A day in Marseille

IMG_2220Not much to say for Marseille except it was good lesson in planning and why it can be important for any trip. 

We had big hopes and dreams for Marselle. 

We had spent the last week in cities, walking and seeing sights. A rest on a beach was just what we needed and were very much looking forward to.

Our first impression was beautiful. Once you leave the train station right in the city center you are faced with a beautiful view.

We were so excited and ready to set our belongings down at our airbnb and head to the beach.

While our airbnb of choice was supposed to be an 8 min walk from the train station we couldn’t seem to locate the street. We tried hailing a taxi but they said it was too close and we should walk.. Normally, that would be fine but it was HOT and we had our belongings on our backs.

Finally, while we were examine a map a local man came up and asked what we were looking for… he then proceeded to lead us all the way there.

We were half part unsure what his motives were and just had no clue what was going on BUT he did lead us to the apartment where we were staying – he told us to be careful in this area, it was unsafe and not a place where young girls should be walking.  

Needless to say this experience was not off to a great start.

Once we set our belongings down we decided we wanted to get something to eat so we began to look for a cafe etc where we could purchase something. At all the cafes we only saw men no women anywhere. It was alarming and made us feel uncomfortable. 

We had also realized that we were not near the beach at all. Even if we were ‘walking distance’ the area seemed really unsafe and not a place we should be walking. 

We felt our decision was simple – stay the current night at our place and find a place near the beach for the next night. 

Easier said then done – everything about 3 stars was over 200 euro a night, we could not afford this so we decided to go to Barcelona a day early.

It was a hard decision to make because I felt that I was giving up, but ultimately I did not feel that we would have an enjoyable time in Marseille because of our lack of proximity to anything that was of interest to us.  

With our plan created we decided to make the best of the night and take a taxi to the beach.

Also, a side note on this – I think our stay could have been better had we researched more – additionally, had we been staying at a hostel or hotel the staff perhaps could have directed us or given us more information but without that we felt lost and uncomfortable.

Anyways, we headed to the beach and boy was it packed.  You could scarcely see the sand or water for that matter do to all the people present. It was pretty wild. This was not the relaxing beach scape either of us had envisioned when we thought of South of France.

Regardless, we enjoyed a nice dinner on the beach with our toes in the sand and cheers’ed to our last night in France. After our meal we tried to find a taxi to take us back – we kept walking and walking but to no avail did we find a taxi finally after the day turned to night we found a taxi number and texted them our location and if they could pick us up about thirty minutes later we were headed back to our airbnb.  

Don’t get my wrong Marseille had beautiful elements and I think with better planning and maybe some more money 😉 our stay there would have been better.  

I think we made the right decision for how we felt at that time, I HOPE that I have learned from this situation and in the future make sure to research more about a destination and specifically where I am staying in regards to where I want to go at that destination but only time will tell. 

View from train station.

IMG_2202They are famous for their soaps. IMG_2206 IMG_2203

A great place to stop for pastries.

Beautiful architecture. IMG_2209

We found the beach.IMG_2211 IMG_2212

Dinner is served. IMG_2213 IMG_2214 IMG_2215

Bouldering playground.IMG_2219 IMG_2218 IMG_2217

Co-working space in Marseille.IMG_2221

Airport Pastry.IMG_2223

An American in Paris

Oh Paris, the city of lights and love… and sixth floor apartments with doors that you have to ‘push and pull’.

In Paris, we decided to stay at an airbnb which was a great choice.  The apartment was amazing and after a struggle leaving the airport we needed a place with ac and an area we could relax in.

We could NOT get into the apartment for over an hour possibly more or possibly less its hard to tell time when you are sweaty and smelly after traveling.  It was a struggle and finally our airbnb hosts were able to get a neighbor to let us in and at 2 am we were comfortable and able to relax inside our wonderful airbnb.

Things about Paris…

  • It is expensive ( duh!)
  • They use a lot of goat cheese and its heavenly and the portions are generous – it was dreamy.
  • They love frites (fries) – breakfast, lunch and dinner ( so get used to it, this seems to be the case in Spain as well.)
  • Get sweets here – they are the best.
  • Go to Printemps for an amazing view of the city. It is a huge mall and on the eight floor. They have a cafe and panoramic views of the city. Free and cool.
  • The 5th (Latin Quarter) and 6th (St Germain) the Cafe des Deux Magots is fashionable and historic. Jean-Paul Sartre and Simone de Beauvoire met up with other literary types here.
  • Next to this is the church of St Germain, the oldest in Paris.
  • We stayed in the 11th quarter which is extremely close to most tourist attractions so that was convenient for us. The neighborhood seemed really safe, ( we were walking at 12/1 am with our packs and were totally fine.) THEN we stayed in the 18th / 20th quarter as well and this seemed a little more down to earth. What I heard is that it is the ‘hipster’ area, but it was awesome and A LOT less touristy than the 11th quarter.

Paris is a touristy city at least when you are trying to see the touristy sites.

I think its difficult to feel that a city is not touristy when you are attempting to see all that you can and our in extreme tourist trap central (Eiffel, Lourve, Arc etc…).

My goal when I am traveling is not to be a ‘tourist’ but a traveler, a seeker and an adventurer. I like to be in as authentic of situations as possible. Go to restaurants where locals go, hang out where the locals hang out and really see what their culture is.

I don’t feel that I got this ‘authentic feel’ in Paris, maybe bits and pieces but I did not feel that I fell in LOVE with Paris like SO many others. I like you Paris but I don’t love you.

Our first breakfast in Paris.

IMG_2034 IMG_2035

I see you!IMG_2037 IMG_2039 IMG_2040 IMG_2041 IMG_2043 IMG_2048 IMG_2053 IMG_2057 IMG_2058 IMG_2059 IMG_2061 IMG_2062 IMG_2064 IMG_2065 IMG_2066 IMG_2069

Notre DameIMG_2071 IMG_2074 IMG_2075 IMG_2077 IMG_2079 IMG_2082

Stumbled upon a free music festival in the city. IMG_2083

Three course crepe meal with in house made cider. AMAZING.IMG_2084

IMG_2087 IMG_2088 IMG_2090

Cafe sitting and people watching is a must. IMG_2095 IMG_2097

Thick slices of goat cheese are best washed down with an ice cold beer. IMG_2107

Sweets, sweets and more sweets!IMG_2108

View from Printemps.IMG_2109 IMG_2112 IMG_2113 IMG_2116 IMG_2117 IMG_2118

We chose to partake in a river cruise which was equal parts crazy tourist-ness but also beautiful and if possible I recommend it your first night so you get a good lay of the land. IMG_2129 IMG_2134 IMG_2138 IMG_2142 IMG_2144 IMG_2145 IMG_2146 IMG_2147 IMG_2148 IMG_2149

View of Notre Dame at night. Along with the kids hanging at the rivers edge.IMG_2150 IMG_2153 IMG_2158 IMG_2163

This is when it started hailing like crazy… IMG_2168 IMG_2169 IMG_2173 IMG_2179

Goodnight – Au revoir beautiful city.