Marseille

One of my big "to-do's" before leaving France was visiting Marseille.

Every single time that we had a weekend off, a holiday or a vacation I would always throw, not so subtle, hints to my husband to take me to Marseille.

He never had any interest in going.  Sometimes I would go as far as whining (and then I wonder where Nathan gets it from) about "how I would never ever see Marseille" - complete with pouty lips and all.

I have no idea why I was so obsessed with Marseille.  It just sounded, je ne sais pas, fancy.  A port city on the sea, it had to be beautiful, right?  I also became slightly obsessed with a French soap opera while on maternity leave with Nathan and it took place in Marseille; this didn't help the obesession.

And then, a miracle happened!!  During one of the long holiday weekends in May my husband said "why don't we go to Marseille".  I might have fallen off my chair, excusez-moi?  Actually, I said nothing.  I was afraid of jinxing it.
This picture would be gorgeous without that crazy girl in the back with her mouth open. 


We booked a hotel near the port, packed up the kids and set out on the five hour drive to Marseille.

I should say that Marseille has been chosen as the European Capital of Culture for 2013, which meant that now in 2012 the city is a dump under construction.  Seriously.  All of it.  It took us over an hour to find our hotel because all of the streets were condemned with holes and big tractors.  Cornel was ready to turn around and drive back home - we are not quitters, though, and this vacation would carry on!!


We visited the Vieux Port (Old Port), complete with Pirate Ship.  This was the peak of the vacation for Nathan, who only wanted to see the bateau (the boat).


We also took an hour long boat trip around the harbor.  The sea was rough and the winds were cold, which is the perfect combination for a two year old.  He thought he was on a ride at Disneyland.  Once the weather got too rough to sit outside, Nathan loudly proclaimed that it was his boat and he wasn't going inside.  What can I say, the kid is stubborn.

We also enjoyed, the world famous, Marseille Bouillabaisse (fish soup).  I'm glad I ate it once in my lifetime, but since I'm not a fish lover (take that Google SOE) I probably won't be eating it again.

I think might expression might just say it all.


The one thing about the South of France, is that the fresh seafood is everywhere.  Every restaurant serves the catch of the day, and if you are feeling adventurous you can buy your own fresh fish at the outdoor fish market.

Fishermen dock their boats on the port and let you buy whatever they caught that day.  Most of the fish are still swimming.  Nathan got a kick out of seeing all of these creatures close up- especially the octopus.  Talk about a teachable moment.

There was also a trip into Old Town Marseille (via touristic train).  We took some time out to walk around and soak up some local culture.  Nathan took this time to "feed the ducks".  When you are two, any bird that will eat bread you throw at them is a duck, and he loved every second of it.

Noah was a little sick the entire trip but he was a trooper through it all.  And while I will never want to re-visit Marseilles, I'm glad that we at least went once in our lifetime.

Are there places that you've dreamed of going that didn't live up to expectations?
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16 comments:

Raquel said...

Loved your post! Your pictures really gave me a feel for Marseille and I truly appreciate it! I pictured it very different...and I am not a fish lover either! :)

Adrienne said...

OH!!! We went to Marseilles many times - Had good friends there. I loved the region...and the view of the port and sea from Notre Dame de la Garde!! ALSO if you email me the full digital file of that photo you love, I'll try and get the open mouthed lady out of it for you! (adrienne.scanlon@gmail.com)

Emmy said...

Well glad you got to go but sorry it wasn't all you hoped for. It does sound like you did a lot of fun things though! And that would be some very fresh fish.

Hena Tayeb said...

don't you just hate when that happens.. the build up in your head is so great the city just can't live up to it.. or you happen to arrive during the year of construction.. Nathan is absolutely adorable.

jeands said...

good thing you were able to go and experience at least it was already out of your mind. and too bad it didn't turn out the way you expect that place to be. but still it's better, right?

Lisa @ Two Bears Farm said...

How fun! I'd love to try that fish soup. I hope your little one is better by now!

Liz @ A Nut in a Nutshell said...

That's such a bummer, but at least you're not always going to be what if'n about it!

Mark said...

Since I really don't like to leave my house, I guess I can't answer that question for you. In fact, when we do go away, all I think about is coming home and crawling into my freshly made bed. I know, I'm a downer!
Sorry that it sucked for you! m.

Natalie said...

So glad you finally got to go and had a great time!

misssrobin said...

I'm glad you got to go. It looks like lots of fun.

Thanks for sharing. Stopping by from SITS.

Alison@Mama Wants This said...

At least you cross that off the list of places to go :)

Michelle said...

Oh, I went to Athens a year before the Olympics happened there...it was horrible because of all the remodeling and "improving" the city they were doing! I feel your pain!

Life As Wife said...

Oh I'm loving your French adventures! I'll have to go back and dig around to read all about your story!

Jessica said...

At least you can say you did it.

Susan Liberatore said...

I'm sorry you didn't love it as much as you hoped you would.
It looks like you had a great time. And PS - I'm not a seafood lover either but my husband would have loved this.

Kim said...

I would love all that fresh fish! I always find it so irritating to have to explain goose to Naveen since we have a ton of Canada Geese that walk around and a lot less ducks. Of course he calls them all ducks too.

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