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Tuesday, March 22, 2011


We arrived late yesterday afternoon at Aix (thanks to Arthur for the ride up from Marseille) and stayed overnight with Franco & Martine. Wonderful dinner and met their friend Bertrand.

Late this morning we spent a couple of hours at the open air market at Place de Précheurs.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Marseille 2011 - Day 9

Stopped by this fascinating shop: Saladin Spices.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Marseille 2011 - Day 8

This afternoon I hiked all the way up to the highest natural point in Marseille, a 162 m (532 ft) limestone outcrop on the south side of the Old Port, where the basilica of Notre Dame de la Garde is perched. I treated myself to the absolutely stunning view of the city and the Mediterranean from the heights.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Marseille 2011 - Day 6

Franco, our friend in Aix-en-Provence, came down to meet us for a drink at the apartment, then we headed out for dinner at a nearby Lebanese restaurant, Adonis du Liban. The place isn't much to look at, but the owners/servers are terribly welcoming and attentive. It also didn't hurt that the wine was quite good; we all had mezzes which were very tasty. Afterwards we had espressos at the Bar de la Plaine -  un vrai bar marseillais!
Located only 2 blocks from where we are staying ... it always seems to be packed.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Marseille 2011 - Day 5

I took a longish walk today going south along a main road called Prado. My idea was to visit Marseille's oldest Irish pub (today being Saint Patrick's Day) and have a nice Guinness. On my way there I passed by the Cité Radieuse, Le Corbusier's famous housing development, and stopped to admire it for a while. I may return as I heard from a friend that visits are possible.

I ended up at O'Bradey's Irish Pub around 2p.m. and had a wonderfully well-served pint of frothy Guinness (for lunch). It is a nicely done pub, but certainly will be overshadowed by the real thing when we are in Ireland late this month.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Marseille 2011 - Day 4

This afternoon I strolled over to Le Four des Navettes, Marseille's oldest bakery (founded in 1781). The "navettes" are typically Provencal pastries prepared for Candlemas instead of pancakes. Their shape is reminiscent of a boat ... and I picked up a shipload!

Tonight we head off, 5 of us, to dinner at a highly recommended place, whose name means, amusingly enough, in literal translation, "to put one's feet in the plate". The expression actually means: to mess up, to speak with excessive candor, to discuss something inappropriate. We'll see which one of those we come up with!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Marseille 2011 - Day 3

We went up to the nearby open-air market for some fresh fish and vegetablesfor today's lunch. But the weather is very blustery and rainy... so pretty much I'm staying in, working on some projects and reading (the disquieting book by Michael Connelly: The Poet).

Monday, March 14, 2011

Marseille 2011 - Day 2

I took a walk down Marseille's famous high street: La Canebière. The name, sadly in my opinion, makes no reference to a tinned brew. If I tell you that the street was formerly called Cennebis (from the Provencal word canebe) you can probably figure it out yourself. Yes, the meaning is, indeed, hemp ... and the street was formerly one of the largest outlets in the world for hemp used in the manufacture and trade of slings and cordage.

The walk took me past this wonderful art installation: a giraffe sculpted out of books! "Zarafa la girafe" had been torched last year but seems to be quite well risen from her ashes.

Afterwards I strolled up to Saint Charles train station and back across to the area around the Noailles métro station, a fascinating area that looks much like a bazaar in Algeria.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Marseille 2011 - Day 1

We taxied over to Gare de Lyon with Béatrice, met Philippe on the TGV, and tooled down to Marseille in a breezy 3h15m. Odile & Philippe are working to transform part of Béa's apartment (knock down a wall here or there, reorg her amazing cups & saucers collection). I will help now and then (although I have plenty of my own work to keep me busy) and am also the resident 'puter guru (shows how relative expertise can catapult one to heights). I also plan to dip into Béa's English-langauge collection of thrillers ... and also take some afternoon walks.
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