During the winter break, following exams, I went on a weekend trip to Marseille with my roommates. We were able to find flights from Madrid to Marseille for only 45 euros round trip, so we felt we had to take advantage of the opportunity. There are lots of cheap flights around Europe if you are not looking for a specific destination or a specific date. Flexibility will save you lots of money!
We arrived on the Friday evening, and made our way from the airport to the metro, where we travelled to Vieux Port station. Our Airbnb was on Rue Breteuil, which was very close to the port. We have a balcony that looked over the street, where we could see the marina to the right and the Basilique Notre-Dame de la Garde on the top of the hill to the left. The lights on the city were beautiful, and we couldn’t wait to explore the next day.
Our morning was spent explore the Vieux Port area, including the Musee de la Marine et de l’Economie, which is now closed. We took some photos in front of a picturesque carousal at Place du Général de Gaulle, and then we bought tickets for a tour to the Basilique.
The tour drove us from the port to the Basilique. We drove along the seaside to the top of the hill. It was very windy at the top. We took pictures, then lined up to see the inside of the basilique. The building is very recognizable by the striped pattern that decorated the outer bell tower, and continues inside the structure as well. The ceilings are elaborate and ornate, as is typical of large European basilicas and cathedrals. This particular Basilique was built beginning in 1853, though the site had been used for religious buildings since the 13th century.
After our tour of the Basilique, we made our way to Palais Longchamp. We explored the palace, and climbed the hill behind where there were decorations set up for the Chinese Lunar New Year. We watched the sunset in the area, and then made our way back to the port for dinner and some shopping at the Centre Commercial Centre Bourse.
The next morning we took a train to Aix-en-Provence to spend the day. We started the day by walking to the studio (now museum) of Paul Cézanne. Unfortunately, after about 25 minutes of walking, we found the museum was closed for renovations.
We turned back to the centre of the old city. We wandered the city centre, stopped at the shops and got lunch. We checked out L’Occitane en Provence since we were in the city.
We ended our day on the Cours Mirabeau, a street lined with shops and cafés. We ate crêpes at one of these cafés before we got on the train back to Marseille. We walked up the Cours Julien to the end where a fountain and many tables servicing the nearby restaurants and bars. We came upon the suggestion of a local we met in the metro. We found the area to be fun and full of friendly people, but we faced some aggressive harassment on our walk home, despite being in a group of 6. We got back to our Airbnb safely and went to bed quickly in preparation for our flight home to Madrid the next day.