Saturday, April 20, 2019

25th Anniversary Cruise, Part 3: Marseilles

In this series of posts I'm describing the Mediterranean Cruise my wife Becky and I took in 2018 for our 25th anniversay, Here in Part 3 I'm covering our third stop, Marseilles France.

Days at Sea

So far we'd had a great time at our point of embarkation, Barcelona. After a day at sea we visited Stop 2, Gibraltar which we also greatly enjoyed. Now after another day at sea we crossed into France to visit Marseilles. This was my first time to France.

Days at sea are a chance to enjoy the ship. One of the nice benefits of a cruise ship is the food. While specialty restraurants and the cafes cost extra, your cruise includes both the main dining room and buffet, both of which are available for breakfast lunch and dinner. 

Life at Sea

While most days at sea are casual, there are a handful of formal nights. This is a chance to dress and up and perhaps dine at one of the fancier restaurants. We celebrated one evening at the Crown Grill, the ship's steak restaurant, which we really enjoyed.

Crown Grill

Marseilles (★★★)

Everyone knows of Paris, but Marseilles is also a vitally important French city. It is sometimes called the "secret capital of France". While Paris is the largest French city in terms of population, Marseilles is the largest in terms of area. It is also the oldest city in the country with a history that goes back over 2600 years: Marseilles was settled by ancient Greeks.

Located on the French Riviera, Marseilles is beautiful. It is full of picuturesque locations and amazing architecture. Even while on the tour bus just driving through the city again and again you would see jaw-dropping sights. Below are a few I quickly grabbed with my camera.

Captured on the Tour Bus

Palais Longchamp

The Palais Longchamp is a palace that was built to celebrate completion of a canal. The palace itself was strikingly beautiful, but I was saddened to see graffiti at the edges. Who would deface something like this?

Palais Longchamp

Chateau D'If

The Chateau D'If (below left) was a fortress that served as an effective deterrent against attack. It later become a prison. It had a number of famous prisoners, including some fictional ones: if you're familiar with The Count of Monte Cristo, this is the setting for Edmond Dantes' incarceration.

Chataeu D'If and Arch

At the seaport we were also shown a number of monuments and buildings, not all of which I remember the details about.

Notre-Dame de la Garde

Notre-Dame de la Garde is a basicila built on Marseille's highest point that has become the city's best-known symbol. It's a long climb up many steps to reach the top, but the view is worth it.

Notre Dame de la Garde

Seaport and Crepes

We were given some free time for lunch at the Port Vieux seaport. We found a cafe that served crepes, and had crepes and Nutella. It was delicious. Becky, who grew up in Austria, is particularly fond of Nutella.

Crepes and Nutella

Right across the street, was an interesting piece of artwork, the Port Vieux Pavilion. It mirrors real life, so that if you looked up you saw the city mirrored. It kind of reminded me of Chicago's Cloud Gate ("the bean").

Port Vieux Pavilion

We had an enjoyable time in Marseilles, and know that we only scratched the surface. We give it a rating of 3 stars, but suspect we might raise that with more time.

Prev: Part 2: Gibraltar
Next: Part 4: Genoa / Portofino

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