After my weekend in the Drome Provencale I headed down to the South of France with my grandfather as he had to attend a couple of seminars in Aix-en-Provence and Marseille. Sometimes I wonder if he’s really 97 years old or if this is some sort of switched-at-birth-mistake… how can anyone have so much energy at his age? He walks faster than me sometimes! Although, if you asked him this question I’m pretty certain his answer would be: ‘the secret’s in the Bordeaux rouge‘! :)
Whilst he attended his meetings, I walked around town and made some lovely discoveries. I had never been to Marseille or Aix before so it was really lovely to discover a new part of my home country.
On our way back from our trip, we also stopped for a night at my grandfather’s holiday home near Cannes. It was a very quick stopover but it was long enough to enjoy an apéritif on the deck and play a game of pétanque of course.
Here are some pics I took along the way:
Marseille is a very big city (the second largest in France) so if you’re short on time like I was I’d definitely recommend you focus on the ‘Panier’ (the oldest and most historical part of town) and the ‘Vieux port‘ (the old harbor). The Basilica of Notre-Dame de la Garde is also worth a visit and offers a stunning view of Marseille. I decided to tackle the steep hill by foot and climbed up what felt like 1000 steps but you could be much more clever than me and simply take the bus (like everyone else did – I definitely had the steps all to myself!).
Aix en Provence is much smaller than Marseille but it more than makes up for its size with its charm. I only had a day to spend in the city but it was definitely enough to make me fall in love.
The city’s architecture is absolutely gorgeous. The main boulevard (Le Cours mirabeau) is lined with hotels particuliers (private mansions) dating back from the 17th/18th century and all have beautiful fronts. The rest of the old town is equally interesting and full of historical gems. I also loved the fact that there were many little fountains and squares scattered around the place. It reminded me a lot of Italy somehow…
People appeared really laid back (French people always tease southerners for being too relaxed) and everyone seemed to have time to enjoy a glass of rosé at the end of the day outside the many cafes. This is the life!
The French Riviera
My grandfather’s holiday house (which he bought with my grandmother back in the 1970’s) is situated between St Raphael and Cannes in a little village called Le Trayas. There is literally nothing around except for houses, the beach and a dairy. And it’s just the way we like it.