Quilt Gallery

Monday, December 28, 2015


Although Marseille is the second largest city in France, it is not nearly as popular a tourist destination as Paris. I felt as though I was seeing a more authentic version of France than Paris. We saw only a small part of Marseille: the old part of town which surrounds the old port, and some of the waterfront which includes old fortifications and churches with newly built museums and pedestrian malls.

I enjoyed wandering the narrow streets of the old part of town, trying to capture the character of the place with my camera.

Typical old Marseille architecture

I found the MuCem (the Museum of European and Mediterranean Civilizations) building itself fascinating without seeing its exhibits. The building, designed by architect Rudy Ricciotti and opened in 2013, is most notable, at least from a distance, for its latticework exterior. Here is a sunset view across the top.

Sunset over the MuCem

The interior is equally interesting with ramps that seem to float in space and spiral around from level to level, offering bay views through the latticework on one side, and peeks into offices on another side.

MuCem walkway

The rooftop deck, restaurant and bar can be reached via the interior ramp or by the even more dramatic concrete ramp that connects the MuCem to neighboring Fort St. Jean. This view of part of the ramp just captures a Lilliputian-looking Notre-Dame de la Garde on the opposite side of the port.

Notre-Dame de la Garde seen from MuCem deck

Here you can see part of the MuCem site - on the pedestrian mall and adjacent to the Villa Mediterranee, another dramatic public building which houses an amphitheater, exhibition space and offices.

Marseille Waterfront

This image at Fort St-Jean shows how the 17th century fort has been combined with modern pathways and art.

At Fort St-Jean

And here you see part of the the Villa Mediterranee overhang and the 19th century Byzantine-Roman style Marseille Cathedral reflected in the MuCem windows.

Marseille Cathedral - times two

Finally, here is a view of the old port with its thousands of sailboats, and Notre-Dame de la Garde dominating the hillside.

The Old Port

In the harbor we hopped on a small boat for a short excursion to the Chateau d'If, most famous as the site of Edmond Dantes' imprisonment in Alexandre Dumas' story "The Count of Monte Cristo."

Chateau D'If

Dumas certainly took some liberties in his portrayal. For example, the cells were not so deep and dark as he described.

View from a Chateau D'If cell

Still, it was thrilling to walk around the chateau and imagine the characters and events he so compellingly wrote about.

Chateau D'If courtyard

The only shopping we did in Marseille was for soap. On the advice of one of Steve's colleagues at the Aix-Marseille University, we made our way to a little shop tucked away beneath a bakery, and loaded up on several kilos of Marseille's famous olive-oil rich soap. For Christmas gifts I knit up some cotton washcloths to go with the luscious soap.

Marseille Soap

This turned out to be my favorite pattern. Using variegated Lily Sugar'n Cream cotton yarn I cast on 40 stitches, then alternated two rows of knit 2, purl 2 with two rows of purl 2, knit 2 until I had a square, then cast off.

 I hope everyone has been having a wonderful holiday season!

No comments:

Post a Comment