FRIDAY, 2nd June
Marseille, the front door of Provence, on France’s south coast, was founded in 600 BC by Greek mariners from Phocaea. It is the oldest city in France and the second largest after Paris. In 1720 Marseille was hit hard by the Plague and lost half of its population. The city now is a growing industrial and commercial centre, home to a University and a School of Fine Arts.
Now we are three once again as Erika has joined us in Avignon. Today we went by TGV to spend the day in Marseille – first to the markets with their exuberant character. The quality and variety of Mediterranean produce provides for a wide range of street markets. Seafood lunch was enjoyed (whole Loup for me) as we sat facing the amazing number of boats in the marina. Our walk then took us through the streets of the Panier (Old Town) with its tall narrow houses draped with washing and Criss-crossed by steep cobbled streets and many steps. This area, together with the Old Port, has been the beating heart of Marseille for over 2,000 years. It was good that we chose to follow through with our original plans even though the suggestion had been made along the way that it would be better to go elsewhere – a GREAT day.