February 21 – 22, 2013
We still had a few days with Wigz, so wanted to take a break from snowboarding and check out a new part of France. Since we had all heard great things about Marseille, and the weather was starting to look sunnier, we decided a road trip down to the old port city was in order.
They say it's not the destination, it's the journey - a statement that rang very true on this road trip! The rocky terrain and mountainous countryside made for a beautiful drive. We were particularly impressed by the old city of Castellane, which appears to be built into the side of the mountain. With a waterfall streaming down below the archway of the bridge, we thought for a second we took a wrong turn and ended up in Rivendell!
We took a slight detour on the roadtrip in order to check out the "Gorge du Verdon", considered by some as Europe's most beautiful river canyon. This spectacular view was taken from a viewpoint on the windy road into the canyon.
We were lured to the edge of the canyon by a sign for "Point Sublime". After wandering the rocky terrain we finally found the spot... Ya, I guess you could call it that!
We rolled into Marseille just before the sunset and caught our first glimpse of the Notre Dame de la Garde, a Catholic Basilica which makes for an iconic feature of the Marseille skyline.
Thanks to Wigz's generosity and hotel points, we were able to stay in a sweet hotel for the night. Our room had an amazing view of the city all the way to the sea - the perfect place to have a beer and watch the sunset before heading out for the night.
After a night out in Marseille's vieux port where Wigzell sampled the local "Vraie" Bouillabaisse, we decided to get up early and do some sight seeing. Marseille has a lot of amazing architecture, even just the steps to the central train station are a sight to see!
Speaking of impressive architecture - how about this one? Just the old Cathédrale Sainte-Marie-Majeure de Marseille.
Boats stretched as far as the eye can see - it's no wonder Marseille is famous for being the Mediterannean's largest commercial port!
Along the port, in addition to lots of fresh seafood, you can also find some colourful wildlife.
We contemplated taking a boat out to the "Chateau d'If", the fortress and prison made famous by movies like the Count of Monte Cristo. But with the day slipping by, and to avoid being falsely imprisoned, like poor Edmond Dantès, we decided to play it safe and instead had lunch on a patio in the vieux port. With blue skies and an outdoor lunch, we definitely didn't feel like it was winter anymore!
We made our way out to the "Calanques" just outside of Marseille. Here Wigz got his first ever touch of the Mediterranean Sea!
The Calanques are a series of steep-walled inlets and bays made of limestone that span the Mediterranean coast and make for some picture-perfect views. Not a bad last stop before making our way back to Grenoble.
We really enjoyed Marseille and all the sights we saw along the way. Just another reminder of how much variety France really has to offer! It was an awesome way to finish off an incredibly fun visit from Wigz!
Check out the rest of the photos here!