Pre­pare to be se­duced . . .

The Coffs Coast Advocate - - LIFE ESCAPE - GLENDA HAL­LI­WELL from The Travel Cen­tre Coffs Har­bour

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.

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