Norman Foster’s Ombriere. You’re almost under it before you notice it.
After nine months of construction, re-routing of traffic and a rumoured EUR45 million bill, visitors to Marseilles’ Vieux Port can now photograph themselves upside down.
Norman Foster’s Ombriere, a huge flat mirror supported on poles above the terrace in front of the Vieux Port, reflects the colourful fishing boats, the buses, the beggars and hawkers, the school excursions, the petit trains and the visitors who cluster in this hub of Marseillaise tourist life.
I hope this mirror thing doesn’t become a cliche, like the giant ferris wheels sprouting on groovy, go-ahead, ‘wow, look at us!’ city skylines. Continue reading
Marseilles is having trouble in its role as Capitale Europeenne de la Culture 2013.
We get our first sense of this when we call in at the Office de Tourisme and ask for our City Pass Marseille. It’s a museum and public transport card that, according to the website, “…makes it easy for first time visitors by identifying the best things to do in the city and permits to save (sic) money and time.”
Except today, ‘Sorry, Sir, our printer is not working so we cannot make the cards.’ Continue reading
It wasn’t easy to get here, so you might at least look pleased to see us!
“Pardonnez-moi, Monsieur? What do you mean, ‘Complet’? It’s taken us an hour to find the bus stop and another 45 minutes to wait for your bus to come along and now you’re saying you’re full?
How are we supposed to get to Saint-Paul if every bloody bus…Ok, d’accord, Monsieur, you only drive the damn thing. Nice beard, by the way.”
We know there often isn’t a lot of public transport into walled mediaeval villages perched on Provencal hilltops. But Saint-Paul-de-Vence isn’t just any mediaeval village. It’s now a tourist mecca, thanks to the artists, past and present, who have lived and worked there. A lot of us want to see it. Continue reading
Filed under Art, Belgium, France
Many shops may be selling souvenirs or cafe to tourists, but there’s still charm, at least in the non-high season.
It’s hard to avoid making bad puns on this city’s name, and even harder to make them funny in print or out loud.
It was a nice day for wandering with the camera through the nice streets and museums of Nice. Continue reading
Better Homes and Gardens …than ours.
It’s all very well to have money in the bank or, if you’re a Rothschild, to own the bank. But unless you have vision and taste to match your cash, you may blow it all buying something silly, like a string of racehorses or another bank.
Baroness Beatrice Ephrussi de Rothschild (1864-1934) not only had deep pockets and plenty to fill them, but also a passion for travel and an eye for beauty in nature, art and architecture.
We’ve just visited her little pad on Cap Ferrat on the French Riviera. Continue reading
Sun and cafes – Villefranche-sur-Mer.
You have to love Europe. The weather in Amsterdam is cold, grey, wet and miserable. Mevrouw T has a heavy cold. So all we have to do is wake at 4.15am, struggle out to Schiphol Airport, catch a plane to Nice and an hour and forty minutes later here we are, in the sunny south of France.
It’s a toasty twenty degrees, there are people sitting on the terraces, a few brave souls are stripping off to sunbathe and there are even two people swimming. In the sea. No, not us, but it could have been us.
We’ve organised a week’s apartment swap with Muriel and Jean Louis in Villefranche-sur-Mer, on the French Riviera, the Cote d’Azur. From the sound of it alone, you’d assume only the mega-rich could afford it. This way, we can too. Continue reading