My stay in France was quick but interesting, just four days to see two big cities, but that’s the way I wanted it. France borders with Spain so even I visited some new places I’ve been in France before so I know the element of surprise wouldn’t be big. Moreover France is not a cheap country so I wanted to stay there just time enough to see the 2 cities on my itinerary.
I started in Bordeaux visiting Sainte Croix, taking the pictures I posted last week. The reason for going to Bordeaux was nothing to do with the silk route, simply it was a city I wanted to go for a long time so I added it to my route. The first city with a connection to the Silk route is Rome and the distance between Rome and Burgos is 1817 kilometers, so I had to stop somewhere!
One of it’s corners.
One of it’s streets.
One of it’s squares.
Downtown you also find modern surprises such as the Tribunal of Great Instance by Richard Rogers, the guy who projected the Pompidou center in París.
The cathedral square with long lights from the ground.
Bordeaux is settled by the Garona river near the sea, as I love rivers for my kayaking I always take notice of river details. It’s the river that comes down from the ski resort in the Pyrenees that I visited before starting the trip. There’s another river that comes down from that ski resort also, but that falls into the Spanish side of the mountains, the Noguera Pallares, the most famous rafting river in Spain. The Garona is huge in Bordeaux, there are even transatlantic ships stopping here once in a while. I failed to take a picture to the river so you’ll have to imagine it…
Cristina took me out on the last night in the city, we met in the cafeteria of the Utopia cinema, an old converted church with stone walls and gothic arches. It was a pity not being able to see the actual cinema rooms as they use the rest of the church structure.
Dinner was, under my request, in a creperie, the chicest in town. La fromentine, a place owned by a middle aged woman so eccentric that she has decorated the place with cows, all kinds; pictures, paintings, figures, objects with cows colors and any other thing that resembles a cow in any way… now that I’m thinking about it, there was a black and white dalmata figure in the entrance… that woman is not right.
One of the most interesting things of my trip will be to see the many differences from western to eastern, see how the cultures, faces, languages, customs, cities, landscapes all change, however there’s no need to go that far, the first thing you realize when going from Spain to France is the silence, the streets have less noise, the crowded noise in the bars hardly exists, it is as if people would walk in a stealthy way and as if the conversations would take place with the volume turned down. Probably I noticed it more because I was in Bordeaux as most of the centre is pedestrianized, in Marseilles the cars came back and added some more noise to the environment. Moreover, Marseilles is kind of a different city in France as the French people say, it’s Mediterranean climate makes it have more life in the streets making it a more lively city.
Marseilles captured my curiosity years ago, I’d seen it from one of those daily ferries that goes to Corsica and it looked good.
Marseilles could be described as an ugly city with pretty things, it has a lot of that kind of coastal high-rises that no one understands why they were allowed to be built. It’s not really a place that deserves a visit per se, however it does not have the criminality that made it famous in the 70’s after the oil crisis when unemployment and the crime rate raised together. Here are some pictures so you can decide yourself if you like it.
Picture just arriving at the train station.
Most of the streets in the historic center has no trafic or very little.
has the biggest port in France(and the third largest in Europe) for having such a port, also has the highest immigration rate of the country. The building on the right is the latest building finished by Zaha Hadid in the huge container port. In Rome I´ll go to visit the one that will be her latest finished one. The musseum of 21st cenetury art!
The oldest city in France. One of the alleys in the hill.
Marsei is the oldest city on the country. in the pictuer a ferry getting into the new port. The two fortres used to deffend the entrance of the new old port.
The old port.
I love light houses, all ways take pictures to them even if they are tiny as this one.
Experimental building by the swiss architect Le Corbusier from 1952.
And France went by, I visited places I liked, I had crepes and drank Orangina that are always my “must do” when I go to france. I’m happy for not having skipped France and gone straight into Italy.
There’s just one thing to tell you about France. Pilat, the highest dune in Europe, but that’s something that you’ll have to wait 2 days to view.
Hope you’ve like the story for today, I have a horrible cold with headache and nose blocked so I don’t feel very inspired
Write to you soon