Who knew that summer was this close? Once again catching a (painfully) early train, I got to experience a wonderfully sunny summer day … only two hours ride from Lyon.
The train journey already rewards us for getting up in the dark morning hours; we move through the flowing landscapes of the Provence softened by layers of mist. Then the sun begins to rise, tinting the mist the most beautiful shades of orange and rose . Moments like these can really only be enjoyed right there, as they are so fleeting, so difficult to capture, especially from a high speed train.
There is something so special about waking up together with a city, arriving right there in the morning rush. Though if you come to the south of France, ‘rush’ is really very relative. Still, you’re in the middle of the everyday, observing it all through your slow-paced tourist glasses. The fishermen at the harbor selling their haul, workers setting up for a bike race, mopeds chugging across the open square, a general babel of voices.
We settle down for breakfast at a little café overlooking the masts glittering in the morning sun. Coffee and croissant. How very (stereotypically) French of us. I actually hardly ever see French people buy or eat croissants…
We then dare to climb the hill up to the basilica. Turning corners left and right, always upwards. It’s getting warmer as noon is approaching, by the top of the hill no need to wear more than a t-shirt.
The view is quite spectacular, all we really want to see though is the sea. Blue and glittery in the sun. Time is standing still up there, just a handful of tourists, mediterranean buzzing of bugs and leaves, city noises muted.
We slowly make our way down again, through dry greens and succulents. Heavy warm air, as only the south can do it. Passing by bakeries, construction workers relaxing in the sun; siesta is taken very seriously here.
And then the sea. I’m in love. Crystal clear and turquoise. Salty air, a breeze in my hair.
Reluctantly we leave the beach. Strolling alongside the seafront isn’t so bad either. Back towards the harbour. On the lookout for a seafood restaurant.
After fish and wine, all we really want to do is lay down on a warm stone and take an afternoon nap in the sun. Instead we wander through the narrow alleys of Le Panier, a heaven of tiny artisan boutiques, shutters and laundry fluttering in the wind.
Chatting with a local, we find out that landlords are increasingly banning the clothes lines outside the buildings. Compromises the appearance, they say.
We explore old buildings, a church, a hospice. Both in very good condition. Places to dream in.
A bike race, an ice cream and a few hours of meandering through the city later we land back at the harbour just in time for sunset.
I also made a little video/vlog of the day, please excuse my unsteady hand 😉
Have you been to Marseille? And will you help me create a petition for keeping clothes lines and setting up observation/photography spots in trains? Let me know in the comments!