Wow- we’ve been home from our holiday for nearly two weeks….that seems crazy! As happy as I was to get home, I’m starting to have some serious holiday withdrawal right now….especially looking at all my pictures from the south of France! Sitting here in my leggings and flannel shirt as the rain comes down….the sweltering heat of Marseille seems very, VERY far away.
After leaving Andorra, we drove along the southern border of France- it was an absolutely fascinating drive through the mountains and canyons of the Pyrénées. I wish I took some photos as it was a really special place- so many tiny villages snuggled on the sides of enormous gorges. In comparison to our usual driving experience in France (a two-lane motorway surrounded by forest), it was a real treat! We spent the night in a hotel at Marseillan Plage, a little holiday village with a big beach. The beach was stunning but absolutely PACKED with people, and they didn’t allow dogs on the sand. We actually spent most of our time on deck chairs outside our hotel… it was very relaxing, but we were definitely happy to move on to Marseille in the morning.
I had no idea what to expect in Marseille- I knew it was a port town and had a reputation for being a bit ‘rougher’ than some surrounding cities, but that was the extent of my prior knowledge. Oh, and we also had recently watched a ‘Parts Unknown’ where Anthony Bourdain visits and eats a whole lot of spectacular food, so that was a big reason we wanted to swing by. I wasn’t at all prepared for how old and beautiful it was, and there was certainly a lot of amazing food to be had!
Our Airbnb was perfectly located, only a couple blocks away from the vieux port (old port), which is really a central hub in the tourist/old city area. It was a fourth floor walk-up, which gave us some amazing views of the city….but those stairs were TERRIBLE in 38 degree heat, and the apartment was crazy warm as well. Oh, air-conditioning….I miss you so much!!
The heatwave really limited our ability to explore the city, especially with Murphy. We didn’t want him getting too hot so we tried to keep him out of the sun in the middle of the day and as restful as possible. We spent our mornings and evenings out and about though, and saw lots of amazing sights. The landscape surrounding the city is stunning- white cliffs plunging into the turquoise sea.
My favourite day was the one where we woke up early and hopped on a ferry to Chateau d’If and Île de Frioul, which are islands just off the coast. Chateau d’If was the famous inspiration for the island prison Alexandre Dumas featured in ‘The Count of Monte Cristo’. We didn’t get off the ferry at this stop, but we still were treated to a great view from the boat.
Our destination was Île de Frioul, where we heard there were beautiful walks, coves, and (importantly) fewer tourists. It was exactly as promised…we had a great time wandering around before it got too hot, and then finding a great little cove to swim in and read our books by. It was complete perfection!
Naturally, no seaside holiday is complete without some excellent food and cold wine…we ate VERY well in Marseille, with some highlights being…
- Tacos at the Taqueria directly beneath our apartment (easy stumbling distance home after a couple margaritas! lol).
- Octopus for Marc and gnocci for me- paired with a bottle of rosé for 9€….how could you go wrong?
As amazing as Marseille was, I was really happy to escape the heat and drive north. It’s quite far to go from the south all the way to Paris (about 800km), so we decided to split the journey up with a night in Bourgogne (Burgundy). Marc and I had visited the medieval town of Beaune a few years ago and loved it, so it was an obvious choice.
Marc’s mom decided to drive from Switzerland and meet us for the night, and it was so wonderful to see her and get caught up on all the happenings at ‘home’. We had a lovely meal together in the evening, and spent the next morning wandering around the excellent market in town. We bought saucisson, honey, flowers, and a new blue bandana for Murphy.
The holidays were sooooo fun and it was such a cool experience to have Murphy be able to join us this time. Traveling with a dog was quite an experience, and I think I will make it the topic of my next post.
Until then, lots of love from la famille Perret,