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Trip Report - Mother/Daughters 3 days in Provence

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Wagga Wagga...
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Trip Report - Mother/Daughters 3 days in Provence

Details of my daughters (aged 17 and 13years) and my 3 day visit to Marseille in July 2014. Our holiday began in London, forum link below;

tripadvisor.com.au/ShowTopic-g186338-i17-k76…

Wagga Wagga...
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1. Re: Trip Report - Mother/Daughters 3 days in Provence

Thursday July 10

We arrived from London on EasyJet and were met by the 17yo French exchange student we had hosted last year and her family.

They drove around the main beachfront area of Marseille which was very crowded due to the final of a petanque competition being held in a temporary arena right on the shoreline. Then it was up through the steep winding streets to Marseille’s landmark the basilica of Notre-Dame de la Garde, a stunning church built on the highest point of the area. The interior is equally stunning with vibrant mosaic scenes covering the many domes and walls. The area was held by German troops during WWII and its eventual reclamation by the French in August 1944 marked the liberation of Marseille. It was incredibly windy up there, we had difficulty just walking through it at times and took some hilarious photos with everyone’s hair flying in all directions.

We then stopped at a display to commemorate Marcel Pagnol, the famous French director from Provence. He made some of the absolute classic French movies we’ve loved – the Jean de Florette and My Father’s Glory series are just wonderful.

Friday July 11

Today we drove 90mins to visit the amazing Carrieres de Lumiere. It’s an old quarry that dates back to Roman times, the white stone in it was used to build much of the surrounding villages. In the late 1970’s some brilliant mind thought of using the many vertical quarry faces to project artwork onto. The projections this year are artists from Vienna, Gustaf Klimt being the most well known. Last year's was Monet, which would also have been spectacular. The display lasts for about 25mins, and you wander around the quarry (where the temperatures is 15 degrees, in contrast to the glorious weather outside) while hundreds of artworks are displayed on the various rock faces and floor with soundtrack accompaniment. Now that sentence makes it sound so dull! I spent half the time in absolute awe and the other half stressing out about how I could possibly find the words to convey how exquisite this experience was. The talent of the artists themselves was inspiring, but to couple it with the creativity of those who created the illumination performance was just amazing. The pictures weren’t just projected statically, they moved, grew and faded away – it was an art in itself.

A short walk away is Chateau des Baux, the ruins of a 10th Century fortified castle. There is a village leading up to the castle with dozens of restaurants and tempting shopping along the way. The ruins are quite extensive and as was the case yesterday in Marseille, the winds were really blowing. I have no idea what the criteria is to describe a wind as gale force, but as I was clambering up the cliffs and hanging onto the old railings for dear life I felt this must surely be close to it! The views however were sublime, with the jagged white limestone cliffs surrounding orderly green fields topped with stunning blue skies. I would have loved to take some more panoramic shots, but couldn’t trust myself to stay upright on the cliff top when I needed 2 hands to hold the iphone. They had some performers in medieval costume who put on a couple of shows, including a demonstration of the firing a humungous catapult that was quite entertaining as well.

Wagga Wagga...
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2. Re: Trip Report - Mother/Daughters 3 days in Provence

Saturday July 12

Today’s excursion was to the seaside port of Cassis. Winston Churchill was a frequent visitor and painted the views there - yet another gorgeous spot in Provence. There are dozens of shops and restaurants clustered around the boat filled harbour, some painted in different colours reminiscent of the Cinque Terre (although not as many or as bright). We took a 1hr cruise out to the famous Calanques which they translate as creeks, but seemed more like inlets to me. We saw 5 in all, stunning of course with vivid aqua sea and white cliff faces. These cliffs have also been extensively quarried, with the stone used in the Statue of Liberty, the Suez Canal and the Trocadero in Paris. There are not really any beaches along that section of coast, but plenty of flat rock faces that were covered with sunbathers. While the coves were calm, each time we ventured out into the sea it was quite rough so we had a few wild rides.

The girls were keen to brave the 15 degree water temperature to swim in the sea, but only managed to stay in for about 2mins, once the water got to mid thigh they were freezing and that was enough. As we were wandering back through the shops to the car a bride and groom arrived in a converted little decorated jeep to greet their assembled guests in the town square (I assume after the wedding and before the reception). It was quite fun, plenty of non-guests like us gathered around to watch.

We travel from Marseille to Paris in the morning via the TGV, this continues in the Paris forum;

tripadvisor.com.au/…59986864

Edited: 24 July 2014, 11:36
3. Re: Trip Report - Mother/Daughters 3 days in Provence

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