Hi everyone! I hope you’re all well.
Today’s post is slightly delayed (oops.) As you can tell from the title, it’s all about a recent trip I had away to France with my boyfriend Jake.
This was a pretty random, last-minute trip we had planned, and although I probably wouldn’t necessarily return to Marseille, we both had a fab time together.
The flight was looovely and short (just under 1 hour 30 mins) which is perfect for a wimp like me.
I’d heard the South of France was expensive, obviously, but wasn’t necessarily prepared for the near-70 euro taxi fare to our hotel… I mean, bloody hell – the journey was about 2 seconds.
After being consequently robbed, we arrived to our hotel and annoyingly couldn’t check in for another 4 hours, so we got changed and headed out for an explore and more importantly, some lunch.
We stayed in the ‘New Hotel of Marseille‘, and I would thoroughly recommend it to anyone visiting the area. It was really elegant, clean and modern and felt super luxury.
I nearly wept with happiness when I saw our hotel room had a large bath. Hotel baths, as I’ve pointed out before, are always a million times better than normal ones. Don’t ask why, they just are, especially when they provide cute little toiletries and bubble baths to go with it.
Clearly I was too ecstatic to take a photo. I’m sure you’ll live, I’d hope you’ve seen a bath before.
I was pleasantly surprised by the size of our room, too -it was super spacious, which is great for me to make an absolute unnecessary mess of the place.
It also had a pretty good location; around a 5 minute walk to the main area of restaurants and bars, and it had a really lovely bar itself, too.
(Although, we didn’t dare touch the minibar in our fridge as it would probably cause lifelong bankruptcy: 5 euros for a bottle of water, they weren’t messing about.)
The hotel also had a gorgeous pool area which unfortunately, we barely got any use out of. Apparently, Marseille gets hit with very strong spells of wind *no pun intended* and typically, the 3 days we were there were particularly strong! I didn’t fancy lying half naked in a bikini in blustering winds, so sunbathing was pretty much a no-go.
This was a shame actually because I could have done with a little tanning top-up before Winter comes and ruins my life *cry*, but oh well, life goes on.
As for sightseeing, there’s quite a bit to see and photograph in this city. Let me show you!
Around the Vieux Port was where most of the restaurants and drinking spots were, even with a few Irish pubs thrown in. Why is it that wherever you go on holiday, there is always an Irish pub floating about? I didn’t come to the South of France for a Guinness in O’Malleys, thanks.
One of my favourite things we did was go up to see the Notre Dame de la Garde – an absolutely gorgeous Cathedral situated *really conveniently* at the top of this ginormous hill.
We decided to walk up there – half mistake as I consequently nearly passed away, but half good, too, as it was a damn good leg workout.
After practically climbing up the road and moaning the entire time that I couldn’t breathe, boyfriend storming ahead, we got to the top, and I couldn’t help wondering how so many elderly people had made it up there without snuffing it. I insisted they must have caught the bus and got on with my day, legs like fire.
The interior of this place was amazing; honestly like nothing I’d seen before. A bonus was that it was free to go in and have a look.
I love peaceful places like this. It was nice to just sit and stare at the ceiling for a while whilst getting my breath back.
We also took a stroll down to the beach; it was quite small and not exactly Bahamas-esque, but it was a good spot to find if you fancied a dip; the sea was so bright and blue.
One thing I absolutely love doing on city-breaks is finding a ‘tourist bus’ – you know, those ones you pay about 20 quid for and you get to hop-on and hop-off all day. It’s just a really efficient way of getting around, and if it’s sunny it’s lovely to sit on the open-top and get burnt to a crisp in the fresh air.
We’d decided to buy some tickets from the eager employees in multicoloured wigs (?) and were waiting at the bus stop. Until… well, I still don’t really know what was going on. Let’s just say: the roads became blocked up with about 30 HUGE lorries, there were men screaming and shouting abuse to each other, police motorbikes were everywhere and we could hear the horns beeping of what sounded like 1,000 monster trucks, held down all together.
Apparently there was some sort of protest going on, but it was weird and all the buses had been cancelled, so we saved it for the next day!
Instead of all the commotion, we decided to go on a little boat trip.
There was a tiny little island nearby called ‘Ile De Frioul’, so we hopped on a boat to go there for some lunch.
Just imagine the scene: serene, calm, clear waters – peacefully breathing in the Mediterranean breeze, garlic wafting in the air… and suddenly, the boat accelerated to about 200mph and we were genuinely flying over the waves being aggressively thrashed about, passengers being hurled overboard.
Okay, not really, but there was suddenly a desperate scramble for people to get inside the boat from the sunny deck, and everyone was soaked through and holding on for dear life.
I don’t know what was going through the drivers head, but it was an experience.
We had a trek around the island when we got there, and stopped for some lunch.
After being stolen of 7 euros for an orange juice, we hopped back on the deathly ride home.
As for meals in Marseille, I underestimated how difficult it would be to find decent vegetarian food! I forgot that in France, most menus consist of only steak, mussels and snails. Fab.
Luckily our hotel had a pretty decent breakfast buffet so I could fill up then, but lunch and dinner was more of a challenge. I basically ended up living on pasta most of the time, which I’m okay with.
If you’re a steak-lover like my boyfriend then you’ll be alright; for me, it was a bit of a challenge but I still managed to eat, so who cares.
Another restaurant I’d really recommend would be ‘Le Quai du 7ème’ – it was part of the Radisson Blu hotel. Again, the food was on point and the decor was really modern and classy.
As for bars, there were plenty of locations to seek out a cocktail or a glass of wine (although beware – very expensive.)
The bar in our hotel was great – you could also sit outside on the pool terrace, which was nice and relaxing.
The hotel opposite us, Hotel Sofitel Marseille, had a really swanky rooftop bar which we visited. There’s something really glam about rooftop bars – I absolutely love them!
The service up there was super friendly and attentive (yeah, you’d hope so after spending your life savings on one beer.)
Another really cool bar we went to was one called Gaspard – slightly more tucked away, a small, Parisian-style place with a select few cocktails on the menu to choose from, all unique, arty and creative.
I had a really nice cucumber and basil cocktail (I cannot for the life of me remember the name.)
After requesting a mojito, then having our waiter explain to us that the French small-print at the bottom of the menu actually read ‘Do not ask for a mojito’ (oops), my boyfriend was made a special cocktail with absinthe *vom* which we had to pretend was really delicious.
As you can see, I had a really lovely time away. I hope you enjoyed reading all about it!
Let me know your thoughts if you’ve ever visited Marseille, too. Speak soon!
Love, Dayna x