Having not made it to Marseille by boat, we took the train from Toulon on Thursday, the 16th, as it was the one fine day forecast before we planned to leave next Monday.
We wanted to visit the Ile D’If but unfortunately, on arrival we found the Chateau was closed, the lady in the Tourist Office said it was something to do with the weather. So we had lunch in Vieux Port before taking a bus tour of the town. This was relatively mundane really with little to see other than the town hall and the cathedrals.
The high light was the stop at the Cathedral, Notre Dame de la Garde. This is built on the top of the highest rock in Marseille and the gold statue of the Virgin and Child sits on top of the cathedral much as Christ the Redeemer sits above Rio; that was the tour guide’s allusion. The Cathedral is quite spectacular inside and the photos can’t do it justice. The views from the cathedral ‘ramparts’ over Marseille were pretty impressive as well.
Back at sea level we had a look around the Marseille Catherdral, or Cathedrale Sainte-Marie-Majeure de Marseille. This is built next to Vieux Port and the front was under renovation so not very photogenic. That said the building is only slightly less impressive than Notre Dame de la Garde. It does have the most amazing mosaic floors throughout and there is no way I could even begin to photograph them in any meaningful way.
All in all I am sort of glad we didn’t get into Vieux Port now. I am not sure what I expected of Marseille, the home of the French Revolution, and I know there is a lot of Marseille we didn’t see but on the basis of our brief visit we were rather underwhelmed.