If hopping on a boat fancies your interest, there's always the Chateau d’If, the popular setting of Alexandre Dumas The Count of Monte Cristo. The neighboring Frioul Islands are also within reach: an archipelago of limestone and dolomites shaped by storms and harsh winds. Back to the harbor, huge ferries await for passengers bound for Tunisia and Algeria.
As sunset draws to a close, take the “Little Train” to the highest point of the city. The climb itself is bliss, but wait until you get to the top. You'll see a perfect view of Marseille – the city at its purest. The Mediterranean, endlessly blue, and the rugged mountains almost blend together in the setting sun. No wonder the Basilique Notre-Dame de la Garde was built on this very hill, with a gilded statue of the Virgin Mary atop the bell tower looking after fishermen and sailors at sea.
There are so many other places to go, time permitting. Perhaps a boat to the small fishing village of L’Estaque where painter Paul Cezanne once sojourned, or Calanques, a steep-walled inlet whose dramatic limestone cliffs stretch 20 miles to the south, or even a 30-minute bus ride to Aix-en-Provence from Marseille’s St. Charles station.
But I guess they can all wait. Here in Marseille there is no need to rush. Just like how one sips bouillabaisse – nice and slow. Savoring every minute and tasting each flavor.
As we head back to our hotel, we see more boats tethering at the jetty with their catch – fish jolting, jumping, almost catapulting. Standing on the terrace that looks out over the Mediterranean with the breeze kissing our cheeks, I can't help asking, “Care for another bouillabaisse?”
Jan Sevilla is a quixotic nomadic chick and writer by accident with some difficulty of having her subject agree to her verb. Catch more of her travel murmurs at najsevilla.blogspot.com.