Tuesday, 3 January 2017


What a fabulous city!   I hope the pictures from around the city, the harbour, flower market, and the incredible scenery from the boat cruise I did the other day helps give you a bit of the flavour of Marseille!

Thursday, 5 January 2017

Musée Des Docks Romains

This small, but fascinating museum traces the activity of Marseilles as a port thru the ages.  First established as a port by the Greeks in the 6th century BC, they have artifacts dating from the Greek time, to the 4th century AD, at the end of the Roman Empire.

I loved the depiction of how the port and warehouses would likely have appeared, and how the goods, including olive oil, wine, grain etc., would have been stored.

There is an impressive collection of terra cotta containers on display, along with weights & measures, the remains of a boat, and a large collection of coins.

They also have a chart indicating what people earned, and what products cost. I do not know what a  * sesterces * was worth, ...but...

  • A farmer earned 4 / day
  • A simple legionnaire  2.46 / day
  • A shop worker  1 to 2 /day
  • A financial administrator 164 / day..and
  • A Proconsul 2,793 / day


On the expense side..

  • A tunic cost  15
  • 9 litres of grain cost  3 to 4
  • A pig  20
  • A mule  520
  • And a slave  2000.


There is also a really interesting display of old photographs from the early 1900 s...many taken in the Panier district where I am staying, and some obviously from the docks.

Hope you like the pics...

Saturday, 14 January 2017

The Musée d'Histoire de Marseilles & Marseilles Museum of Modern Art

The Museum of the History of Marseilles is part of a modern downtown shopping centre because, as they were breaking ground for the new mall, they discovered the incredible artifacts that now reside in the museum!

There are significant portions of ships dating back to the 5th and 6th century BC.  From the parts recovered they can accurately reconstruct the size and shape of these trading ships. I loved the animated depiction of the ship with its hold full of the containers of wine, olive oil, grain etc approaching the Marseilles docks.

Many beautiful artifacts dating back to those times have been recovered from the sea, including a charming little seahorse, a gold bracelet (many of these were designed so that pieces could be broken off to use as payment for other goods) and the figure of a child.  There are lovely and surprisingly intact pieces of pottery, and mosaics, a very odd looking bird figure and some gracefully carved horse’s heads.

And then there are Veronica’s favorites ... the bones ... or ashes, as the case may be...skeletons found with "goods" to take with them on the journey,  ashes doubly protected by a glass container inside a terra cotta one, and a sad tiny child’s coffin.

The Museum of Modern Art is modest in size, but has an impressive collection, including works by Picasso, Magritte, Dali, Goya and Rodin.

Many artists have been inspired by the local landscape including Cezanne.   There is a “Painter’ Walk"  that I am hoping to do .... but only if I get some warmer weather. We have had temperatures around 8 to 10, but with the very cold Mistral winds it seems much colder!

Hope you like the pictures!

Thursday, 26 January 2017

Aix-en-Provence, The Granet Museum & The Jean Planque Collection

One of the wonderful things about Marseilles is its proximity to many other charming towns in southern France.   High on that list is Aix-en-Provence, where Paul Cezanne was born in 1839, and died in 1906.  “When you are born there, it's hopeless, nothing else is good enough.” That is how he summed up his feelings toward Aix-en-Provence and the surrounding area, which he painted with such love. Picasso called him “the father of us all",    ie. of the impressionists, and the art movements to follow.

The Granet Museum which houses about a dozen of Cézanne’s works was originally the priory of the Church of St. Jean de Malte. Built in 1270 by The Hospitaliers of St. John of Jerusalem it was a hospice for pilgrims. In Cezanne's youth it was an art school where he was awarded second prize for drawing!  Today you can see his portrait of Emile Zola, (a childhood friend), landscapes, still life with pears, a portrait of his mother, and other works.   The museum there are also works by Picasso, Paul Klee, and many other artists, including some interesting sculptures.

Cézanne also spent time in L'Estaque just outside of Marseilles, where he worked and lived intermittently.  You can take a city bus to that small fishing village and walk what is known as The Painter's Path, treading in Cézanne’s footsteps,  passing the house where he stayed, and enjoying the views that he captured.

The other Art Gallery in Aix is the Jean Planque Collection.  As the collection is included in the price of the ticket to the Granet, I was inclined to think it would be a less impressive gallery. I was astounded and thrilled to find an extensive array of Picasso, Monet's (including a winter storm scene that is wonderful), and many other artists.

It was extraordinary to be able to see so many fabulous works of art in such a beautiful, small venue. ....there are pictures.

Photos: January 01: Marseilles
Photos: January 02: Marseilles
Photos: January 03: Marseilles
Photos: January 04: Marseilles
Photos: January 19: Marseilles
Photos: January 24: Marseilles
Photos: January 30: Marseilles