A few days in Marseille


I don’t think Marseille is too popular with visitors to France; certainly not when you compare it to other French towns and cities.

The French themselves will tell you that it is ‘dangerous’. It’s true that some of the suburbs are not the kinds of places you want to go wandering into at night, but the city itself is as safe as most big cities. The trouble is, when a few people tell you somewhere is dangerous it changes your perception a little, and you find yourself constantly on your guard, waiting for something to happen.

Marseille has an airport, but unfortunately the budget airlines all go to Nice two hours down the road, so nobody much bothers with Marseille. That’s a pity, because it would make a nice little ‘cheap weekend away’ type place. One day, maybe, EasyJet will start flying there, and then everyone will be going and raving about how cute and multicultural it is. Meanwhile, enjoy it before everyone else catches on.

I took the two-hour train journey there from Cannes, stayed the night and then headed up to Aix-en-Provence the next day. Marseille is one of the poorest cities in France and Aix one of the richest, although they are only a forty minute bus journey apart. It made for an interesting contrast.

I spent most of my time in Marseille hanging around the vieux (old) port area.

I found some street art in the trendy La Plaine quarter.


Of course there was a Christmas market.IMG_0939

In fact there were two.

This one specialised in figurines. Mary, Joseph and other random folk.

This one specialised in figurines. Mary, Joseph and other random folk.

Plus a regular fruit and veg market.

Fruit and veg market.  Most of Marseille's immigrant population come from Comoros' a former French colony that is now the third poorest country in the world.

Most of Marseille’s immigrant population come from Comoros, a former French colony that is now the third poorest country in the world.

And a little fish market down by the port.

Selling the day's catch down by the old port.

Selling the day’s catch down by the old port.

I would have liked to have stayed another day, but it was already Christmas Eve and I was worrying about the transport shutting down, everything closing and being stuck in Marseille for Christmas with nothing to do.  I needn’t have worried because this is France not England and the whole country doesn’t grind to a halt for one silly day.

5 replies »

    • The one in Manchester is supposed to be famous; I read something and now can’t remember what I read. But that was why I was surprised; I was expecting something better.
      I think there’s only 2 days left now before they pull them down, and I”ve certainly seen enough of them.

      • It is big, and spread out over the city centre. Seeing it’s a big week for shopping I’ve always been surprised how the Manchester one finishes early before Christmas. This year it was set to run 14th November to the 21st December, but I see now they extended it by a day due to demand.

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