Day four: All at sea

Our last full day in Marseille was blessed with more sunshine than you could shake a stick at.

The view from the hotel bedroom window was as good as ever.

Notre dame marseille

As was the hotel breakfast.

Fortified by good food and encouraged by very light winds, Mrs Tootlepedal and I walked down to the old port, passing fine buildings with helpful ladies…


…and embarked on a ferry to the Frioul Islands.  These lie very close to the shore and after a quick look behind us…

It was a slightly murky day

…it wasn’t long before we put in to the small rocky outcrop which is home to the Chateau d’If…

Chateau d'If

…made famous by Dumas in his book, The Count of Monte Cristo.

We left others to disembark there and stayed on the boat for another few minutes until  it came to the harbour on Ratonneau Island.

Ratonneau Island

The islands were bought from the military by the authorities of Marseille in the 1970s and this small settlement was built at the harbour.  There are 100 full time residents on the two islands and 400,000 visitors each year so it was a good investment.

We walked across the causeway that joins Ratonneau to Pomegues Island…

Frioul causeway

…and explored Pomegues.  It was a bit like walking in a chalk quarry…


…but with beautiful coves….


…and interesting rock formations…


…not to mention excellent views too.

chateau d'if and Notre dame

We followed a rough path down to the shore….


…and found a building being refurbished and, rather surprisingly, a fish farm in the little harbour there.


The path led us back up to the spine of the island (it is 2.5km long and very narrow) and we looked up at Pomeguet Tower, the highest point on the island at 86m (coincidentally the very same height above sea level as Langholm) .


We could see another tower further along….


…but as it was pretty hot on the exposed and rocky path and we had limited time, we turned back for the harbour and joined the path we had taken on the way out.

Other people were exploring the little bays that dot the shores.


We were asked to keep on the paths and when we looked at the basic rock that made up the island…


…we could easily see why.  Erosion would be a big problem with so many feet visiting the islands each year.

There were some plants though…


…clinging to the rocks here and there and a few sea birds too.

yellow legged gulls
Yellow legged gulls

We walked back to the harbour, where it was flat calm.

frioul port

We had time when we got to the harbour to admire the little Greek temple above the village…


…and have a coffee and tarte aux pommes at one of the many harbour side cafes before our boat came in.


It had been full on the outward journey and we had had to sit inside but on this trip it was nearly empty and we could sit in the bow section enjoying the views as we went along.

leaving Frioul harbour
Leaving Frioul harbour
Fort de Ratonneau
The Fort de Ratonneau on the cliff top
The ancient Hospital Caroline
The ancient Hospital Caroline, used as an isolation hospital in earlier times.
Chateau d'If
We picked up passengers from the Chateau d’If
Algerian ferry
Passed the Algerian ferry
And headed into port

Marseille Vieux port

We met the rest of the party, who had been along the coast on their own outing to L’Estaque, a favourite haunt of Cezanne and enjoyed a simple lunch.

Afterwards we all took one of the splendid trams up to the equally splendid Palais Longchamp…

Palais Longchamp

…which has a museum of Beaux Arts in one wing and a grotto…

Palais Longchamp

…with supervisory cows.

Palais Longchamp

While the rest of the party inspected the Beaux Arts, Mrs Tootlepedal and I passed along the portico above the grotto…

Palais Longchamp

..and visited the park behind the palace.  We saw the aqueduct which brought fresh water to Marseilles  and which was completed at the same time as the palace…


…and then we rested in the garden while I had an ice cream and we both had a cooling drink.  The park was filled with sculptures…

palais longchamps

…and a nice variety of trees.

palais longchamps

palais longchamps

The grounds of the palace…

palais longchamps

…were one of the few places on our trip where we saw a flower bed.

palais longchamps

Then we took the tram back to the hotel and put our feet up for a while.

As Mrs Tootlepedal retired for a snooze, I took a stroll along the port to a tower that once guarded it.

We rounded the day off with another good meal and I feel that my sister Mary ‘s plan of a trip to Marseille to celebrate her eightieth birthday was a good one.

Published by tootlepedal

Cyclist, retired teacher, curmudgeon, keen amateur photographer.

26 thoughts on “Day four: All at sea

  1. Glad you had such a good time. I confess I was apprehensive on your behalf when I first heard of your plans, as I had heard that Marseille was not that safe. (I once spent 30 minutes in the city, just hovering around the station.) So glad I was so wrong.

  2. No wonder you were a bit tired on your bike ride after such a busy and amazing holiday. You’ve opened up my eyes ( once again) to places and treasures that I have not encountered before…I must lead a very sheltered life! Thank you.

  3. I think I’m sunburnt from just looking at your shots. The skies are glorious. I should have worn my sunglasses. I really did not expect Marseilles to be so beautiful! The food sounds scrumptious. 🙂

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