At the beginning of the year we visited Marseille, which is a port city on France’s southern coast in the Provence-Alpes-Cote d’ Azur region. Marseille is actually the second largest city in France.
While you you can fly directly into Marseille, we flew American Airlines business class from Philadelphia into Paris (Charles De Gaulle) and took a high-speed TGV train to Marseille. I used trainline.eu to book my train tickets, which are less expensive the earlier you reserve them.
We stayed at the AC Hotel Marseille PradoVelodrome. Although I am a Marriott Gold member, I haven’t stayed in a Marriott in quite some time. I was pleasantly surprised to find this property to be new and clean and the staff generally welcoming and friendly. Several staff members gave suggestions of where to eat that were very helpful. Gold members do not have breakfast included at AC hotels. Breakfast was $19 euro and was just ok: a hot station with runny eggs, undercooked bacon, and crepes. There was a bread and charcuterie station as well. The lady who checked me in said I received an upgrade. The room was small but did come with complimentary drinks in the mini-fridge daily. (These were non alcoholic drinks.) The location is a nice part of Marseille, seems quiet and safe. It is literally right next door to the Velodrome stadium and the Prado metro station is nearby so there is easy access to the rest of the city – only a few stops on the train to Vieux Port, Notre Dame, etc. Overall, it was a pleasant 5 day stay and I would return.
We went sightseeing and saw Notre Dame, Les Goudes and the Corniche Kennedy.
We booked a city electronic bike tour one day. It began in the afternoon. Emmanuel showed us the details of the bikes, they have a battery pack that gives you a little extra boost of power when going up hills. Very nice feature that makes for an easy, lovely ride. This feature is adjustable so you set the level of assistance required higher or lower. Once Emmanuel realized we’d already seen a few of the Marseille sights, he adjusted the itinerary so that we did not have to visit some of the places we’d already seen and instead we saw several other famous Marseille sights and had great views of the Old Port along with views of the city and coastal views as well. We were able to stop at a typical Southern French bakery, we visited the African market area with many shops (with goods and spices) with items from Morocco and Algeria. Emmanuel shared very interesting and detailed information all along the way. He even gave us good suggestions for dinner that night and a day trip to Cassis the next day. We absolutely enjoyed our tour and would recommend it for all visitors!
The day after our e-bike tour, we did take the short , thirty minute train ride to Cassis and enjoyed the sights of that coastal town as well.
We really enjoyed the little soap shops with authentic Marseille soaps, the wine, the views and the atmosphere. It is a nice place to visit even in the winter, so I look forward to returning during the warmer weather when you can participate in more water activities.
We took the train back to Paris a day before our return flight home so that we had time to visit Versailles. What an amazing place! Again, we were there in the winter so the fountains and gardens weren’t as pretty as they are in the summer but the place also wasn’t as crowded and it was still an excellent visit.
We stayed overnight at the Hyatt Regency Paris Etoile which was undergoing a renovation at the time. The new rooms are great, the location is right next to the metro station so it is easy to get around the city.
We flew home on American Airlines business class via Dallas (DFW).
To keep it simple, I usually like to serve one signature cocktail when entertaining for the evening. Because I love champagne, I recently setup a self-service champagne bar when hosting game night at our house.
This is an easy, festive, and colorful idea for an evening in, or a special party occasion (maybe a bridal or wedding shower). The idea is you provide the champagne (or in this case, Spanish cava) and extra ingredients that guests can use to customize the taste to their preferences. You can add as many or as few ingredients as you want to the bar.
I kept it pretty simple with just a few items:
- Lime wedges
- Pink rock candy
- White candy pearls
- Fresh strawberries
- Peach puree
Some prefer their cocktails a little sweeter and some prefer tart so it’s nice to have a mix of both. You can also add other liqueurs for an extra kick and flavor (St. Germain would be nice!) Give it a try and enjoy!
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