A LITTLE TOURISM!
Having been promoted to the rank of ‘European Capital of Culture’, Marseilles obviously had to show off a few of the fine pieces in its jewel-case to the visitors in order to confirm – as if that was necessary – this formidable sign of distinction.
The Christmas in Europe programme had of course scheduled a few outings intended for the delegations: firstly during the inaugural parade which allowed the participants to explore the ‘Panier’ quarter, the Old Port and the Museum of Marseilles History. But the real highlight was the MUCEM (Musée des civilisations d’Europe et de la Méditerranée, Museum of the Civilisations of Europe and of the Mediterranean) which was opened very recently and has since become a real must for any tourist worthy of the name. On the afternoon of November 13th we were able to explore the main parts of this unique collection of buildings which gives this quarter of Marseilles a special charm, with the cathedral close by and the carefully restored fortifications. It was enough to make everyone want to come back again for a longer visit.
The church of Notre dame de la Garde looks down over Marseilles and is the symbol of the city. Many of the participants climbed up to the church to get a breath-taking view of the city.
Visit to the Intercontinental Hotel
Led by Bernard Vergier, culinary arts teacher, a small group had the opportunity of visiting the prestigious Intercontinental Hotel near the Old Port. This former Hôtel-Dieu hospital was converted by Jean Nouvel into a five-star hotel; it has nearly 200 rooms and offers moneyed tourists a breath-taking view of Notre Dame de la Garde. It was a highly interesting visit conducted by Baptiste Copeaux, the Intercontinental’s second chef.
Picnic in a ‘calanque’
Again under the supervision of Bernard Vergier, another small group had the chance to escape on the morning of December 13th for a picnic excursion towards the Cassis calanque (‘inlet’) preceded by a visit to the Fontcreuse vineyard (http://www.fontcreuse.com) where the visitors were received by the owner in person. A little later the trippers picnicked at the edge of the famous Cassis ‘calanque’, where they consumed a very small part of the left-overs from the European buffet. Nothing is wasted, nothing is created, everything is transformed!