A romantic day in Marseilles…Photos…

Le Grand Hotel in Marseilles, France.

He went kicking and screaming. My dear husband Tom, not one to do lines, participate in group activities, ride on a bus with tourists or wander through crowded areas, tentatively agreed to go on an excursion with me to Marseilles, France. 

Now a popular department store.

Had he chosen not to go, I would have gone on my own, determined not to miss seeing the second largest city in France’s southern coastal area.

Lifestyles of the rich and famous, an endless array of watercraft, some small and unassuming, others stunning and opulent, all a part of the resort atmosphere of the city of Marseilles.

No doubt, the prospect of being herded like cattle onto the bus was most annoying to him. But the bus was newer, air conditioned and surrounded with massive windows suitable for photo taking.

As we looked out at the island of the Count of Monte Christo, the tour guide explained that no such person actually existed.  But tourists arrive from all over the world to see the supposed island of the fictional Count.

Packed in the narrow seats, we took off from the parking lot near the pier for a full afternoon of
experiencing the sights and sounds of the city of Marseilles. As mentioned yesterday, the cost for two for the excursion was $150 which included a 21% VAT (value added tax).

Historic church we zoomed past.  Couldn’t get the name.

As we arrived at our first destination,  the famous Palais de Longchamps, renowned opulent “water tower” (it didn’t resemble a water tower in any manner) Tom grumbled as we exited the bus, preferring to wait on the bus while I got off to enthusiastically take photos.   

Palais de Longchamp is not a palace, instead a tribute to importance of the water supply in Marseilles. Please click here for historical significance.
Unfortunately, we only had 10 minutes at this site, preventing us from further exploration.

With only 10 minutes until we were required to return to the bus, he had a ready-made excuse to hurry me along. So impatient! I didn’t protest while doing exactly as I pleased, all the while ignoring his grumpy demeanor, which I’d learned to do long ago. 

Sidewalk café where Tom ate his ice cream.
The selection of gelato was mouth watering. 

I don’t fight. Nope, I won’t fight. I refuse to participate in the idle ranting of a grump. Have you ever caught anyone fighting when there is no audience? We don’t fight without a willing participant. 

The gelato shop, Regal Glace Café was located on the Place Gabriel Peri, a quaint location down the road from massive marina.  See Tom in the foreground enjoying his gelato as I took the photo.

So, long ago, I decided to be void of reaction to his occasional grumblings, knowing in a short time he’d lose interest and go back to his generally cheerful self.

Back on the bus, he mumbled under his breath, “Next time we stop, I’m not getting off the bus.”

“OK,” I calmly retorted, a smile on my face as I peered out the window at the wealth of beauty, a feast for the eyes, as we drove along the coast.

A short time later when we arrived at the Arche en Bord de Mer, I said “Excuse me, Honey,” as I unbuckled my seat belt in preparation for getting off the bus. 
Tom happy in front of the Arch.
 Me, equally happy that he is off the bus.
A kindly passenger on bus offered to take a photo of us together. 

Immediately, he stood, extending his hand to me as we made our way down the steep steps of the bus together both grinning from ear to ear. 

A little sandwich shop along the street. 

Thus, our romantic day in Marseilles began leaving us with memories we’ll treasure forever. 

Sycamore trees beginning to bloom as spring approaches.  The weather was cool.

Whether it was a walk along the busy streets near the marina, Tom’s chocolate mint and coconut cream, gelato cone from a shop along the street where a purchase is required to use the restroom (always the case in France, so we learned), or again sitting at a minuscule table on the sidewalk watching passersby, we were in heaven.

Taking photos while the bus zipped along the winding road was difficult through the glass.

Marseilles, a city of great food, entertainment, art, interesting architecture, massive estates of the rich and famous, was made picturesque by it’s close proximity to the Mediterranean Sea.

Love this street sign!

With its seeming endless array of marinas, yachts, beaches, restaurants, bistros, coffee shops and patisseries along the coast, it was easy to become entrenched in the romanticism of this city of 850,000. 

The narrow streets were a wealth of one interesting building after another. Marseilles is a very clean city, a delight to behold.

For us, the hustle and bustle of the city was a delight to behold as a visitor, but such a life would not appeal to us in the long term. We’re not “city people” preferring a more quiet lifestyle surrounded by nature and wildlife.

Taking this photo on foot, as we had an opportunity to walk the area, was the fastest moving 40 minutes of our lives.

Marseilles, although rich in character and style, was void of vegetation with a but a smattering of trees which most likely would be adorned with colorful flowers later in the season. It was still quite cool, the summer season soon to arrive. It’s temperate climate is comparable to California, adding to its draw for the affluent, tourists and retirees.

An old merry-go-round amid the office buildings and shop seemed perfectly in place in this charming city.

Our tour guide explained that a tiny two bedroom appartment near the coast would begin at no less than US $1.5 million, not necessarily affordable for most retirees. 

Arriving back to the pier at 5:30 PM, we were practically floating on air from a glorious day in Marseilles. Now, I am as determined as ever that we’ll spend such a day (or more) in Paris sometime in the future. 

Maybe then, he won’t go kicking and screaming as he recalls our memorable day in Marseilles.