Thursday, December 13, 2012

October 23rd: Lyon to Marseilles

After grabbing breakfast, we checked out of the hotel and hit the road just after 9am. Lyon was great, but it was time to head south.

At least the toll on this leg wasn't 33 Euro!

After a few hours we reached Marseilles, on the southern coast. It was picked as Europe's Cultural Capitol for 2013...which unfortunately meant that when we were there it was a hot mess of construction. Somehow none of my pictures did that justice. See how pretty it all is? Now imagine that it's 80+ degrees and humid and every single bit of the city is under loud dusty construction. Welcome to Marseilles.

We had an hour or two before we could check into the hotel, so we left the car in a parking garage and walked along Vieux Port (as best we could with the barricades and fences and cement trucks and jackhammers).

That's Basilique Notre Dame de la Garde up on the hill across the water. I love how it towers over the port.

We wandered away from the port for a little while to check out Cathedrale de la Major.

It was finished in 1896 and replaced a different cathedral. It was closed so we couldn't wander around inside, but it still looked pretty neat from the outside.

The view of the Mediterranean was pretty neat, too.

We made our way back to the car, checked into the hotel, grabbed some ice cream, and tried not to melt ourselves while we sat outside and ate. Did I mention it was hot? Because it was. After taking a break in the hotel room, we decided to grab a bus (because there was NO way I was hiking up that hill in that heat) up the hill across the port to see the Basilique Notre Dame de la Garde.

It was purty. Several different versions of the church have stood here over time, but this one was built on the remains of a 16th century fort.

The view of the city from the hill was fantastic. I still am baffled by how beautiful Marseilles is from my pictures when it was so hot and constructiony when we were actually there.

You could wander all around the cathedral, inside and out. I rounded this corner and nobody was there; it was so quiet and peaceful.

Looking off the side of the cathedral toward the city.

You could actually go inside this one; the interior may have been my favorite one of the trip.

The Basilica was shot up a bit in 1944 during the Liberation of France; at the time it was occupied by the German army. You can still see the gashes in the rock.

Oh Marseilles, so pretty from far away.

Rather than wait for the bus, we decided to walk back to the port since it was all downhill. STEEP downhill. I wouldn't want to have to park my car on this street!

Sunset along the port.

Turns out almost everything in Marseilles (at least that we could find) closed early. You'd think around 6pm you could find a place to grab dinner, but we eventually wound up in a sketchy neighborhood at a crêperie. The food was decent and the waiter used us to practice his English while we used him to practice our French.

We eventually made our way back to the hotel; we were really looking forward to the next morning so we could get out of Marseilles. I know that sounds bad, but here are some notes I took that day:
Hello construction!
Holy monkeys it's hot.
Mark does not like Marseilles even though it was his idea to come here.
Got pooped on.   :(
Look for dinner; 6pm and everything is closed.

We were only staying for the night, to the French Riviera in the morning!

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