Shopping and Relaxing at the Beach
What would be a visit to a big city without a long extended shopping tour? Of course, Marseille offers all possibilities to the shopping fans to get back to the hotel with full shopping bags. And of course, a visit to the beach is also a must during the visit of a Mediterranean city, not least in order to relax from the exhausting walks through the city.
Beaches in Marseille
Those who drive to Marseille actually do not thing on having a bathing holiday. But due to the reason it is not possible to capture the whole city in one day, during the second or third day, one probably has the wish to get refreshed at the Mediterranean sea. And of course, the inhabitants of the big city spend their leisure time during the week-ends preferably on the beach and in the sea.
By turning from the old harbour in southern direction, one drives alongside the coast at the Promenade de la Corniche du President John F. Kennedy (Imagine you live there and you give your address to somebody...) on a quite boring boulevard that does not offer anything except a lot of traffic up to the big leisure area of the city.
These are the beaches Plages du Prado, where one can also get to through the same-named Avenue du Prado by coming from the north, where the inhabitants of Marseille cavort on the week-ends. At these beaches, everything is available except some parking places and cheap refreshments. If one is so lucky to find a parking place, it is very expensive. Maybe this is the reason why on Saturdays and Sundays, so many cars with a plate of Marseille are on the way in direction to Cassis.
The beaches are really huge; there is enough space for everybody. But the way to there and the searching for a parking place are so annoying that one does not really get recovered by visiting those beaches. From the Vieux Port, there are also buses driving to the beaches regularly. They are also not faster due to the traffic jams, but at least one saves the disturbing search for a parking place.
Shopping in Marseille
Those who go shopping in Marseille will first walk up the Canebière at the left side and walk it down again at the right side. The boulevard of the city extends right from the Quai des Belges for approximately one kilometre up to the church Les Réformés. Today, the Canebière is not only a main shopping mile but also a main road of the city; the noise of the cars and buses is partly deafening. But there are all kinds of shops, starting from a big department store up to a small boutique.
The Canebière did not get its name because it is somehow related to beer, but the name's origin are the big cannabis plantations that were arranged in the medieval times at the north of the city, in order to satisfy the demand of the ships for hemp for making hawsers.
At the lower end of the Canebière, the Rue Breteuil continues southwards, where one will find numerous good shops. Those who prefer some more posh and expensive shops can turn from the Canebière into the Rue Saint Ferréol. There, one can shop unhurriedly. But most of the times, I only made some window shopping, as the prices in these popsh shops are extremely high.
For those who prefer to buy practical things I recommend the Centre Bourse. It is a huge shopping mall that offers from clothes to perfumes and sports articles up to a chemistry everything what a human being needs for living. A big parking place whre one can get lost makes also possible to go for shopping in the own car.
Copyright: Patrick Wagner, www.tourist-guide.biz