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Marseille and Montpellier, happy surprises, who knew?! all served up with Provence --another trip report in pictures

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Aug 5th, 2013, 10:44 AM
  #1
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Marseille and Montpellier, happy surprises, who knew?! all served up with Provence --another trip report in pictures

In November of 2011 I posted a questions--"Marseille--how bad is it really?" Contrary to the responses I was expecting, I got lots of encouragement to give up my long-held biases and book the trip my DH was suggesting we take there in February of 2012. Well we never made that trip but we finally got around to investigating Marseille on a trip we took this past July. We spent 3 days in Marseille then 2 in La Ciotat, 3 in Fontaine de Vaucluse (a place we'd been warned against on this forum but that we enjoyed a lot, especially because of the lovely place we stayed--La Poete), 3 in St. Remy and 3 in Montpellier before flying home from there. Aside from the heat, it was a terrific trip and exploring Marseille and Montpellier, two French cities we'd not thought much about before, was a big part of the reason we enjoyed it so much. Our only disappointment was that the Provence lavender which had been the primary reason for the trip as a whole was not in full bloom while we were there in spite of our best laid plans due to a late winter and cold Spring, but we did get to see some and our delight in our new discoveries of MRS and MPL made up for that small quibble.

So here are pictures from our wonderful trip, captioned, I hope, to provide sufficient information to provide some feel for the places we saw and the food we ate. Unfortunately I must add an apology: Somehow Picasa just won't let me intersperse pix from an album shot with my camera and another shot with DH (Val)'s camera so I am forced to keep our pictures separate--either in totally separate albums for the same city/area or at best in a single album but with all of Val's first followed by all of mine (or vice versa). Unfortunately this doesn't make for a smooth flow of information, e.g. I can't show you Val's pix of the exterior and interior of a restaurant followed immediately by my pix of the food we ate in the place. Rather you'll have to see Val's restaurant pix from one city followed by his pix of another and another and later in the series pick up my pix of the food. Certainly not ideal. Nor is it good to have the amount of duplication this approach seems to force, but the duplication seems to be at least somewhat necessary to provide context for some of the pix that follow. Pretty tedious stuff to read about. I can't tell you how tedious it is to sort through over and over, but enough whining and crying. Without further kvetsching, I present for your viewing pleasure pix from our trip to Marseille, Provence, and Montpellier. I hope you will enjoy them and that they will add to the slowly growing cache of information on this forum about these two relatively unsung places.

Marseille--a city to be explored and enjoyed not feared or shunned

https://picasaweb.google.com/1066089...W3w4L3k5vixgE#

Provence--a fabulous area of France we have long loved and hope to return to again and again

https://picasaweb.google.com/1066089...Pjew6ufqueSFA#

https://picasaweb.google.com/1066089...MfkndLAq6iqBQ#

Montpellier--an unexpected treat

https://picasaweb.google.com/1066089..._56tTWxrT2mgE#
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Aug 5th, 2013, 11:34 AM
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Julie, these are fantastic. We love to be by the water, and dine on seafood. Ypu have opened my eyes to so many more travel locations and possibilities. Thank you for posting your beautiful photos with captions.
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Aug 5th, 2013, 11:36 AM
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Your pictures of Marseille are excellent, Julie, and you got to see a number of things that I did not see. I thought it was fun to see that you took pictures at the same street market that I did.

Both of us need to return there to discover more things.

And naturally, your food pictures are outstanding. Since I generally travel alone, I tend to skip most meals, but when I see the food displays, I do regret it.
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Aug 5th, 2013, 11:50 AM
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Thank you so much for posting your photos, Julie. I've been thinking of Montpellier of 2014, and now, I'll be thinking about it seriously.
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Aug 5th, 2013, 11:59 AM
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Hi Julie!

Fantastic photos. The yogurt and peach I had for lunch is no longer "cutting it" after seeing your food photos. Thanks for sharing.
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Aug 5th, 2013, 12:10 PM
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We are stopping in Montpellier next March; thanks so much for the great pics/report.
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Aug 5th, 2013, 12:39 PM
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Wonderful photos, Julie.
I hope we meet up again one day.
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Aug 5th, 2013, 01:01 PM
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Ah Julie! What great photos. Beautiful scenery and eye appealing food. Thanks for taking us along on your journey.
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Aug 5th, 2013, 01:09 PM
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Thanks for the kind words.

kerouac, i Loved your photo essay report and felt that you had seen so many places in so much more depth than we were, especially the insides of some of the places we only walked by. It's fun to look at someone else's pix that are almost contemporaneous with your own. We enjoyed the square (rectangle really) in front of or behind your hotel. We had a couple of nice meals there. And I see we were both quite taken with the giant upside down mirror at the end of the harbor


cigalechanta, I thought of you as we dined in St. Remy at the Hotel des Images. I think you had stayed there and really enjoyed it but they may have been in a different place further outside the main area of town then. Or is that a different city altogether? One way or the other I'm sure you stayed in some hotel with a film/ movie theme that I thought of when we dined in this place in St. Remy. Have I got all the recollections cockeyed?

pavot and annw, we found Montpellier a really vibrant, youthful city. While there's lots of heritage there, they have incorporated it into a really growing city that just seems to be pushing the envelope everywhere yet not making you uncomfortable. It's pretty unique.
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Aug 5th, 2013, 01:36 PM
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Truly lovely pictures, Julie!
We'll be in Uzes for a week in Oct. and had not thought to include Montpellier among our day trip destinations, but your pictures are making me rethink it!
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Aug 5th, 2013, 01:49 PM
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Good job! In addition to our day in Marseille, mentioned in your original query, we made Montpellier base for local train travel and enjoyed it as you did!

Great shots!
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Aug 5th, 2013, 01:53 PM
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Fantastic! Thanks so much for sharing. Looks like you had great weather; and you certainly seemed to escape the crowds much of the time.
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Aug 5th, 2013, 02:10 PM
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Julie, It was once a movie theatre right on the main street. Did you walk around to see the labyrinth?
You'd never know you were smack in town when
out in the back with the Alpilles over looking you.
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Aug 5th, 2013, 03:19 PM
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Wow! Loved your photos. We are leaving next month for France. After viewing your photos, I can hardly wait to leave. Thanks.
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Aug 5th, 2013, 03:44 PM
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Julie,

When I saw your name, I said “Oh, goody. I am going to sit right down and watch each slide show.”

They were fabulous. Really enjoyed all of those DALI sculptures, especially the elephant. Also loved shots of AIGUES MORTES which I thought one of the most interesting sites in the Camargue. Liked the variety of pics of ABBAYE DE SENAQUE, the quintessential photo op for lavender country.


Needless to say, the food photos were mouthwatering. Not sure exactly what each dish was, but they looked delicious – and let’s not forget the wine, eh?

Be assured that all the time and effort that you and Himself put into these presentations were well worth it.

Merci!
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Aug 6th, 2013, 06:07 AM
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And again I thank you all for your kind words. I hope someday to conquer the duplication and mixing problem--or that Picasa will fix whatever prevents me. Still don't know if it's me or them. Anyway, we'll keep photoing and as long as the pix bring some of the rest of you enjoyment, I'll keep trying to put the albums together.

Next up a trip to Cape Cod and Maine and then in September the Italian Lakes and Venice.

cigalechanta, Yes we marveled at the amount of open space that adjoined Hotel des Images and enjoyed watching a couple of toddlers chase each other around and fall down in the slightly rolling lawn. Unfortunately I did not emember about the labyrinth and so did not see that. Oh well, next time.

latedaytraveler, we did not have as much time as I would have liked in Aigues Mortes having spent much of our day in Saintes Maries de la Mer. Would love to return. I have resolved to take better notes on future trips so I can do a more complete job of describing the food pix.

To those planning trips to Provence, Marseille and Montpellier--I envy you.
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Aug 6th, 2013, 06:31 AM
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We knew! We spent 4 days in Montpellier in Sept. 2013 and 3 days in Marseille in February.

We really liked Montpellier and found the university vibe fun and the enjoyed the seaside aspect to the city.

We did a wonderful walking tour with a Marseillais who spoke to me in English and to whom I spoke to in French; what was to be a 2 hour tour turned into an entire day!
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Aug 6th, 2013, 09:25 AM
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Julie, I think that you do a great job of describing the place names of those buildings/towns/ seascapes you visit in detail.

The food speaks for itself.

Quick question - where do you expect to stay on Cape Cod?
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Aug 6th, 2013, 11:13 AM
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During my little trip in July, I had to choose between Les Saintes Maries and Aigues Mortes because I knew I wouldn't have enough time for both. Frankly, I am very happy that I chose Aigues Mortes, because when I think about it, Les Saintes Maries always disappoints me. It seems like a great site in theory, but there is not really much to see, and the beach is pretty blah. However, I hope to go there some day during one of the gypsy festivals if I can only figure out where to park during such an event.

If anybody missed my photos of Aigues Mortes (not that it would be a tragedy), here is the link: http://tinyurl.com/aigues
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Aug 6th, 2013, 05:42 PM
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latedaytraveler, we're staying in Provincetown. We will fly into Boston, overnight there and take the ferry to Provincetown and stay two nights. That way we can be there without a car. turns out it's Carnival in Provincetown while we're there so it will be even more crowded than usual, but at least we won't have a parking problem. I've got my dining reservations and got my hotel back in March so at least we'll have a roof over our heads and somewhere to eat if we can get through the crowds to get there.
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