Thursday, 5 November 2009

Marseille to Cassis



We've recently returned from a short break sailing under blue skies on France's Mediterranean coast.

What a treat to drive down to Provence passing through the Languedoc en route to a special rendezvous in the old port at Marseille. Leaving the beautiful earthy Perigord for a landscape punctuated with tall Cypress, prostrate Juniper and silver Olive is a real tonic for diminishing daylength and ever cooler evenings.



Although our time in Marseille was limited, its history and grandoise intentions were inescapable as we left by ferry for our final destination, the Isle du Frioul where we were to meet Karen's family aboard their catamaran.



Visible from just about anywhere near the port, the Byzantine Romanesque Nouvelle Cathédrale de la Major is an imposing structure, its first stone was laid by Louis-Napoléon Bonaparte on the 26th September 1852.




On board the ferry we passed the island fortress of Le Château d'If, located on the Îsle d'If.

In Alexandre Dumas' book 'The Count of Monte Christo', the principle character was imprisioned here, isolated on an island penitentiary where escape was theoretically impossible (think Alcatraz).



Ain't she beautiful? This was the real deal. On arrival at Frioul we were greeted by the catamaran Hakuna Matata, our home to be for the next few days.

My brother in law aka 'skipper' has sailed this boat across the Atlantic and back, toured the Carribean and visited many ports in southern Europe. It isn't even his day job! If you want to read more, click here.

Many a bonheur was spent sailing in and around The Calanques, a series of limestone cliffs, fjords and rocky promontories which plunge into the Mediterranean for about 20 km of coastline immediately to the south-east of Marseille before arriving at our final destination the ancient fishing port of Cassis.


31 comments:

  1. Oh Rob, thanks for taking us along. Each photo was fabulous, but the second shot, with the boats and buildings behind was pure art. They all were, I will have to revisit this post often, for it does help ease the dwindling of daylight hours. :-)
    Frances

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  2. You have warmed me up with those photos Rob on a very wet November morning. I could happily park myself in that bottom photo right now. Sounds as if you had a great break.

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  3. Fantastic. Now we all envy you big time, those blue skies, whilst getting really cold here.

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  4. What a wonderful trip you had! A nice reward after a busy season running your B&B and gites.

    So glad you got to Marseille and Cassis! We loved Cassis, but we didn't get to sail/stay on a fabulous cat.

    A neighbor had a French family stay with them last summer. The family, including two little girls under the age of 8, sailed from France. I was stunned by such an adventure. What a way to travel!

    Cameron

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  5. Wow! What a fantastic short break!! And your photos....there are several of them that I really liked a lot. It is always nice to come to your blog even if just to dream about these places for a few minutes. Hope all of you had a great time.
    Ulrike

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  6. Very beautiful. It is so nice to enjoy your beautiful country from your perspective. Almost as nice as being there myself.
    Debbie

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  7. The boat is amazing and the tour beautiful! I can imagine it was a wonderful time for you and your family. I've only visited Marseille by land, but remember my friend and I walking along the docks and looking at all the beautiful boats moored there.

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  8. You're killing me with those gorgeous photos - it's so grey and dreary out my window. But thanks for sharing some beauty. I love the green of the shutters and the blue of the water around the island.

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  9. Rob, thank you for this wonderful post! Water makes all the difference. And history, history everywhere. Fantastic!

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  10. Rob, Your first photo really sings to me and takes me into that realm ... all the shots are gorgeous as your scenery ... will you be sharing photos from the Calanques... what beauty floats there... breathtaking. I did go to Karin's brothers site too... so now I know what to do when I sell here... buy a boat but I will have to get a worthy crew. I love how he found folks through an ad. I wonder where he placed it? What a lovely break you had and what a way to go ... thanks so for sharing it with us. Carol

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  11. And to think that I spent my weekend just weeding........LOL

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  12. Lucky 'sailing' you, Rob! Great photos to share with those of us who can only dream :)

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  13. I love the picture with all of the sailboats...beautiful..

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  14. What a lovely tour thanks for sharing with us. Such beautiful blue skies and water.

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  15. What a nice 'break' you had, Rob! For many of us, 'break' just doesn't describe what a trip like that would be! More like, trip-of-a-lifetime! I'm going to check out your link to see more...

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  16. Oh those wonderful blue skies! And I can almost feel the warmth coming out of the photos!

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  17. OMG! what beautiful pictures...you captured the light perfectly. We have a little 14' catamaran that we dabble with on the summer lakes, but this looks like a lifetime of fun! how could they even think of selling it? What an adventure for their kids. Your post was just magical.

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  18. What a wonderful trip and I have always wondered what Cassis is like . I do love their famous Creme d Cassis and the area is as beautiful as the liquer!

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  19. As always, wonderful photos! Your life seems like one amazing adventure after another.

    And how clever of your to marry a woman like Karen with such excellent family connections!

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  20. beautiful photos, beautiful places. thank you for sharing with those of us in dreary climes!

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  21. Ooah, I am SO jealous - it is cold, wet and horrid here and you've been swanning around on a cat in the med!!!!

    Hope you had a great break - you've earnt it after your busy summer! :)

    Cheers,

    Nutty

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  22. oh wow! I saw your blog from Dirt Therapy. This is gorgeous!!!

    I'm looking forward to reading through others.

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  23. Good morning Rob, what a beautiful trip you did and thank you very much for the wonderful photos. Loved to see the place where "conde de montecristo" jail was inspired, very isolated indeed.
    Muchos cariños
    María Cecilia

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  24. Such a beautiful part of the world. Thanks for sharing.

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  25. Beautiful! Is that a wine bottle cork laying on the agave leaf in the first picture?

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  26. Love that the color in the agave and the shutters is a fantastic echo! Beautiful shots. I am ready for a visit!

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  27. wowzers....lovely tour. so glad i found you...

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  28. Those steps look great Rob, and what a great part of the world you live in.

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  29. such striking photos-but that is par for the course on your blog :) Your DIY job on th esteps looks professional, you should be quite proud.

    I agree with the other readers: envy and sighing over the lovely blue skies.

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  30. I can see that you came home although looks like you were spoiled. Your in-laws seem to be gracious host and like to travel in style. The countryside is amazing. Thank you so much sharing. Such a treat to visit you.

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