Monday, May 07, 2012

Day Three - Marseilles.

Dimanche 6 mai 2012 - a day of change for France
Not an early start today - just a family breakfast at the hotel with much hugging and kisses as we loaded our baggage in the taxi taking us to Gare de Lyon to catch the TGV to Marseilles. Never been before although Sue had back in the 70s.
Our Taxi was on time and being Sunday morning there was very little traffic to impede our progress. I asked the driver if he was going to vote on this day and then we heard his views on the French Government and the prison system for most of the trip. Oh yes, and the fact he was a scientologist.

Our TGV arrives to take us to the south of France
At Gare de Lyon - unfortunately we didn't have time (or the budget) to lunch at the Blue Train.

Train left 12.30 and arrived at Marsailles 3.5 hours later.
778 kms from Paris to Marsailles.

So much more civilised than sitting in cattle class on a jet from Australia to Paris.
On arrival at Gare de Lyon with plenty of time to spare (we've been caught out before) we had a chance meeting with an American couple (Joanie and Irwin) from Boston who were celebrating a wedding anniversary in France and on their way to Avignon.
We chatted for some time comparing the differences between our two countries and France.
Now I should point out Sue has this TGV ticket thing down to a fine art. By booking several months out and pretending she is French through the French SNCF site, we were able to obtain first class bargain tickets at 40 euro each.
Our new friends travelling to Avignon paid over 120 euro each. I'm sure Sue would have made a great travel agent.

Looking out the window of the TGV as we speed along at 300 kph, the country side is a mass of green fields and yellow canola crops with the odd rural village and/or farm appearing on a hilltop or valley. Ahh! Rural France - it so relaxing.
As we travel further south towards Provence the bright greens and yellows turn to a scrubby rocky terrain with vineyards replacing the canola. Farm houses are replaced by the odd fortified village sitting on a high hilltop. Mont Ventoux looms 1911 metres high to the right hand side of our carriage window and we cross over the Rhone several times as it makes its way to the Mediterranean. We are in Provence, the south of France.

From our hotel room window overlooking Vieux Port.

And at dusk as the sun drops.
Getting off the TGV, we walked to the taxi stand and as our luck would have it, our driver was a new driver who needed to ask for directions. A very nice man though, who actually did get us to our hotel without fuss.

We settled in to the hotel and took a walk around the Marina before finding a restaurant for dinner. As we were enjoying our meal, there was much noise in the streets with kids on motor scooters tooting and igniting flares as they motored up and down the streets.
Hollande is the new French President. 52% to 48% against Sarkozy. It would seem from the celebration in the streets of France's second biggest city, it was a popular result. To be here on such a possibly important event (we shall see with time) will be in our memory for some time.

With a full day tomorrow in Marseilles we may find that we will not be alone on Monday with Tuesday being a holiday (VE Day) in France, we expect that many here will take a "Pont" or bridge weekend by taking the Monday as well. Hope its not too busy.


  1. I have only been to Marseille three times but it was nice. Are you going to go to Cassis and take a boat to see the "calanques"? I won't always have time to comment but will visit everyday.

    1. Sue has already planned to call at Cassis. Is it better to see the calanques from Cassis? We were almost going to do this from Marseille today but was put off by all the tourists here - funny that we don't see ourselves as tourists. That's funny.
      As a serial blog reader, we know you are always out there lurking. Nice to hear from you.

  2. Looks a great view from your hotel and luckily you have got the weather. We have rain forecast again for tomorrow :-(
    Don't know Marseille but the 'calanques' are supposed to be lovely. Hope you keep the weather.

    1. Calanques from Cassis is on our list for tomorrow before staying overnight at Frejus.


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