Travel with me to Marseille

Welcome to my blog that unites my two passions: French and Travel. Today, let us discover the city of Marseille, situated in the south of France on the Mediterranean coast, together. Marseille was founded by Greek settlers in 300 BC and today is the second largest city in France, after Paris.

It started off as the town of Massilia, a trading post, in the Vieux Port.  Part of its heritage remains the Vieux Port (Old Harbour) where you can buy fresh fish from off the boats. Marseille remained a free port (the last free Western centre of Greek learning)  before falling into ruin. Its revival took place in the 10th century AD when the counts of Provence took an interest in it.

Marseille became part of France in 1480. It embraced the French Revolution and sent 500 volunteers to help. These men travelled to Paris singing a rousing march composed by Rouget de Lisle. This marching song became France’s national anthem, known as the Marseillaise.  The city has suffered several severe bombings during WWII, first by the Germans and Italians  in 1940 and then by the British in 1944. Much of the city was rebuilt during the 1950s and has become a thriving city with a large population. Marseille is now home to many universities and has a reputation for great education.

There are many interesting places to see in Marseille from the Vieux Port to the Basilica of Notre Dame de la Garde, which overlooks the city on Garde Hill. It watches over fishermen, sailors and the whole city. Several chapels were built on the site before the  basilica was consecrated  in 1854 . It is built in the Roman Byzantine style – with domes, gold and mosaics. It consists of two parts –  a low vaulted church and a high church. There’s a large statue of the Virgin Mary on the belltower.

The Château d’If lies off the coast of Marseille. It is renowned for its role in Alexandre Dumas’ novel, Le Conte de Monte Cristo (The Count of Monte Cristo). It was first a fortress, built by François I, then a prison, where political prisoners were incarcerated.

The Palais Longchamp is a monument dedicated to water and is not a palace.  Ever since the city of Marseille was built, there was a problem finding water so a canal was built linking it to the river Durance. It was opened in 1849 and remained Marseille’s main water source until 1970. The monument was built by the same architect that built the Basilica of Notre Dame de la Garde, Henri Esperandieu. He ” designed this magnificent large fountain/waterfall/water tower that is embellished with colonnades, staircases, pavilions and a triumphal arch, lavishly decorated with sculptures of nymphs, stalactites, lions, tigers, dolphins and Camargue bulls”.

There are many other attractions to visit in this cosmopolitan city with its huge vistas, its restaurants and its feeling of history (it even has its own smaller version of the Arc de Triomphe) so if you are in the region, take a trip to Marseille and the beautiful region of Provence.

French Vocabulary

Household items (part 3):

la bain = the bath bain

la douche = the shower  douche

le lavabo = the sink  lavabo

le robinet = the tap  robinet

le savon = the soap  savon

la serviette = the towel  serviette

les toilettes = the toilet  toilettes

le papier toilette = the toilet paper  papier toilette

le porte-serviettes = the towel rail porte-serviette

la brosse à dents = the toothbrush  brosse a dents

le dentifrice = the toothpaste dentifrice

le shampooing = the shampoo shampooing

le rasoir = the razor  rasoir






One thought on “Travel with me to Marseille”

  1. Looks great Hilda! I really enjoy your travel blogs combined with learning vocabulary. Best of luck with this venture.

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