Our panoramic tour of the highlights of Marseille took us along the beautiful Mediterranean coastline, up through the rocky limestone hills, and into the inviting old port.
Although Marseille is France’s oldest city, rich in historic treasures, it has an exciting vibe as they prepare for the 2024 Paris Olympics. Marseille will be hosting the Olympic sailing competitions, so the harbor areas are bustling as impressive event and viewing facilities emerge. Cranes dot the coastline as preparations are well underway.
Several remarkable monuments dot the coast, including the welcoming Monument Aux Morts Orients and an imposing replica of Michelangelo’s David. Built in 1924, the Monument Aux Morts Orients is a national tribute to the soldiers and sailors who died in battle in the Orient and other distant lands.
And I can’t imagine that David, built in 1903 in the 8th arrondissement on the Prado roundabout, hasn’t caused a traffic incident or two!
And beautiful beaches offer recreation and respite from the heat, which reached 90 throughout the day.
Marseille is home to several beautiful churches, most visibly the neo-Byzantine Notre Dame de la Garde, the Cathedral de la Major, and the quaint Saint-Ferreol, known as the Church of the Old Port of Marseille. Notre Dame, perched high above the port city, stands guard over the city day and night.
The charming Vieux Port (Old Port) is a natural harbor that hosts hundreds of watercraft, from sleek elegant yachts to old style fishing boats. This picturesque quay provides a romantic setting for its many shops, sidewalk cafes, and unique attractions. Many of the shops offer the products of Provence, including whole stores dedicated to the ubiquitous lavender, olive oil, and other mouth-watering delicacies. The recent addition of motorized scooters and bicycles add to the excitement, as riders dart through the crowded sidewalks.
We might have spent a little too much time in the charming La Cure Gourmande, an iconic shop offering sweets of all kinds, as the shopkeeper offered Doug an apron and a job!
And we couldn’t leave the Old Port without a nod to the Grand Carousel de la Canebiere.