Marseilles, first impressions

My list of places to which I wished I hadn’t gone used to read like this:


The revised version as of this week:

1 Marseilles
2 Shanghai

And Marseilles is way, WAY out in front.

I’ve been trying to find out why it’s so filthy. The only thing I can come up with so far, having come here from a spotless Lyon, is that Marseilles is Lyon’s rubbish dump. Ugggh. It’s one of those places where you feel dirty all the time, no matter how carefully you pick your way through the littered streets. It’s in the air.

It is also the only place I’ve been where I feel unsafe all the time. Not least because so many shops have locked doors, you buzz, they decide whether to let you in. I’m not talking about posh shops, just ordinary clothes/shoe shops, for example. And the amount of stuff that’s chained down in stores. The only thing I’ve seen like it is the St Kilda West IGA which has its Aspro Clear in a locked cabinet. Truly I exaggerate not one bit.

We were about to leave a shop a couple of days ago when we heard a fuss outside – two security men trying to chase down a thief. After it settled down we were left wondering if we should now walk in the direction of the thief who evaded capture or the direction from which he came – somewhere thieves hang out. Marseilles is all about rocks and hard places. And then there’s the geography of course.

Something on food here next time.


3 thoughts on “Marseilles, first impressions

  1. it’s a port too of course – so plenty of dubious through traffic I suspect – remember that film -The French Connection I think it was – with all those fearful back streets?


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