When flying into Spain we were required to fill out a health form which is also accepted in other Europe countries. So, when we flew to Marseille France, we were not required to present any more documentation. It was a pleasant taxi ride to the center of Marseille even during rush hour. We stayed at Hotel Carré Vieux Port, one block from the harbor. We headed out and stopped at a sidewalk bar for a glass of Pastis and then we knew we were in Province. That was followed by a wonderful pizza enjoyed with a wonderful French red wine.
The next day we walked to the oldest district, Panier Quarter on the north side of the harbor. Le Panier consists of hilly streets that provide great photos for the vistas looking down through the stairways to the lower level of the port and across the harbor to Notre Dame de la Garde. It is an area home to artists whose works are displayed on the sidewalk walls with bright street art. We also photographed Vielle Charité, a former almshouse, hospital, barracks, now housing various museums. Church Accuelle has a bell tower which announced to us it was lunchtime. Down at the harbor we stopped at Cuisine du Beurre for some fresh oysters and mussels. The original owner was a well-known actor with memorabilia of his life during those days displayed inside on the second floor. Next, we headed to the south side along the Quai de Rive Neuve to Fort Saint Nicholas hoping for a great view of Marseille harbor, but it was closed for renovation. Just a little further up hill is Palais du Pharo which had the same view of the harbor and the entrance to the Mediterranean Sea, also a good view of Cathedrale de la Major on the south side that we had missed. We walked some miles that hot day! There is always available nearby an outside café with a nice cold rosé.
Rue Canebière is the most famous street in Marseille. We walked along the street looking for Maison Empereur, the oldest hardware store in France, which has everything you might need from the very old to the new. We were now in the district of Noailles, an area of narrow streets and alleys with a daily market selling North African fabrics, baskets, cookware, etc. The restaurants were selling kebabs, flatbreads, couscous, and teas of that heritage. We had no agenda so just kept walking and enjoying the sights and smells. We passed the Palais des Artes and Couer Julien, a restful park with a fountain, a nice place to cool off on this hot day. After lunch we strolled along the Old Port of the harbor. There is a pavilion creating a sheltered area for events. The pavilion is a mirrored roof structure where pedestrians walking underneath can look up and see their reflection. It is strange to see yourself like that. We also took a ride on Le Petit Train which took us around the harbor up to the top of a hill to Notre Dame de la Garde Basilica. From here you have a panoramic view of the city of Marseille, the islands and the sea. It is dedicated to the sailors and fishermen, with many ship sculptures and paintings inside.