It was hard to leave Paris after spending five beautiful days there. We took off in the afternoon for Marseille for the rest of our vacation where we would also visit a few nearby cities. Marseille is one of the oldest cities in Europe. The streets of the old town ‘Le Panier’ tell how deep its history is when you simply walk on them. There are some very nice cafes and restaurants in this area.
While we were walking along the harbour Vieux-Port, we figured that it was possible to go up to the hill in front of us. This is how our adventure to reach Notre-Dame de la Garde started.
We took a tourist bus to go up there. The road we took was steep and winding. We passed by the seaside with a view of wonderful afternoon sun while it was shining on the waves. It was getting windier with every hundred meters we went. When we arrived at the parking place, the driver warned us about the wind up there, and recommended that we take care of our stuff when we reached the top, which is the highest point in Marseille at 162 meters.
The first church was built on this hill in 1214. The seamen who could survive their adventures would go up to the church and pray for their survival. In the 16th century the church was covered with walls for protection from Spain. Then, in 1864, the existing basilica was built with Byzantine architecture.
It was the strongest wind I have ever encountered when we went up the stairs. I even needed to take off my glasses and put every item in the bag that I was clutching so tightly. It was not possible to take any pictures up there, so we took some nice pictures of the church when we were back in the city.
We were tired enough to stop moving around in the city. We picked a nice restaurant to try the famous Bouillabaisse, which is a seafood soup served with a special sauce like mustard. It was very delicious!