2012 Cathedralquest to France Day 15 Marseille .


Day 15, Monday, September 17


It is hard to believe that we have been in France for 2 weeks.  We are taking a little late afternoon rest now.  I am sitting out on our balcony looking at all of the boats and the Notre Dame de la Garde, on the hillside opposite. (# 16 on map is our hotel) This is a very noisy area with all of the construction/revitalization of the port area taking place.  This morning during our breakfast a pile driver started near the hotel in the water, everywhere there are jack hammers, concrete saws and other loud sounds.

No 16 is our hotel.  No 10 is Notre Dame de la Garde.  No. 8 is St. Victor



Our first experience today was a boat ride.  We had wanted to go to Chateau D’If, the island castle of the Count of Monte Cristo fame. 



It was closed on Monday, so we took a boat trip to Des Iles du Frioul which is about ½ hour out into the Mediterranean.   The ferry boat runs every ½ hour so everyone got off and explored the island, which had a village area with a lot of little places to eat, and a Greek Temple above the main street. There were a large number of  interesting rock formations. Note Notre Dame de la Garde in the background in photo on left.  We walked about for about an hour.  

  We did pass the castle on Chateau D’If on our trip.  We hope to take that trip tomorrow. As we passed throught the exit and entrance to the Vieux Port, we passed two landmarks- the Major Cathedral,(#1 on the map) which we will visit tomorow and Fort St Jean.  

Fort St. Jean defended the north gateway. In the 13th century the Knights of St. John of Jerusalem took possession of the site, developed it and found it St. Jean Chapel. In the 15th century, the large square tower and the light house tower replaced a former tower. In the 17th century, the complex was incorporated into fortifications at the time when St. Nicholas Chapel was built.

When we got back, we were near where we parked our car.  Because we parked ‘in desperation’, we wanted to know if we could find the car, easily.  We finally found the entrance with the elevator and found our car.   We just wanted to be sure where it was when we leave on Wednesday.  We spotted a McDonalds and decided that is what we needed for lunch,we must admit that it did taste good. We want smaller, simpler lunches as the normal French lunch is a big meal, and we want our bigger meal for dinner, not lunch.

After lunch, we followed the map to the Abbey of Saint-Victor.  (#8 on the map) We had wanted to see it because of its association with John Cassian (born 365).  During the Wednesday Lenten services at Saint James, I talked about the “Saint of the Day”.  One Wednesday was John Cassian,who created a monastic order there. 

The Abbey was located down on the other side of the port—and up a long steep street. It was not until 1943 that St. Victor Abbey was awarded the honorific title of Basilica. First built in the third century on tombs of Christian martyrs, including that of St. Victor, martyr of Roman persecutions who died around the year 304, the Basilica is one of the oldest religious monuments in Marseille. Apart from its cultural role, St. Victor has played a very important part in the city's history. In the fifth century St. Jean (John) Cassian and establish a monastery on the martyrs tombs. In the six century, construction of the upper church began and the development of a cult of the martyrs, Saints and the Black Virgin, our Lady of the Confession. The 12th and 13th centuries saw the building of aisles which can still be admired today. The 20th century the city of Marseille and the Ministry of Cultural Affairs undertook the excavation and restoration of the church to his present-day glory .

I went down in the crypt –Kathleen decided it was too many steps.  A lot of interesting tombs were down there. 



Back up stairs, we found the relic case that contains the front of the skull of John Cassian.

There is a ferry boat that crosses the port, which cuts down on the walking, but alas it was not working today.  We had to walk the complete circuit around, back to our hotel. 

 After resting, catching up on writing and the identification of our photos, we started out to find Jack Daniels, we found him last night.  He is hard to find!  We notice that many of the cafes along the street were closed.

Dinner tonight was at Au Bout du Quai which Kathleen had made reservations for months ago.      We chose fish soup (which Kathleen wanted to try), which was served with croutons and cheese.  It was delicious,   then gambas for me and risotto with asparagus and scallops for Kathleen. In other journeys, we have been shy of these many fingered and headed gambas.  But tonight, I decided to tame the gambas, cut off those heads, and enjoy!  They were the biggest “shrimp” we have ever seen!!  We had a bottle of Rose from Provance, a wonderful meal! 


Day 1 - Paris

Day 2 - Sens

Day 3 - Vezelay 

Day 4 - Abbey Fontenay, Semur-en-Auxois, Vezelay -

Day 5 - Beaune

Day 6 - Beaune, Autun, Citeaux, Chateau du Clos Vougeot-

Day 7 - Cluny  

Day 8 - Cluny 

Day 9 - Paray-le-Monial and Clermont-Ferrard

Day 10 - Le Puy-en-Velay 

Day 11 - Avignon 

Day 12 - Avignon to Nimes

Day 13 - Avignon

Day 14 - Marseille

Day 15 - Marseille

Day 16 - Marseille

Day 17 - Marseille to Aigues-Mortes

Day 18 - Carcassonne 

Day 19 - Carcassonne to Toulouse  (posted 10/6/15)

Day 20 - Toulouse

Day 21 - Albi

Day 22 - Toulouse