Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Noordam 2013 - Day 9: Marseille, France

When we woke up we were already in Marseille, France. We were not alone. The Seaborn Quest was on our aft side and MSC Splendida is on the opposite side. Across the pier two other ships: an Ibero Cruceros ship from Spain and a French ship with a name sounding something like croissant, probably Croisières de France. Busy day in port.

We asked a taxi driver to take us to Notre Dame de la Garde (the highest point on our trip and also the furthest away from the ship). He refused because there would be too much traffic. On a Sunday? A full day taxi tour was possible. No way. We figured he would rather get a couple of rides to and from the old port instead. That is the disadvantage on a busy day in port. You are not the only customer so taxi drivers can pretty much choose which ride they will take.

So we switched to Plan B and walked 10 to 15 minutes to the bus stop. Public bus no 35 took us to Jolliette, close to the cathedral. Just over 5 euro’s for 3 of us (Rhodé was free), so quite a bargain.

Public bus from the port to the city



After some nice views of the cathedral we walked in through Le Panier quarter. 

Le Panier
We ended up at the Hospice de la Vieille Charite. Now a museum, but it used to house about 150 families. Three galleries surround the courtyard.

Hospice de la Vieille Charite

Hospice de la Vieille Charite

On our way to the Vieux Port (old port) we passed Hotel Dieu (now the Intercontinental hotel in Marseille) and Marie de Marseille (city hall). 

Hotel Dieu
It was time to buy water and cokes. Marseille is said to have one of the most beautiful ports and we think it might be true. We enjoyed our drinks with a view on the port.

View from Marie de Marseille

Art at Marie de Marseille
At the metro station we bought tickets for the bus. Only eur 9 voor 3x2 rides. Public bus no 60 took us all the way up to Notre Dame de la Garde. Way cheaper than with the taxi of course. Their loss, not ours. If you have the time and enjoy to walk: take the bus… In the basilica there a numerous little boats. The basilica is dedicated to the patron of seafarers. Nice to see from the inside. 

Notre Dame de la Garde

Notre Dame de la Garde

Notre Dame de la Garde interior
The view from the basilica Notre Dame de la Garde is magnificent. Some clouds appeared in the sky and they were very welcome. Especially combined with a nice breeze. You can also see the two islands Ile de D'if and Ile Frioul and the two fortresses that guard the port. We could even see the cruise port with all the ships. So much to see, so little time. We have to get back to Marseille another time.

View from Notre Dame de la Garde

Fort St Jean from Notre Dame de la Garde

Ile de D'if from Notre Dame de la Garde
We took bus 60 down to fort St Jean (opposite it's brother Fort St Nicolas) and walked back to Jolliette. From Jolliette we took the free shuttle bus to the port. We read that the taxi drivers are not very happy with this service of the Marseille Cruise port. It only runs on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. For now, but we hope it will run every day and preferably a little closer to the ships…

Noordam in Marseille
The evening was a standard one: Great diner, nice show (magician Brett Sherwood this time) and afterwards Stryker in the Piano Bar. We are on our way to another highlight of the cruise: Monte Carlo.

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