughter Karina and partner Thomas lived in Martigues for 3 years before moving to Amsterdam, and although I had visited them there a few years ago, but my husband hadn't.
Founded in 1232, it's nicknamed the Venice of Provence because of it's canals, docks and bridges, making it a very charming town. It's also a lot cleaner than Marseille and it has a country feel.                                                                                                                                             Before having lunch at a restaurant Thomas had booked for us, we wandered around the village enjoying the beautiful sights and the sunshine.

Charming canals, boats, pastel coloured houses and lots of flowers

One of the Canals of Martigues

The Madeleine Church (Eglise de La Madeleine), a Catholic Church classified as a historical monument since 1947.

Madeleine Church

After the walk it was time for lunch at Le Garage restaurant, and no prizes for guessing that the original space was a former garage at 20 Avenue Frédéric Mistral.
It's now an elegant restaurant with first class food, quite unexpected from a small town like Martigues.
Karina and Thomas had been clients of this place before they moved to Amsterdam, loved the food and were aware than the young chef - Fabien Morreale had been a finalist in 2013 of the 4th edition of the culinary show Top Chef.  The restaurant has also been recommend by Michelin guide inspectors. Not bad hem?

His cooking style was inspired by his grandfather with whom he learned how to cook, and he prepares his elegant fusion cuisine in full view of the diners.
The set menu for lunch, changes every 2 weeks and costs 27€ per person, which includes an elegant starter, main dish, (in our case was meat) and an elegant dessert. I couldn't really find fault with the service, every dish would come to the table and be described in detail by the waiter, the food was absolutely delicious, the wine was good and we even got to chat to the the chef/owner at the end of our meal.We told him we lived in Australia and he said he had worked in a hotel kitchen in Sydney for a while and really enjoyed his experience in Australia. Highly recommended!!

Le Garage Restaurante
As we were taking photos of the outside of the restaurant, a Google Street View car drove by filming the street and I managed to get the back of it.

Google street view car

After lunch we drove to the top of the hill to see the apartment building that overlooks the lake where Karina and Thomas had lived.  A very quiet and pretty area.

Karina's former apartment at Boulevard du Tourret de Vallier

Time to make our way back to Marseille, via the village of Carro. 
This tiny fishing village is known for being an excellent venue for nautical sports, specially windsurfing. There is a market on the harbou where fishermen sell their fresh produce daily.

The beach was empty, but the caravan park was full of vans from mainly Belgium, Holland and Germany.
Beaches at Village of Carro, Fishermen's cross 1922 - Karina and Thomas

And it was time to drive to the airport in Marseille. We bade our farewell to our daughter and Thomas who would fly home to Amsterdam two days later and thanked Max for his time and patience to show us around his home town.  We had a great time thanks to all of them.

Marseille airport, views from the air over salt marshes and seaside villages

Goodbye Marseille - my husband and I in front of the sign

We arrived in Lisbon in time for a late dinner with our family in Cascais and we were treated to some of the traditional and delicious Portuguese pastries. 

Portuguese pastries - almond tart, mini Custard tart, Berlin ball, white beans cake and Palmier with egg custard

The next morning we started packing our suitcases as we would depart the following morning. In the afternoon I accompanied my sister into Cascais and before returning home we stopped at The Rooftop Vegetarian Cafe for a cup of tea and "vegetarian" cake. 
Owned by a Dutch lady this eatery is spread over 3 floor with the top floor having a view over the rooftops of Cascais and a glimpse of the main beach.

And so ended our 5 week holiday to Portugal and France. We loved every minute, discovering new things, eating Portuguese traditional food that we don't get in Australia, meeting up with friends, being able to reunite the whole family for an event, some of which hadn't seen each other in 20 years, and having our daughter spend time with us for 4 whole weeks. 
It was all and more that I could hope for!!

Flying home

All good things come to an end, and it was time to go back to work...
The Doctors that had visited us in Portugal also returned just a couple of days after me and on their return graciously gifted me a beautiful bunch of flowers (from Dr K) and a pretty necklace (from Dr J who knows my passion for necklaces) to thank me for the time I spent showing them around.

They loved Portugal and were pleasantly surprised with the beautiful monuments, the majestic art museums they visited, the friendly people who were able to speak English and eager to help, the great food that they enjoyed and the cheap prices (for Australian standards of course). They are now spreading the word about Portugal with their patients too.

Flowers, necklace and beautiful words in a Thank-you card

Hope you enjoyed travelling with me around Portugal and France and were bitten by the travel bug.✈
Thanks for joining me.❤️️❤️️❤️️❤️️❤️️


  1. It took but a year to build this church? Amazingly fast.
    A twisted ankle really is of no use on a holiday (or ever!) - they should color or such at the actual place!

    Quite a dry landscape, but the canals really look romantic.

    "Le Garage restaurant" in elegant - that´s funny :-)
    27€ pp is acceptable, I think. And looks very yummy, too!

    Last time around Beauford street we saw a a Google Street View car, too - mustn´t they´ve captured everything by now?

    That airport-guy is fun!

    Always sad when a good holiday ends... but what a nice welcome with thoughtful Doctors!

    Hope for the travel bug to catch us early 2019 - or maybe for a short(er) trip to Lisbon earlier, I sure loved to hop along with you xx

    1. Thanks Iris. I also thought the restaurant price wasn't bad. The Drs are always very thoughtful, it's not the first time I get rewarded for something I have done or has happened to me. A few years ago I had a small car accident and they also gave me flowers to brighten my day.

  2. Thank you for taking us back to Marseille and sharing your final day in France. I loved the view from the plane, and all the gorgeous architecture you shared on this final day. I can't believe how much you accomplished in a single day, and my head keeps spinning as I think about all that you saw, appreciated, ate, and experienced while on vacation.

    I also thought that was a very generous thank you from the Drs. They must have really enjoyed themselves, too. Glad you are home, but will miss all these wonderful adventures you packed into each day you were away.

    1. Thank you Elizabeth. We had to make the most of our short visit, but we managed to see a lot!
      The Drs were very generous indeed.

  3. The translated note is a bit funny. I assume the owner meant to email if there is a problem, rather than write. Martigues looks wonderfully picturesque. We look forward to seeing a blurred image of you with Google Street View. It is said that Portuguese speak better English than the Spanish because they don't have nearly as much tv in their own language and so watch more shows in English.

    1. Thanks Andrew, there was a contact mobile number for the owner, it's just a funny translation.
      Martigues is very pretty indeed. I agree, movies or series are transmitted in the original languages (mostly English) so the Portuguese get to listen to English every day, while in Spain everything is dubbed into Spanish and they don't get that exposure.

  4. Gostei muito do passeio virtual.
    E fica a vontade de fazer o passeio real.

    1. Obrigada Pedro, aquela area de Provence e muito bonita. Aix en Provence e outra cidadezinha encantadora que visitei ha uns anos atras.

  5. Have enjoyed every holiday post Sami, what a fabulous holiday. The destinations were beautiful but the spending all that time with the complete family was precious ✨

    1. Spending time with the family was really great and we still managed to see so much. Thanks Grace.

  6. Replies
    1. Obrigada Francisco, uma cidade interessante.

  7. Fantastic holiday you had! Martigues looks really lovely.

  8. Dearest Sami,
    How special this 'long' 5-week trip was for all of you!
    It still sounds like the time was up before one realizes but you utilized it so well and even helped those doctors for having a special encounter with Portugal!
    Love the fact that your husband got to know the place where your daughter lived for 3 years and how very special to have family there that can work out such a fabulous tour.
    Impressed with the organ on which Frederic Chopin used to play.
    Had to laugh with the 'direct' English translation that often is hilarious.
    Lovely Venice of the Provence and reading about Avenue Fréderic Mistral, I thought about the Rose Fréderic Mistral we once had, a very fragrant one!
    It is hard for biding your adieu when having a special time together as a family!
    But indeed you did satisfy your eyes, your taste buds and stored many more fond memories of shared moments and emotions.

  9. What a truly fantastic holiday. You are going to have so many special memories ...

    All the best Jan

  10. Oh dearest Sami! Look where you brought me now!!! First of all thank you so much for joining Timeless Thursdays again dearest Sami. With that, you brought me to one of the places in France that I have heard of but I haven't really explored through pictures. It's so beautiful! The sun there in Marseille at that moment seems like from a movie, your photos are stunning! But Sami, I have to be honest, it's the plate of pastries that really captured me, OMG, I would love all of those!!!

    1. Thanks Stevenson. Right now I think I could eat a plate of those delicious pastries too :)


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