Sunday, 30 December 2012

Christmas in Marseille: It's not the end of the world.

It's the 30th December 2012, and we're all still here. No zombie apocalypse, or rain of fire in this part of the world anyways, in fact, the weather here is still beautiful, and not seasonal at all. All I wanted for Christmas was a winter wonderland in Aix-en-Provence; Santa you suck balls.

I've not long returned back to Aix from spending Christmas with my mum and sister in Marseille, which was lovely. It's a shame there were no apartments on for the centre of Aix for a reasonable price otherwise we probably would have stayed here, but alas, we ended up in the big city.

And even after living here for several months, I've never been to Marseille that often, and I've certainly never spent a great deal of time there. I now kinda like it. It has that slightly local feel (despite it being France's second city), as well as being very multicultural. There are turkish kebab stalls everywhere, and Algerian-style clothes stores everywhere you look, even right next to Hermès, Louis Vuitton and the Chanel store.
It's a bit intimidating though, and the general advice given from our universities to female Erasmus students to be careful of French men in clubs and pubs applies to the streets here as well. My mum commented on how many heads turned when walking past a café, seemingly only frequented by North African men, and how, to her, they looked a bit like they were on the prowl even at midday.
My thirteen year old sister also got hit on by a much older (and drunk) guy near the main train station, but she brushed him off in quite a classy manner nevertheless, which was equally as surprising!

One memory which I will never forget is turning my back for two minutes and then my mum telling me she just accidentally got involved in a drug deal in the middle of the street.

Marseille is madness.

As well as being one of the poorest cities in France with a high rate of unemployment, it can also be the most beautiful and inspiring. We quickly realised this climbing up to the Notre Dame de la Garde, a large cathedral overlooking Marseille and its port. The views were so breathtaking and the panorama of the city is so big that it wouldn't even fit in one photo even from so high up, and they really made us feel small.

Seafood on the port in Marseille

Me, mum and sister in Marseille.

Notre Dame de la Garde, Marseille.

the city doesn't even fit in  the background of this photo. Amazing.

Christmas Day was nice, we had dinner late, watched some trashy films on trashy French TV channels, opened presents and got drunk.
Boxing Day was really interesting though, we went for a walk right down the coast from the Port down by the Calanques [rock formations on the coast just outside of Marseille] and the weather was lovely, there were even people on the beach!

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