If you love France but have never made it South; you are missing a treat. Marseille is in the south of France and lies on the coast of the Mediterranean Sea . We are a small group mostly from the bay and including Marilyn Gainey from Atlanta, Nicole Robinson-Hamilton from Tennessee and Denise Alexander from Florida. It really seems like another Kattrax mini reunion joined by the globetrotting Nicholson’s; Michael and Patricia, BJ Johnson, Joan Morris, Toni Hill, Wilemma Bradley, Carol and brother John Motte.
Four of us flew in a day earlier on Virgin Atlantic which was nice and smooth, however landing in London to change plans had its challenges but we thugged it out. Our amazing guide, Cedric Tuzzolino was at the Marseille airport when we landed. Check in was quick and easy and I was happy to be back in my 2bdrm penthouse at La Residence Du Vieux Port. Everybody’s room has a view facing the vieux port (old port). I wouldn’t have it any other way. Here as night falls we can see the sights of the fishing boats with the docks lit up in beautiful blue lights.
The first night, I dined solo at L’Hippocampe, a few steps from our hotel. The soupe de poisson (pwa – sone) fish soup was excellent with toasted bread rounds and aioli (eye oh Lee) as was my rouget fillets with grilled eggplant and risotto. This foodie has been off fried foods and sugar since February but could but not resist 2 tarte au citron (lemon tarts) while in Paris in April nor could I escape the warm apple tart with vanilla/brandy ice cream my first night here in Marseille. It was absolutely, freakin divine!
I was about 8 or 9 when I first heard the name Marseille (mar say). My dad would bring up how he was an MP in the Army, stationed in Marseille and he directed traffic somewhere on La Canebiere. It happens to be the most famous street in the town. In 92 on my way from Portofino, Italy on the train back to Paris, I stopped in Marseille to take a picture of the Street sign for my father. When he saw it, His hair was blown back, as he never even imagined that I was paying attention. This is my 4th visit and it won’t be my last.
The rest of the group began to arrive the next day, all through the day. Most had already met our guide because he picked them up at the airport. He would be escorting us to the restaurant, L’Escapade Marseillaise for our welcome dinner. Cedric negotiated with them to open up on their normally closed night just for us. I really love it when we have that kind of favor. I must say, Chef Yannick Stein and his team “showed out” for us. The food from the amuse bouche to the dessert was beautifully presented and the taste made all of our mouths and tummys happy. The wineaux were in heaven because the wine continued to flow. Now Y’all know I couldn’t pass up the sinful “Pavlova” – a shell of meringue filled with whipped cream and fresh fruit. I’ve got one more dessert to go on Wednesday and then I’m back on track.
Our full day tour the next day, began with a 30 min drive to Aix en Provence. The locals just say, “Ex”. It is a delightful town with a popular marche’ (mar-shay) French for market, with everything imaginable from soaps to herbs to leather goods, cooked food, fruits, vegetables and you name it. Today there were a few cruise ships in port so our guide wanted to get us there to beat the crowds. We had a lovely time in Ex at the Marche’ and wandering through old town. Our Lunch was at a local bistro back in Marseille before we resumed part 2 of the tour.
Tomorrow will be Ricki Stevenson’s Black Marseille Tour, led by Martin Grizzell. Stay tuned….