Mediterranean Cruise 2012






Links to Port Pages



Monte Carlo

Livorno (Florence)

Civitavecchia (Rome)




Day at Sea 1

Piraeus (Athens)

Day at Sea 2



Marseille, FRANCE

Thursday, 15 March:

While we were scheduled to arrive at 8:00 am, we did not get to Marseille until about 11:00 am. The fog in Barcelona significantly delayed our departure. The result for us is that the ship had to cancel our tour to Avignon. In order to get back on schedule the ship would need to leave port before we could return from an 8 hour tour! So we decided just to take the shuttle into the town center, walk around awhile and have a bite to eat.

We'll have to say that the city of Marseille, next to the harbor, is not all that exciting. We walked through the area near the harbor and saw some shops, the Prefecture, and a couple of plazas. But, for us, it was really kind of a nothing stop. If we had been able to take our tour we probably would have a completely different view of Marseille and "France". Lunch was good though. We found a small local restaurant near the Prefecture. If we had planned to spend the day in town we would have gone up the hill to the Notre Dame de la Garde Cathedral and probably over to Fort Saint-Jean. We could see both from the harbor area, but it was a little hazy that afternoon. We found our way back to the shuttle stop on the harbor and returned to the ship to get ready for dinner.



The Arc de Triomphe was built in memory of the Revolution and the first wars of the empire.

Map of Marseille
Notre Dame de la Garde
Amy and Randy

Notre-Dame de la Garde is a  minor basilica of the Catholic church. The ornate Neo-Byzantine church is situated at the highest natural point in Marseille, a 162 m (532 ft) limestone outcrop on the walls and foundations of an old fort on the south side of the Old Port.

Amy and Randy - having fun!
Plaza de la Prefecture
Plaza de la Prefecture

The Prefecture in the 6th arrondissement

Prefecture Sign
Signage about the Prefecture
Carousel in park across from the Palais de Justice
Postcard of Fort Saint-Jean: built in 1660 by Louis XIV at the entrance to the Old Port
Postcard of views in Marseille

Cathédrale Sainte-Marie-Majeure de Marseille or Cathédrale de la Major. It has been a basilica minor since 1896

Chronicle for 15 March




Postings before the Trip:

We are scheduled to arrive in Marseille Thursday morning, 15 March 2012 at 8:00 am.



From Wikipedia - "Marseille is the second largest city in France after Paris and the centre of the third largest metropolitan area in France after Paris and Lyon. To the east, starting in the small fishing village of Callelongue on the outskirts of Marseille and stretching as far as Cassis, are the Calanques, a rugged coastal area interspersed with small fjords. Further east still are the Sainte-Baume, a 1,147 m (3,763 ft) mountain ridge rising from a forest of deciduous trees, the town of Toulon and the French Riviera. To the north of Marseille, beyond the low Garlaban and Etoile mountain ranges, is the 1,011 m (3,317 ft) Mont Sainte Victoire. To the west of Marseille is the former artists' colony of l'Estaque; further west are the Côte Bleue, the Gulf of Lion and the Camargue region in the Rhône delta. The airport lies to the north west of the city at Marignane on the Étang de Berre. seen from Spot Satellite

The city's main thoroughfare, the wide boulevard called the Canebière, stretches eastward from the Old Port (Vieux Port) to the Réformés quarter. Two large forts flank the entrance to the Old Port—Fort Saint-Nicolas on the south side and Fort Saint-Jean on the north. Further out in the Bay of Marseille is the Frioul archipelago which comprises four islands, one of which, If, is the location of Château d'If, made famous by the Dumas novel The Count of Monte Cristo. The main commercial centre of the city intersects with the Canebière at rue St Ferréol and the Centre Bourse (the main shopping mall). The centre of Marseille has several pedestrianised zones, most notably rue St Ferréol, Cours Julien near the Music Conservatory, the Cours Honoré-d'Estienne-d'Orves off the Old Port and the area around the Hôtel de Ville. To the south east of central Marseille in the 6th arrondissement are the Prefecture and the monumental fountain of Place Castellane, an important bus and metro interchange. To the south west are the hills of the 7th arrondissement, dominated by the basilica of Notre-Dame-de-la-Garde. The railway station—Gare de Marseille Saint-Charles—is north of the Centre Bourse in the 1st arrondissement; it is linked by the Boulevard d'Athènes to the Canebière."


Update 22 January 2012: We've scheduled an extraordinary excursion for our day in Marseille -

From the Silversea Website Tour List -

"The Palace of Popes and Avignon

15 Mar 2012 | 8.5 Hours | Morning

Experience the Medieval grandeur of Southern France during this scenic and memorable Silver Shore Collection excursion to Avignon, and a visit to the Popes' Palace.

Châteauneuf-du-Pape Vineyards

Depart the pier for the scenic, approximately 1.5-hour drive to to the famous vineyards of Châteauneuf-du-Pape. They are one of the oldest and most strictly controlled in France. Some of the vines were planted during the time of the popes. Visit the cellars of the Chateau des Fines-Roches, set in the heart of the Châteauneuf-du-Pape appellation. Following an introduction to the art of winemaking, enjoy a tasting of these palatable wines.


Avignon is considered one of Europe's most beautiful and well-preserved medieval cities. Back in the 14th century, Avignon underwent a period of prosperity thanks to the Pope, who moved here with his court. Seven Popes reigned here in succession from 1309 to 1403.

Upon arrival in Avignon, a short walk takes you to the superb - La Mirande Hotel, a member of 'The Leading Hotel's Of The World', where you are expected for a very nice lunch in a very refined setting of typically French old style hotel.

Popes' Palace - UNESCO World Heritage Site

After lunch, guided walking tour of Avignon, site of the famous Pont d'Avignon mentioned in the French nursery rhyme. This historic, walled town got its reputation as a place of art and culture.

Next, proceed to the spectacular Popes' Palace, which during the 14th century when the Holy See established its court here and lavishly spent money on the papal palace and other ecclesiastical buildings. Formerly a luxurious residential palace, it also served as a church and a fortress. During your interior visit, see the galleries, rooms and chapels that are now empty, and give an impression of austerity.

Following your visit, some free time is made available for shopping in the centre of Avignon before re-boarding your coach for the drive back to the pier."





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