Marseille & Provence – chapter 2 (day 1, part 2)

Part 2 of the first day of a 5 day trip to Marseille & Provence. Explore the south part of the Vieux port, the Jardins du Pharo and a little of the Corniche. Return back to the Old Port for the sunset and then around Place Honore for dinner and first night experience

(see here for the first chapter of the Marseille & Provence Discovery)

After the short break in the Cours Honore , I got again the bicycle from the same station (and even the same bike!) and cycled up to the gardens of Palais de Pharo, the castle and fort at the southern entrance of the old Port. Before getting there I made a short stop at the “Monument de la Relation Marseillo-Grecque”. Nothing huge – just a couple of broken marble columns, in doric style, that symbolizes and commemorates the connection of Marseille to ancient Greece and the fact that the city was founded by ancient Greek colonists (that had landed on the site of the Old Port and maybe this exact location!)

After the monument, there is a short but steep climb  up to the entrance of the Jardins du Pharo.  I left the bicycle at a station just outside the entrance of the gardens (there are actually two). In all my bicycle journeys in Marseille I used the Marseille le Velo app which display on the map not only the bicycle station locations but also which stations are full with bikes and which are empty or half-empty. Super convenient!

The palace of the Pharo was built around the middle of the 19th century for Napoleon III. Now it is used for various exhibitions, official receptions etc. I do believe there used to be a lighthouse there as Pharo means lighthouse in Greek and the location is most suitable but couldn’t find any reference in the guides or online. Oh well! The views to the Vieux Port from there are the best! The garden is a very nice park and people were walking around, cycling, jogging, taking animals for a walk etc.

After spending around 1 hr at the gardens, I got another bicycle and tried to seafront following the main road (called the Corniche President Kennedy). My initial plan was to cycle up to Parc Borely, but this was abandonded due to the high wind. I had to settle for a short trip and promise myself to return in the next days. I did manage to get to Vallon des Auffes which is a small fjord-like port that used to be a small fishing village. I also stoped at the nearby monument of the armies of the orient for WW I right next to the sea. But it was so windy that while I stopped there, the wind threw down the bicycle (twice). And those bike-sharing bicycles are heavy things, weighing around 15 kilos. Imagine!

So I had to make it back to the centre of the Vieux Port to watch the last of the sunset, one part of it in the Ferris wheel (yay. I’m a child again), the other below, next to the metro entrance. I think I got some good pictures there but I promised myself to return for more one of the following days.

Then I went searching for PROPER dinner around the many establishements in Cours Honore. It was nice, typical French/Provencal food (escalopes) with red wine.

After that it was back to the hotel (getting another le velo was super convenient as there was a bike station just outside the restaurant and then just opposite to my hotel). Then up to the hotel to finish a long and rewarding day and … prepare for day 2 : Aix-en-Provence and around 🙂


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