Going down south

Trip Start Jun 01, 2010
Trip End Mar 11, 2011

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Flag of France  , Provence,
Saturday, July 31, 2010

It was time to leave Paris as the skies were clouded and a bit of rain came down. Our planning could not be better. We packed up our suitcases and went out for a last Parisian breakfast at the bakery across the street. The neighborhood was quiet as it is Saturday and no brasserie opens before noon.

Our taxi dropped us off at the Gare de Lyon, the gateway to the south. Here all the TGV trains leave for their destinations across France. We found our train on platform C, the TGV to Marseilles. It was incredibly busy at the station, as it is one of the busiest weekend of travel in France. In the train we seated behind each other, and were surrounded by crying kids, not very pleasant. So we took out our headphones and computers and Linda started editing a couple of hundred Paris photos while I try to catch up on a week of backlog on the Blog.

The train moved fast through the French landscape, and before we knew it we arrived at our destination, Marseilles. We took a taxi to the Vieux Port (this is the old harbor) where we find our hotel for the coming days, 'Hotel Residence Vieux Port'. It was another pleasant surprise, or better very good Google research by the Google queen. The hotel has a bit of a modern touch to it, the rooms are spacious, and clean. And we got a room on the top (7th) floor with a magnificent view of the old harbor and the Notre Dame de la Garde towering above it all on its hill. The harbor is filled with sailboats and surrounded by restaurants. And in the fridge there is a little bottle of champagne waiting for us.

We settled down in the room, and quickly headed out to see more of the harbor. We strolled along the boulevard and headed out into the side streets. We were a bit hungry but it was not time for dinner yet. We found a peculiar little fast food restaurant named 'Zen Zen'. They served Asian tapas, great! Just what we needed to get us going for a bit. Unfortunately most of the dishes were sold out, but we managed to order some nice spring rolls, curry puffs, Pad Thai and chocolate spring rolls. We paired our culinary bastardy with some Tsing Tao and had ourselves a feast.

Refueled we continued our way through the little streets and alleys of Marseilles. We found a square with restaurants and bars where we sat down at a Jazz bar to have ourselves a bottle of rose and to do some people watching.

We freshened up at our hotel before we headed out for dinner. What to eat in Marseilles, it is famous for its bouillabaisse. But we both are not big bouillabaisse fans. Most of the restaurants around the old port all serve the same food. We both felt the need for some nice grilled fish. But strangely, around us there was no place that appealed to us. The rescue was found in a Chinese restaurant, here we ordered some simple dishes including a steamed fish. Tomorrow we'll go back to the French cuisine.

It was a fun but tiring day, and the night sneaks up on you here in Marseilles. Dinner starts after dark, and it was around midnight when we returned to our room. We still had to book our car to drive up to south of France and Spain starting off next Monday. What a nightmare that is, booking a one way drive in Europe. But when I was about to give in to outrageous drop off fees and limited mileage, my Google queen found a website that was able to offer us a decent deal. It was around 02:00, when we shut off the computers. Tomorrow we go and explore Marseilles some more... Bon Soir for tonight.

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