Tuesday, November 22, 2011

European Flashback #2: Marseille, France!

December 2009 was an oldie but a goodie for me. I spent one week (and my New Year's Eve) in the town of Solliès-Toucas with my French BFF Michèle. It was thanks to her and her family that I discovered the city of Marseille by having a lovely dinner in the Vieux Port and taking a gander of the tower alabaster basilica that is Notre Dame de la Garde.

This was the nativity display featuring the terra cotta figurines known as the "Santons," the little saints. They depict not only the Holy family but also aspects of villagers in the 19th century.

This wall holds portraits that were commissioned by sailors who were grateful to Notre Dame de la Garde for having protected them overseas.

Those sailors were very thankful back then.

I was lucky to have been present for this sunset. With the elevation, the view was breath-taking.

The Old Port with Christmas decorations.

We also drove by the Velodrome stadium, where the football (soccer) team Olympique Marseille play.

During my trip, Michèle lent me her copies of Marcel Pagnol's Marius, Fanny et César to read. Also featured are my gifts of a little compact mirror and a pearl necklace.

The French dinner table, as I remember it best.

What would a Provençal home be without its little saints?

And the best part about Marseille?

The traffic jams by the sea. Whoot, whoot.

Barb the French Bean


  1. The only time I've been to Marseille was a layover at the airport on my way to Corsica from Beglium. I was supposed to have 5h and was going to meet some family friends for lunch and a quick tour, but y flight out of Bruxelles was overbooked so I got put on a small plane to Basel in Switzerland and from there to Marseille and made it just in time to catch my Corsican flight! The worst part was desperately trying to contact these friends via the airport since none of us had cellphones...

    I'll have to go visit the city some day.

    I have heard about the Santons, a friend of mine collects them! They're a lot bigger than the typical figures we put in the "Belén" here in Spain each year, but the concept is the same. :o)

  2. If you ever do get the chance to visit, I suggest that you pay attention to your belongings. Marseille is well-known throughout France as having lots of rascals and pickpockets, especially at the train stations. :\

  3. I lived in Mexico City for 7 years... I learnt how to not lose things to light fingers! ;o)

    But thanks for the warning, I tend to let my guard down in Europe, everything feels so safe here! :o)

  4. Hello Barbara

    I keep thinking of you and as I like the way you write, I wanted to read again the post you wrote last February after our short holiday in Orcières Merlette. Its title was:" Why I'll never be a ski instructor?" Where has it gone?
    I'll soon be back to Solliès-Toucas for the Christmas holiday and I guess you'll be on my mind all the time when I stroll round the " Marché de Noel" in Toulon. I miss the laughs we had and our mutual efforts to improve our non-native languages if I can put it that way. I hope you received the Advent calendar I e-mailed you last week. A bientôt. Gros bisous. BFF Michèle

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Apparently, leaving comments on this blog is a hit-or-miss game of Russian roulette: you are either lucky and can comment away, or you are required to log in when the settings are CLEARLY set to allow trouble-free commenting (sorry 'bout that, folks). If anything, the Facebook page is always a viable option. :) -Barb