Prepare to be seduced . . .
MARSEILLE was one of the biggest surprises on my recent visit to sun-kissed southern France.
I’ve always held the impression Marseille had nothing to offer, but I was very wrong.
With more than 1500 years of history, the city is amazing, the Old Port, Old Marseille – Le Panier with tiny streets and squares, then the magnificent Notre Dame de la Garde.
This charming city in France’s Provence region has undergone an extensive facelift for its reign as European Capital of Culture 2013 and now boasts world-class museums, galleries and performing arts. Prepare to be seduced by the vibrant port city.
Notre Dame de la Garde dominates the cityscape from its position on top of the La Garde Hill that overlooks the old port.
The structure was built in the Romano-Byzantine style and features two parts, the lower church and crypt and the higher church dedicated to the Virgin Mary.
The heart of Marseille is the vibrant Vieux Port, mast-to-mast with yachts and pleasure boats. Just uphill is the ancient Le Panier neighbourhood, the oldest section of the city. It is filled with tall, narrow houses draped with washing and criss-crossed by steep cobbled steps. Also worth exploring is the Reìpublique quarter with its stylish boutiques and Haussmann buildings from the early 19th century.
The Joliette area was once home to the city’s industrial harbour and now hosts one of Marseille’s busiest markets and includes shops, boutiques and galleries.