Marseilles: Through the eyes of a native – 3. The beach

Our friends Carole and Daniel planned the perfect day for us in Marseille, complete with sunshine and breezes in this beautiful French coastal city.  After touring all morning, we were hungry!  So we looked for parking and lunch in a town crowded with soccer fans and Sunday strollers.

Parking garages indicate how many empty spots are available on each level. Marseille, France
Parking garages indicate how many empty spots are available in each garage in Marseille, France.
Marseille, France
Carole, Denise, Daniel and Sher in the parking garage at Marseille, France
L'Ecailler Restaurant in Marseille, France
A typical French cafe, the L’Ecailler Restaurant in Marseille, France

Here’s a tiny video of Denise and Sher trying to figure out a French menu before they were brought the menu in English.

L'Ecailler Restaurant in Marseille, France
The menu at L’Ecailler Restaurant in Marseille, France

L'Ecailler Restaurant in Marseille, France

We ate outside on a screened porch but this is the interior of the L’Ecailler Restaurant in Marseille, France

L'Ecailler Restaurant in Marseille, France
The home made Rock Fish soup is really a rather bland fish broth with some croutons in it at the L’Ecailler Restaurant in Marseille, France
L'Ecailler Restaurant in Marseille, France
This is the whole plancho grilled bass with vegetables which was delicious at the L’Ecailler Restaurant in Marseille, France
L'Ecailler, Marseille, France
A surprise egg was holding the bass up to make the plate pretty and give a bit of lagniappe at L’Ecailler, Marseille, France.
L'Ecailler, Marseille, France
Butcher’s choice beef with forestiere sauce is tasty at L’Ecailler, Marseille, France.
L'Ecailler, Marseille, France
Sher gets freaked at heads-on shrimp but there he is in all his glory at L’Ecailler, Marseille, France
The Everglades! in Marseille, France
Look what I discovered outside the restaurant: an Everglades sticker on a scooter! in Marseille, France. (I WANT this scooter.)

Full and relaxed, we headed out to explore the waterfront of Nice.  As we walked, we passed a small market, a mirrored shaded area and the huge ferris wheel we had seen from the basilica.

Marseille, France
A small waterfront tourist market and bicycles for rent in Marseille, France
Marseille, France
Love this mirrored area that provides shade while waiting for the bus in Marseille, France

There was a Picasso exhibit in Marseille but we had already visited Picasso museums in Barcelona, Malaga and Paris and we had viewed his art at numerous galleries throughout Europe (damn, that man was prolific!).  So we skipped this exhibit although the Museum of European and Mediterranean Civilisations building, itself, is stunning.  It’s called the J4 (the name of the pier) for short.

Marseille, France
The Picasso exhibit in Marseille, France.

See that lacy work extending out from the museum?  That is concrete!  It encases the building and provides shade.

The walls of the Museum of the European and Mediterranean Civilisations building features quotations from the Universal Declaration for Human Rights which I teach in my ethics courses.  It was adopted by the United Nations in 1948 and set out for the first time fundamental human rights to be universally protected (United Nations). It was thrilling to see these words written on walls for all to see.

Marseille, France
Universal Declaration of Human Rights Article 14 at the Museum of European and Mediterranean Civilisations in Marseille, France

The real reason we stopped at the museum was to use the restrooms and take the exterior spiralling walkway to the roof.  Once on the roof we climbed round and round the building to a bridge that connected the museum to an old sea-side port.  The port has been rennovated into a relaxing space for concerts, cocktails and relaxation next to the sea.

Marseille, France
Up on the roof of the J4, people relaxed on a beautiful Sunday afternoon under the concrete webbing that provided shade. Marseille, France.
Marseille, France
This is the walkway we crossed to get to the fort by the sea. It was wild seeing the traffic woosh under us. Marseille, France
Photo source: http://us.france.fr/en/events/picasso-lart-populaire-%E2%80%93-retrospective-museum-european-and-mediterranean-civilisations-marsei
This shows the the J4 museum and the bridge extending over to the old Fort St. Jean. If you look closely at the museum you will see the exterior staircase on the left which we used to walk around the building to the roof.  Photo source: http://us.france.fr/en/events/picasso-lart-populaire-%E2%80%93-retrospective-museum-european-and-mediterranean-civilisations-marsei
DSC03657 Marseille France
Here we are crossing the bridge to the port. J4 in Marseille, France.

As we crossed the bridge, several young teenagers were stopped in the middle of the bridge calling down to boys diving into the sea and urging them to “Jump!”  Here’s a little video of their antics.  And here are the boys, below, swimming.  And here’s a very short video of a boat coming into port.

We often stumbled upon choirs singing in unexpected places. This choir was singing in the courtyard of the old port next to the Marseille waterfront.  Here’s a little video.

The bridge/walkway is a beautiful place to view Marseille.  Here’s a city view I took while strolling.

Marseille, France
Marseille, France
Marseille, France
And here’s a view of the sweet little flowers lining the walkways. Marseille, France
Marseille, France
The port is the center of boating in Marseille, France.
Marseille, France
I couldn’t believe the size of some of the boats docked in the harbor in Marseille, France
Marseille, France
Art was sprinkled throughout the venue in the most unexpected places at J4 in Marseille, France
Marseille, France
One of the many bars set up on the J4 for visitors to enjoy in Marseille, France

 

Marseille, France
Really? Even docked boats are beautiful in Marseille, France
Marseille, France
Boys swimming in the J4 Port in Marseille, France

Now here’s why we were going to skip Marseilles.  Back home in the states, just before we left, I binge-watched the European crime drama series The Last Panthers.  The series is set in Marseilles and concerns Balcan jewel thieves called the Pink Panthers.  It shows a dirty, gritty harbor-front city where no one is safe.  Ever.  Alors, that’s television for you.  Thank goodness Carole and Daniel changed my mind entirely about this wonderful, clean, happy city of Marseilles.

At the end of our very long and rich day in Marseille, we were blessed with a gorgeous sunset at our swapped home in Mallemort thanks to Pascale and Renee.  We also swapped homes with Carole and Daniel in Paris and I look forward to lending them my home next spring. Homeexchange.com gives us such a rich experience when traveling in Europe because we get to live in real homes in real neighborhoods.  More important, we meet the most wonderful people!

Marseille, France
Carole and Daniel’s home outside of Marseille, France
Marseille, France
Carole and Daniel treated us to dinner at their home in Provence, introducing Sher to one of her favorite wines of all time.
DSC03704 Mallemort France
Good night! Mallemort, France

We are forever grateful for this wonderful day with Carole and Daniel.

NOTE:  We saw so much that I’ve split Marseille into three separate blog entries.

1.   This is the first entry, Unite d’Habitation Le Corbusier. Marseille, France.  

2.  The second entry is Basilique Notre-Dame de la Garde. Marseille, France.  

3.  The third entry is the waterfront and a typical French lunch.  Marseille, France.

Author: barbgrano1

Just let me see the world! I’m currently focusing on the US and Europe and invite you to share my travels. I teach ethics and political science at St. Petersburg College part time; I retired as a college administrator in Ohio. I am a total geek about government with huge wishes for continued freedom and respect for the individual. We must each do our part.

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