“Eternal is everything that is lived for a fraction of a second, but with such intensity that gets petrified and no force can rescue it.” (Carlos Drummond de Andrade).
In the search to see the sea and celebrate my life, I have taken refuge in the south of France. The intense desire to escape a little from Paris, catch a train, to love and feel loved, see new places, experience new tastes, feel the fresh air and, above all, to fascinate my eyes and open my mind for wide horizons; I decided to go to Marseille, on the Mediterranean coast.
Expansive views had a double meaning. In Paris we live and work in petits apartments, we go to tight restaurants, tiny streets, all beautiful, peculiar, but with time, it’s a bit suffocating. I settled in Marseille in a charming apartment with a balcony and a view of 180 degrees on the hill. I met the sea and its endless horizon, joining the sky, forming an extraordinary blue palette.
Marseille, the second largest city in France, also one of the oldest cities in Europe, has the third most important port of European trade. Marseille proved to be calm, rich in its people and holds one of the most beautiful natural landscapes of France: the Calanques.
The Calanques, steep valleys that harbor bays and coves, framed by rocks almost white composed of limestone and other minerals, form pools of clear water, creating a unique scenery and lighting. The Calanques made me even more fascinated by this place we inhabit and we call Planet Earth.
I was blessed to get for first time to the Calanques having traveled the entire city of Marseille, with the wind in my face and on two wheels. A 6-hour bike tour allowed me to brave the city on its shore, in hidden villages, mountains, beaches and parks.
The next day, a second visit in a small boat, took me to Massif des Calanques; fish swimming in clear water around my feet, tiny beaches and more stunning backdrops have cleared my mind.
Notre Dame de La Gare, the symbol of Marseille, on the highest peak of the city, also reveals a surprising view of 360 degrees.
The double meaning of seeing the horizons opened for me with pain and joy.
The return to Paris and the activities that balance my daily life was impacted by the infinite, the ephemeral, the eternal. A single visit to Marseille was not enough, the solitude, while necessary, can sometimes be painful. I decided to return to Marseille the following week to be heated by one of the most valuable thing in life: friendship.
The second visit, in the company of friends, encouraged me to go down the Calanque de Sugiton by the classic way: on foot. A steep 45-minute walk slowly revealed the exuberance of this wonder on earth. A dip in the icy waters was a prize.
Exploring France includes breaking its traditional cuisine. On a beautiful sunny Saturday, we spent a delightful afternoon at a restaurant in Port of Les Goules, and were perfectly received by the staff and their tasty fresh fish. A great opportunity to talk to a local chef and discover the recipe of the traditional fish soup bouillabaisse, consisting of exactly 7 fish and lots of vegetables. Unfortunately, the real soup can be proved only if ordered 48 hours in advance. We were satisfied with a delicious Mediterranean fresh fish, grilled in a banana leaf, in the company of warm people who enjoy celebrating life.
And finally, to finish well with Marseille and the Calanques, we spent the day in Cassis, a charming village which revealed even more amazing views, that included nude bathing in the emerald blue sea.
For more details about visiting the Calanques and the bike tour, read here the article I wrote for the site Conexão Paris.