The dream of every traveler is to explore each city so well that you can live it like a local.
But for different reasons, you often end up adapting your desire to the obligations and time.
So, between a book and some notes, I succeeded in making a battle plan in order to see the most of Marseille in the thirty-six hours ca I had available.
Every trip I take, I get more and more convinced about how important it is to visit not only the city centre, but also the rural areas.
I couldn’t make it to the Calanques, a natural park ten miles on the South of Marseille, but I absolutely had to go to the Frioul islands.
The first stop of the bateau is Chateau d’If, also know as the Castle of the Count of Monte Cristo.
With the following bateau, you get off to the other two islands, connected between them and perfect place for nature-lovers. And if you happen in a warm day, don’t forget to bring along your swimsuit and enjoy the little bays with their stunning blue shades.
(If you’d like to know more about the islands, wait for the next posts!)
The Old Port is for sure one of the most marvelous areas.
The Sunday morning I arrived, the perfume of the sea, the seagulls’ calls, the spectacular colours of the famous Marseille soap, and the voices of the inhabitants welcomed me to the city.
The Canebière is the boulevard that, from the Old Port, gets directly into the city, impregnated with spices of the Arabic shops and the several restaurants.
My itinerary, then, went on till the Longchamp, a complex of gardens and palace, that currently hosts the Museum of Fine Arts.
Unfortunately it was Sunday, and the visiting hours had already finished…
Notre Dame de la Garde
The visit of Marseille in uncomplete if you miss Notre Dame de la Garde.
The basilique, reachable both by bus or on foot, overlooks the city from the top of the hill where it is situated.
The romanic-bizantine building is composed of a low church and a high one, covered in golden mosaics and dedicated to Virgin Mary. A Virgin Mary that, from the high of the towerbell, protects the sailors, the fishermen, and the whole Marseille population.
This is where the nickname Bonne Mère (Good Mother) originates from.
Marseille Free Walking Tour
The key of this plan in saving time and money has actually been the Free Marseille Walking Tour that, for a free offer, proposes a guided tour in English for the city, looking for authentic spots and cultural curiosities.
Le Panier is the oldest neighborhood in the city, in which getting lost is mandatory.
Walking up and down, it is impossible to not get dragged into the art and the bohemian / hispter style.
(Make sure to not forget the camera!)
Where did I find my accomodation?
I booked a bed in a four-bed dormitory at the Hostel Vertigo Vieux Port that, surprinsigly for me, it even had an en-suite toilet!
I couldn’t love it – clean, completely safe, with a warm atmosphere and my lovely roommates!
Which flights did I take?
I took advantage of the autumnal offers by Volotea, leaving at 7am on Sunday and coming back in the afternoon on Monday.
There are shuttles that, every 15 minutes, reach the main station from the airport of Marseille.
Where did I eat?
At the supermarket. The most low-cost option that allowed me to look around the shelves for the eating habits of French people.