It is interesting to note that almost all the holiday breaks and days off for schools are associated with a religious event in France. For a country that often states that there is a clear separation of church and state…these days off do pose some interesting questions.
I recently returned from a four-day trip to Marseille where I visited my friend Katharine (a fellow assistant who was assigned a 7-month contract, but is still enjoying her time in the country). I had a long weekend because of L’Ascension, so I decided to make a trip out of it. I, again, used the Tours Airport and the infamous RyanAir…the convenience and cost is truly unbeatable.
While in Marseille I was able to take in a different kind of France. Marseille is the third largest city in France (after Lyon, with Paris being the largest), and it is truly a city. There is nothing fancy or Mediterranean-chic about the city; it is no Nice, Cannes, or French Rivera. The people don’t seem to try as hard when they are putting together an outfit, the streets are nowhere near clean, there are no swarms of tourists, and the white, homogenous, French population who might expect is not the normal sight. It is a real city, and that is what I appreciated the most about my visit.
I went bike riding along the Corniche with the city bikes, I had a delicious tajine made by one of Katharine’s roommates, I partied until 8AM, I visited Notre Dame de la Garde (via the tourist train), I made my first gumbo with K2, and I laid out on the beaches of the Mediterranean Sea. I had a great time catching up with K2, discussing our future plans, the problems with our generation (thanks to the NYTimes article “Its Not All About You”), and the ever changing world that seems to be steering itself away from an American-center.
Thanks for a great visit in Marseille! Now…come visit me in Tours?!