|Nice, Bay of Angels|
|Altar of La Chapelle du Rosaire|
|Lunch in Aix-en-Provence|
|Matisse, The Swimming Pool|
We were unsure if we were up to traveling to Marseilles the next day, but fortunately we decided that we could not miss this possible chance-in-a-lifetime, and went. We were so glad that we did. The second biggest city in France, Marseilles proved to be a relief from all the picturesque French Riviera and Provencal towns that we had been visiting. It was big, bossy and bustling. Walking towards the sortie of the Metro, we could already smell fish. Unlike in Nice, where the old port was separated from the promenade by Castle Hill, the main drag in Marseilles emerged directly out of the old port. Marseilles was less a French city than a Mediterranean one. It bore a relationship to its country in an odd analogy to the one that New Orleans bears to the United States. A place that refuses to be circumscribed by the national narrative.
I really liked Marseilles and wished that we had more time to see it. Of all the places that we visited in the south, we would return to Nice and Marseilles. Much as we enjoyed the old and the picturesque, our hearts are really with the modern and the vibrant. The latter qualities seem to require a certain size. The next day, we took the train back to Paris, then the Metro and the RER to the airport, then the plane to New York, and finally the subway back home. It was a long, long day of travel but still it did not afford enough time to detach ourselves from the dream of France.