All too soon, our time in Marseille was drawing to a close and it was time to bid farewell to the merveilles of Marseille. (How is it that time always speeds up when you’re on holiday?) After packing up our belongings and making the obligatory stop at a nearby boulangerie to pick up breakfast essentials (and some extra supplies for Laurence’s flight), we set off on foot to explore Marseille’s street art scene.
On All Saint’s Day – known in France as La Toussaint – we ventured out of Marseille once again, this time to Aix-en-Provence. It’s the epitome of classy, understated chic: leafy boulevards studded with fountains, sunshine-hued buildings with wrought iron balconies and an undeniable Belle Époque aura.
More often than not, the mention of the French Riviera conjures up images of the famous faces of yesteryear sunning themselves in Saint Tropez, the world-renowned Festival de Cannes (Cannes Film Festival) and Mr Moneybags’ playground, Monaco. Glitzy goings-on aside, the Mediterranean coast is home to one of France’s most impressive natural landscapes. Stretching from Marseille, France’s second city, to Cassis, a scenic fishing port, the Parc National des Calanques is one of the most beautiful stretches of coastline I have ever set eyes on.
Knowing that Sundays in France are on par with bank holidays – in the sense that they’re hardly a hive of activity – we decided to take a little jaunt along the coast to Martigues. Nicknamed ‘The Venice of Provence’, the accolades were stacked high in Martigues’ favour and we felt an urge to see it for ourselves.
If there’s one major advantage to working in the education field, it’s the holidays – scattered throughout the year, they’re a breather from the continual chaos of term time and an ideal travel opportunity. Let’s rewind to the end of October when, after five weeks of teaching/ lecturing/ adult-sitting, I headed south to Marseille for the Vacances de la Toussaint and some unexpected sunshine.