To get from the end of our Canal du Midi trip to Vienna, we took a train from Beziers to Marseille where we spent the night before flying to Vienna the next day. This gave us the afternoon and evening to explore Marseille. I went there with low expectations, but left very impressed with the city. These steps are known as the grand staircase. Whould it surprise you to learn that they lead to the train station? Not only do they seem very fancy for a train station, they must look imposing to someone with luggage in tow.Overlooking the city at its highest point is the symbol of Marseille, the Cathedral Norte Dame de la Garde. This picture was taken from the balcony of our hotel. Since we didn’t have a lot of time, we elected to take a petit train tour that included the cathedral.
The cathedral had a spectacular alterpiece.The terrace of the cathedral provided great views of the city. The heart of the tourist area is the old port, which can be seen across the center of the picture. There were forts on either side of the entrance to the port. You can see the towers and walls of one on the left. The new port where the cruise ships dock is in the upper right. The blue Mediterranean stretches off to the horizon.There was a giant mirror hanging over part of the sidewalk in the old port. It not only provided much needed shade from the hot sun, but created this confusing image. We seem to run into a gay pride parade somewhere every year. This year it was in Marseille. I have to say that Canada does a much better job on these parades. Marseille just had one float playing music and a lot of people jumping up and down to the music. There were large trucks parked on all the side roads entering the parade route to keep any vehicles from crashing into the parade. There was a noticeable presence of military personnel carrying machine guns at the parade, the cathedral, the train station, and prior to security at the airport. In fact, when we opened our suitcases prior to check in at the airport to do some repacking, we quickly drew the supervision of three men in camouflage with machine guns. I find it sad that the world has come to this.