After we finally dragged ourselves out of bed we began our day by walking to the oceanfront to visit a few farmers market stands.
We quickly lost hope when we realized these were more likely tourist traps, than mom and pop shops selling authentic goods. Bars of soap and herbs clearly meant for tourists, being sold by people who I seriously doubt made or harvested any of the materials.
Onward we went to the classiest of establishments for lunch, the Hippopotamus. Fish n chips with a great view for the evening.
Sitting on a steep hill overlooking the bay of Marseille is a Cathedral with some character. But first, we decided…excuse me….M decided we must hike the hill. K was thrilled.
Once we arrived at the Cathedral, a bit sweaty, we took in the views over Marseille. Inside the Cathedral you will find tiny boats hanging from the ceiling, surrounded by beautiful and unique art.
We began heading back down the hill towards our hotel. But first, we had a few stops to make. One stop included a cute mom and pop store featuring lots of popular products of Southern France. This included herbs, soaps, candies, liquors, and so much more. We picked up a few things then continued to our next stop.
It was Halloween so we had to stop at a grocery store with tons of cheap candy. We loaded up then turned in for the night. Ordered a few pizzas and binged on Stranger Things, IT, and candy. Our Halloween tradition we can enjoy anywhere in the world.
The next day we were forced to wake up early since we had a train to catch. This time it was a short ride to Aix-en-Provence. M had lived in this city for 3 weeks when he did another study abroad a couple years ago and had much to show.
He led us to the city center, which mainly consisted of a very long street complemented by beautiful large trees and their falling leaves. Little shops on both ends offering candy, crepes, and popular brands.
As we continued to explore the city center we came across a store M was particularly fond of called La Chambre Aux Confitures. In this tiny shop, every wall is filled with caramel and chocolate sauces, jams, jellies, and various confections. While we attempted to try them all, we ultimately pulled ourselves away… after buying some guava jam, strawberry jam, and salted caramel sauce. Which was especially yummy when poured over pretzels…or so I have heard.
We continued to explore the little streets and alleys of Aix-en-Provence. Coming across a few farmers markets filled with bright fruits, vegetables still covered in dirt, and flowers with bees buzzing all around them.
We stopped at an Irish pub in a small square where we enjoyed a beer and a cider. Then continuing to another restaurant on the beautiful street with the trees for some outside lunch.
Below: Photo of my very French salad. I have never had so much cheese on one salad! It was more of a cheese salad, a cheesalad if you will.
After lunch, we boarded a train heading back to Marseille.
***Something to note about Marseille… the city is not very French. It has really been overtaken by immigration and other cultures. Nothing wrong with other cultures, but do not expect to experience French culture. A lot of the little cafe’s, quiet evenings, filled quiet bars you would expect, just do not exist. Later that night we picked up some dinner not far from the center of the city. We clearly stuck out and felt many eyes on us after dark.Overall, the area is not the nicest. It lacks in genuine French culture and often comes across as a tourist trap.