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 Marseille: Christmas 2007

After Christmas we visited Marseille, Frances' second largest city.

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Marseille was originally founded by Greek Phocaeans in 600 BC. Today, its original old port
is still a lot bigger than the one in Nice, but the boats that dock here now are a lot smaller.

The current forts at the entrance to the harbor (Fort St Jean shown here, on the northern tip of the old harbor)
seem to have been built not to protect the Marseillais, but rather to keep them under control of the French king.


As we climbed the stairs into the steep Panier Quarter, we encountered a woman who stared around in wonder, saying she had lived here 30 years ago, but now it had changed completely.


When she lived there it was brutally poor. Homeless children slept on these stairs, she said.


Now it is gentrified, the "in" quarter, with squares that make it look like a Provencal village. But at least in the days between Christmas and New Year, it was very quiet.


Peter in front of the 11th century church Vieille Major


Naked branches and crucifix.


Tamiko in the Panier Quarter


The Palais du Pharo on the south tip of the harbor, built as a gift from the city to Empress Josephine, who never came to visit.


View from the Palais gardens,
looking back into the old port.


View from the Panier Quarter across the port to Marseille's landmark, the Basilique Notre Dame de la Garde.

copyright 2007 by Tamiko Thiel and Peter Graf.