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Marseille - unexpected pleasures

.Kalie

sunny 5 °C

'Happiness is like a butterfly which, when pursued, is always beyond our grasp, but if you will sit down quietly, may alight on you' - Nathaniel Hawthorne

After the excitement of Paris, our two day trip down to Marseille was initially a let-down for me.

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The motorway traffic. Thankfully, Mark adapted beautifully to French traffic. I'm sure if I lived here, I'd adapt. But coming from a country where we drive on the left hand side of the road, and whose entire population fits into Paris, I'm currently slightly shell-shocked by the sheer volume of cars here.

I have, however, enjoyed the motorway cafes. Real coffee, good quality food, and the opportunity to regroup after what in my mind were dozens of 'near-misses' with other cars:) .

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You've gotta love a country where there is real coffee everywhere!

Although we were only there overnight, the cobbled streets of Lyon were delightful.
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On our arrival in Marseille, once again I was overwhelmed by the traffic and the style of driving - it has a kind of manic order about it. To the untrained eye (me), it looks chaotic, but it appears to work!

After the constant pace in Paris, I was looking for a more relaxed few days in Marseille, and in my head (which is not always a realistic place), we would be able to have leisurely 'country drives' around Marseille. Not with that traffic.

The trip down and the traffic driving to our Apart Hotel led into a minor meltdown. In my professional life I'm (almost always) in control. I save the tantrums and release my insecurities at home, much to the delight of my husband:).

I think I expected every day to be a 'feel good' day, and I had placed expectations on myself (very like me) that I would feel outstandingly happy, enthusiastic and energetic ALL THE TIME we are away:P. A combination of my occasional inclination for stress (because let's be honest, i do like to control everything) and my blood disorder, meant that yesterday morning I was very flat and uninspired.

There were a few things which placated me when we arrived in our apartment:

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But it didn't shift my mood completely.

...and then we explored Marseille.

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The centre of Marseille is a 'busy in a mellow kind of way' place. It doesn't have the same sense of being dressed up for the visitors which central Paris has. I loved the perception of perfection in Paris, and I love Marseille for it's authenticity and beauty.

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In Paris, I felt constantly awed and amazed. I'm enjoying Marseille just as much, but in a more subtle, laid back way.

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We are 'wander through markets' types, so we had a relaxing morning doing just that. We soaked up the atmosphere while we bought gifts for the girls in our family (this country is a world of pretty things).

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The hot chocolate, like the coffee, is outstanding. The very chocolately hot chocolate sent Mark and Kobi to a whole different world of pleasure:

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(If you're ever in France, go to this place - it seems like they're a franchise, so they're everywhere. This is the home of the amazingly chocolately hot chocolate)
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We caught the bus and Metro (subway) like locals - cheap and easy way to get around - and went to Marseille's Notre Dame Cathedral, which overlooks the city. With that view of the Mediterranean, and in a place this old, sacred and silent it was impossible to stay stressed.

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I sat down and caught the butterfly.

Posted by mark.kalie.kobi 21:50 Archived in France Tagged traffic bus metro holy happiness butterfly notre_dame motorway marseille

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Comments

Looks sort of like Wellington in NZ, hills at the back, big blue bay, narrow streets in not good repair and graffiti. Kiwi wine isn't all bad either. Mind you there's a million differences - I'd kill to see them.

by Rod

It is a bit like Wellington actually - although nowhere near as windy:)

by mark.kalie.kobi

Same pros and cons I've been warned about. Can't wait to see for myself in Jan.

by Rachel

Enjoy!! There's a teahouse there called Teavora which is on our list of things to do when we go back - we found out about it on our last night so didn't have time to go, but it looks amazing :)

by mark.kalie.kobi

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