Take me away to Marseille 2017

By | May 15, 2017

Gimme the sound of the rolling dice
Gimme a whiskey, don’t think twice
Deal me the card that takes my blues away
Take me away to Marseilles

The Angels – Marseilles (1978)

We’re really enjoying exploring Marseille and, after an excellent evening ramble and dinner last night we were up early this morning to check out the area around our apartment using the shared bikes.  Luckily there’s a rack just outside our apartment front door and we were able to create access codes online last night.  It costs 1 Euro for a seven day access code which has to be entered to hire a bike. The first half hour is free and then additional hours are charged at 1 Euro per hour.  The intent is to encourage riders to use the bikes for short trips between destinations.  The system in Marseille is virtually the same as the Velib system in Paris, although there are fewer docking stations. For anyone travelling overseas we can recommend the CityBikes app which gives access to pretty much every shared bike system in cities around the world.  It will tell you the location of bike stations and show in real time both the number of bikes available and the number of vacant docks available.  In cities like Paris and London this is invaluable as it can be frustrating to try to find a dock within your first free half hour and find that there are none available.

Our pedalling takes us to the entrance to the Old Port and the old fort buildings there which have now been turned into a museum.  As usual, it is so much quicker and easier to cover some ground and see lots of things from the seat of one of these heavy three speed bikes.

As we head back around the port, dodging the gathering throngs of tourists lining up for Hop On Hop Off bus tours, we find that the morning fish markets are attracting attention on the edge of the port as they have done for many many years.
The boats are moored on the dock and the catch of the day, still wriggling, is sold to those waiting for some ingredients for a fish stew or whatever else takes their fancy.





We then continue on around the other side of the Port where we can see the entrance to  and the clean looking water with the mountains in the background.  It certainly is a lovely coast and this city has been a melting pot of many peoples and cultures for a huge amount of time.

It’s such a nice day that we decide to get onboard one of the ‘Petit Trains‘ which carry loads of tourists around the Corniche JFK and up to the high point of the city where the Basilique Notre Dame de la Garde sits, imposingly overseeing the city.

The train looks like the type of thing that parents cram aboard with excited children but it provides a great trip for the princely sum of 8 Euro each and, when we see people puffing and perspiring to make the steep 30 minute trudge up the mountain on foot we’re glad of our choice.  The view from the top is spectacular 360 degrees of the entirety of Marseilles.

After checking out the view in all directions it’s back in the queue for the train and a more direct descent back to the port before grabbing a couple more velos and heading around to find a restaurant offering the three course Plat de Jour for a leisurely Sunday lunch.

Marseilles is showing that it’s well worth a visit. Here’s just a snippet of some cycling sights around the Old Port.



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