Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Marseille and the Calanques

After we woke up, wait, scratch that, thawed out the next morning we were off to Marseille. The sun was out, still a little cool, but overall we were really looking forward to the day. Unfortunately, Marseille is just not Nice. (pun intended...) The city was dirty, busy, all up and down hill, graffiti everywhere, but we still found a few really beautiful things to enjoy. 
We started out in the port, completely filled with yachts, and walked up the incredibly steep hill to our first stop- Notre Dame de la Garde.

Other than St. Mark's in Venice, this is the most beautiful cathedral that we have visited in Europe. After the walk it took to get there, it better have been beautiful though! It is built on the highest point in Marseille, overlooking the old port.

Since we had Sadie with us, John and I took turns going inside. John went in first and when he came out, I could tell he was impressed. But, instead of going right inside the church, I made a pit stop in the public restroom. (Woohoo! Travel tip- take advantage of public ones when you can!) The outside of the church is almost unimpressive after you see the inside.

After this church, we head back down the hill to the port for lunch. A quick sandwich stop later and we were off to the other cathedral, Cathedral Major, which is the seat of the Archdiocese of Marseille. There have been cathedrals built on this spot since the 5th century although the present one was built in the late 1800s. When you first walk in, you are just amazed at how large it is. While it looks huge from the outside, the inside is almost awing. The mosaics on the ceiling, the 2 or 3 side chapels- this place just goes on and on. 

Ok, last stop on our weekend Mini-Roadtrip! The Calaques du Cassis! It was a wonderful visit, even if it was a little short. By the end of our time in Marseille, we didn't have quite enough time there and plan to go back. In the mean time, here are a few pictures! 

First views of Cassis. The drive there was amazing. We are always impressed with how quickly the landscapes change in France.

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