After spending our first night at the cruise ship, it was time for our first stop – Marseille. It was an amazing feeling waking up and knowing that we were already in a different country. We had an early call time, but of course we couldn’t do anything but to get ready on time. A day of exploring awaits!
Marseille is a rich, pulsing port city bubbling over with history, cutting-edge creative spaces and hip multicultural urbanites. Since Greek settlers came ashore around 600 BC, waves of immigrants have made Marseille (now France’s second-largest city) their home.
Marseille’s iconic figure, Notre-Dame de la Garde or “La Bonne Mère” watches over sailors, fishermen and the entire city. It is located on the top of the hill, and also offers great views of the city.
We also had a photo stop at The Palais Longchamp. It brings the Museum of Fine Arts, Natural History Museum and botanical garden (formerly a zoo) together on a single site.
Our next stop was Aix-en Provence.
A pocket of left-bank Parisian chic deep in Provence, Aix is all class: its leafy boulevards and public squares are lined with 17th- and 18th-century mansions, punctuated by gurgling moss-covered fountains. Haughty stone lions guard its grandest avenue, cafe-laced cours Mirabeau, where fashionable Aixois pose on polished pavement terraces sipping espresso. While Aix is a student hub, its upscale appeal makes it pricier than other Provençal towns.
We walked around and browsed through small shops (although a lot were closed, maybe because it was a Sunday) and just enjoyed strolling around a Parisian town.
After our stroll, we took a break and sat down near Fontaine de la Rotonde, a huge fountain from 1860 in the centre of Aix’ main roundabout. Some pigeons also approached us as we ate some snacks.
Although we had very limited time, it was nice to see and visit the main sights of Marseille and Aix-en-Provence. Next stop, Italy!
For more posts about our European adventures, click on the following: