Marseilles & Cassis
With an allowance of free international train travel as one of Phil's perks, a late-summer holiday in the south of France seemed a good idea. And there were a couple of places on the Mediterranean coast - neighbours in fact - whose boxes had not yet been ticked.
|France's second- or third-largest city is one of the closest points on the Mediterranean coast to the UK. And it is incredibly easy to get to; leaving home just before nine in the morning, we were admiring the sea view from our hotel window seven and a half hours later - grabbing a baguette for lunch while changing trains in Paris. Gradually losing it's seedy 'French Connection' image, Marseilles deserves at least a long weekend. The best views (other than those from our own window!) were to be had from the steps of Notre Dame de la Garde, a church on a hill which both overlooks and symbolises the city.|
We had both been to Cassis before (albeit briefly in Steve's case) when we had tried unsuccessfully to find a stopping-place for the motorhome there in 2008. Phil had also been here on a day trip from visiting friends in Aix en Provence during his student days. But neither of us had actually stayed there, and so when looking for somewhere for a proper beach-type holiday in the area, it seemed like an obvious choice.
And it was not a choice we regretted. It had all the elements we needed - fresh pain au chocolats for breakfast and baguettes for lunch, lazy afternoons on the beach followed by a beer in a harbourside cafe, and finally warm evenings spent in one of the resort's selection of restaurants.
Eventually we felt slightly guilty about our sloth, and followed the other tourists onto one of the almost obligatory boat trips along the coastline between Cassis and Marseilles. The area is known as the 'Calanques', after the creeks which are to be found amongst the towering cliffs.
But all too soon it was time to speed across the whole of France on our TGV to Lille where the Eurostar was waiting to bring us safely home again.
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