"Marseille" Top 5 Page for this destination Marseille by BeChar

Marseille Travel Guide: 883 reviews and 2,334 photos

First impressions...

I may imagine the large number of sailers who discovered such a view when arriving at Marseille. It's precisely where the Phocean Greeks arrived 2600 years ago, and settled the city then called Massalia, seduced by the protection from the sea and the availability of pure water ("Lacydon").

I arrived by coach from the airport at St Charles's station and was directly seduced by the proximity of the sea and the presence of hills with magnificent panoramic views (St Charles, Notre Dame de la Garde, the Pharo).

The second direct impression, leaving the coach, was the plurality of races present in the crowd. And in comparison with other large European cities, French is by far the main language to be heard (at least in May). And then came the heavy traffic, but very close the Port and the sea ...

Other particularities came later: a sunny weather the whole week, although nearly the whole France was cloudy and a steady heavy wind (Mistral). Mistral is said to stay for multiple of 3 days: unfortunately the whole week for us.

Some tours around Marseille

We visited Marseille mainly on foot, so that we have several tours to suggest. They
all start from the centre (Tourist Info):

1) The tour suggested by the Tourist Information as a red circuit (printed on the map and on the street!) visits the quarter "Le Panier".

2) The tour "Corniche" brings you along the sea (Corniche Kennedy), passing by the Pharo, "Vallon des Auffes" and "Fausse Monnaie" up to "Notre Dame de la Garde".

3) The "Centre" tour is a partial visit around districts 1 and 6.

4) The "Estaque" tour follows a suggested circuit related to the painters.

5) Finally, the Callanques offer other possibilities that will probably be described elsewhere.

That huge job has been started but you will need to be patient...

La Cité Radieuse - Le Corbusier

The "glorious city", building designed by Le Corbusier really deserves a visit (See General tips for a description).

Before leaving to Marseille, I learned from VTer JLBG that La Cité Radieuse had a hotel. When JLBG named that hotel "Le Corbu" my inspiration went towards this adaptation of "Le Corbeau et le Renard", one of the famous fables de JDLF (Jean de la Fontaine).

Of course, I did it in French, with the objective to bring modifications as close as the original sound and musicality, while bringing the beginning of the experience about that hotel.
On the left: the original words.

Le Corbeau et le Renard_________________Le Corbu et le BeChar

Maitre Corbeau sur un arbre perché________L'hôtel Corbu sur des piliers perchés
Tenait en son bec un fromage____________Se logeait au troisième étage.
Maître Renard, par l'odeur alléché_________Maître BeChar, par cette oeuvre alléché
Lui tint à peu près ce langage:____________Le vint voir de près en voyage.

"Hé! Bonjour, Monsieur du Corbeau_______"De ces jours, Hotel Le Corbu,
Que vous êtes joli !_____________________Avez-vous de beaux lits ?
Que vous me semblez beau !_____________Qu'y a-t-il tout en haut ?
Sans mentir, si votre ramage_____________Sans monter, si le toiturage
Se rapporte à votre plumage,_____________Se rapporte à votre image,
Vous êtes le phénix des hôtes____________Vous êtes le phénix des hotels
de ces bois".__________________________ d'ici bas".

A ces mots le Corbeau ne se sent_________Assez beaux tous ces lits, mais
pas de joie;____________________________occupés déjà;
Et pour montrer sa belle voix,_____________Cependant montez jusqu'au toit!
Il ouvre un large bec, laisse tomber_________Il ouvre un large livre, laisse tomber
sa proie.______________________________ les bras.

Le Renard s'en saisit, et dit:_______________BeChar le resaisit, et dit:
"Mon bon Monsieur,_____________________"Mon bon Corbu,
Apprenez que tout flatteur_________________Sachez que tout flat-loueur
Vit aux dépens de celui qui l'écoute.________Vit aux dépens de celui qu'il abrite:
Cette leçon vaut bien un fromage,__________Cette maison vaut bien un hommage,
sans doute.____________________________ une visite.

Le Corbeau, honteux et confus,____________Le Corbu, honteux du refus,
Jura mais un peu tard,___________________Jugea qu'il était tard,
qu'on ne l'y prendrait plus.________________Et on se dit "A plus".

____________________________________ Epilogue: 2 jours après, on y dormait ...

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:Proximity of mountains and sea (crystal water)
  • Cons:Traffic
  • Last visit to Marseille: May 2005
  • Intro Updated May 9, 2016
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