I spent my last day in Marseille seeing Notre-Dame de la Garde which sits on the top of the highest hill around and had some terrific views of the city. To get up there, my brother and I walked up some pretty steep, San Francisco-like streets.
The tower of Notre-Dame de la Garde is capped by a colossal statue of the Virgin Mary with Baby Jesus.
The interior had some amazing mosaics on the wall. It was a tremendous effect when combined with the striped stonework.
The views over the city and out to the Frioul Islands were terrific. You definitely get a sense of how Marseille is the second largest city in France.
After that I headed up to the Palais Longchamp to hang out in the park and read for a bit. Both museums were closed, one for renovation the other because it was Monday, but the park was nice.
I spent my second day in Marseille out on a series of islands that are a 20 minute boat ride away. The first island barely fits the Château d’If that perches on top of it. The castle itself is relatively basic and bare but it gives some great views back to Marseille and the surrounding islands.
From there my brother and I headed to the nearby Frioul islands. These have a few forts on them and include a hospital that was used for plague patients a few centuries ago. The water is gorgeous and we found a quiet cove to just hang out in. I got some great reading time in too.
After that we headed back to Marseille. The boat ride back had cool views of the harbor and surrounding buildings that you don’t see from land.
My first full day in Marseille was split between being out near my brother’s university and wandering around the city. My hotel is right in Vieux Port which is terrific. Tons of restaurants, bars, and shopping right nearby and easy access to metro and busses.
In the morning I headed out toward the southeast where my brother’s staying this semester. We hiked out to the nearby calanques. These were gorgeous and just a 30 minute hike from his school.
We hung out on the rocks at the bottom here where there were a series of coves you could swim in. There was also the occasional tour boat of people but they didn’t come too far into the cove.
After getting back into Marseille I headed out to the Cathédrale de la Major. It’s a fantastic domed cathedral that was practically empty when I went in.
I forget who this statue is off but it’s just off to the side of the cathedral.
From there I wandered around the harbor and surrounding neighborhoods a lot. My Fitbit is quite happy with the number of steps I’ve taken.
Spent most of yesterday and today traveling from San Sebastián to Marseille. Yesterday I took a bus to Bilbao and visited the Guggenheim there. Really cool building with an underwhelming permanent collection. Handily they had a visiting collection of post-war modern art which was terrific.
Today I got up bright and early at 5:30am to catch my 7am flight to Marseille. Walked all around this afternoon and now am heading out to dinner in a bit. Plus, check out my view. 🙂