M is for Marseille
If you wake up around sunrise during summer months in Marseille, you can avoid the crowds and enjoy both the city’s lovely basilica and bustling fish market.
Two years ago during our French road tripwith our grandparents, we spent one night in the Vieux Port (Old Port) of Marseille. While I had imagined a quaint seaside town with relaxing strolls along the waterfront, the reality was quite different. We encountered horrendous traffic from the Marseille airport into the city, and then the hotel and its parking garage was impossible to find along many one-way streets. Let’s just say by the time we arrived at our hotel, everyone was irritated and needed a drink!
Still, one of the highlights of our short stay in Marseille was our early morning 2-km walk uphill to see the picturesque Notre-Dame de la Garde Basilica. Perched on a hilltop south of Vieux Port, this Catholic church features a panoramic view of Marseille, the mountains, the Mediterranean Sea and nearby islands in the distance. The views alone are worth the strenuous hike uphill!
Built between 1853 and 1864, this Romanesque-Byzantine style basilica is decorated with colored marble and many murals depicting the safe passage of sailing vessels and superb mosaics. The structural elements inside reminded us of many churches and churches turned mosques that we’ve seen in Turkey.
After exploring the hilltop, we wandered downhill to find a patisserie and refueled with a dose of sugar and caffeine. To my delight, we arrived back in the port just in time to watch the fishermen setting up for Marseille's outdoor Fish Market (Le Marché de la Pêche). The market is held every morning from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. How I wish we had a kitchen to cook some of this amazingly fresh seafood!
If hubby and I ever return to Marseille, I doubt we’d be staying in the touristy port area. We like more off-the-beaten path locations, but this sufficed for our grandparents for one night and that’s all that matters.
I’m linking this post to the monthly travel guide link up organized by Fiona, a fellow Australian blogger, at TiffinBite Sized Food Adventures. Each month features a new letter of the alphabet. This month is the letter “M.” Please pop on over to Fiona’s blog to read more travel stories!