Paris, France

Nighttime in France

Nighttime is the day’s way of saying goodbye. Reminding us that yet another day of our lives has passed and it is time to rest before a new day begins. I love watching the color of the clouds and sky as night begins to fall over the mountains. It is my favorite time of day and brings me so much peace and reflection.

“Clouds come floating into my life, no longer to carry rain or usher storm, but to add color to my sunset sky”. –Rabindranath Tagore

Vanoise National Park, FRANCE

Nightfall in Vanoise National Park, Savoie France.

Vanoise National Park, FRANCE

“The sky grew darker, painted blue on blue, one stroke at a time, into deeper and deeper shades of night.” ― Haruki Murakami, Dance Dance Dance

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Le Vieux Port, Marseille France

A Room of one’s own in Marseille’s Vieux Port

Marseille. The oldest city in all of France renown for le Vieux Port and its fisherman has recently become the culture capital of Europe and it shows. Restaurants and cafes dot the Vieux Port affording gorgeous views of the Notre Dame de la Garde that overlooks the city.

Our hotel, the Residence du Vieux Port was the perfect place to base ourselves for our stay in Marseille. Strategically located along the Vieux Port, we were walking distance to restaurants, nightlife and shopping along La Canebière, the historic street in the old quarter of Marseille leading to the Vieux Port. But the best part of all about our hotel was the view off the balcony.

Try a room with a view like ours located along the boardwalk of the Vieux Port for watching the sun set and morning strolls to admire the fisherman selling the daily catch. A gem of a city that has obviously found its place in European culture.

The view from our room was beautiful at any time of day…

Le Vieux Port, Marseille France

Marseille's Fish Market

Marseille’s Marché aux Poissons

Anyone who has even been to Marseille knows about its beloved Marché aux Poissons (fish market). The oldest and second largest city in France, Marseille was founded in 600 BC by the Greeks and became one of the most important port towns along the Mediterranean Sea. Given its prime location and wonderful harbor came a long-held tradition of fishing. The Marché aux Poissons has been around for centuries and is the best place around for fish lovers to buy the freshest seafood in France.

Marseille's Fish Market

Le Panier Marseille

Getting lost in the streets of Marseille’s Le Panier

Perhaps the most picturesque place in all of Marseille is the lovely “Le Panier” district.  One of the oldest parts of town founded by the Greeks over 2,600 years ago, Le Panier is known for her charming narrow, paved streets and steps that curve up and down the quaint hillside north of Marseille’s Vieux Port.

Le Panier Marseille

The enchanting Le Panier, Marseille’s Old Town

Les Calanques de Cassis

Touring the Calanques of Cassis

One of the highlights of any trip to Cassis is a must-see tour of the spectacular Calanques. Like Norway’s steep-cliff fjords, the jagged creamy-white calanques dotting the Mediterranean coast of Provence are a sight to see.

Following our delicious lunch of Salade au Chèvre Chaud paired with tart, fruity Vin de Cassis (one of the best wines in all of Provence) at an outdoor cafe along the lovely harbor of Cassis, it was on to our tour of the world-famous Calanques. The Calanques are steep-walled inlets that have developed through time along the Mediterranean coast. The largest, most popular stretch of calanques lies between the coast of Marseille and Cassis. This range stretches for 20 kilometers long and a narrow four kilometers wide. Arguably the most beautiful stretch as well, the wide, rugged and gorgeous “Massif des Calanques” is made primarily of creamy white limestone.

It is very easy to get a tour of one of Provencal France’s most spectacular sites. Alongside the harbor is a variety of tour boats that will take you out to anywhere from three to nine or more calanques. We chose the “Circuit Exploration: 5 Calanques” which was a 65-minute tour of the five top calanques (Port Miou, Port Pin, En Vau, l”Oule and Devenson).

Cassis is a jumping off point to the calanques. Many boats offer tours from the harbor to the calanques.

Cassis is a jumping off point to the calanques. Many boats offer tours from the harbor to the calanques.

Notre Dame de la Garde Marseille

Marseille’s Notre Dame de la Garde: The Best View in Town

Perched high above the city of Marseille lies the crowned jewel The Notre Dame de la Garde which affords the most spectacular 360 degree view that can be found in all of Provence. Founded on the site of a small chapel built in 1214 overlooking Le Vieux Port of Marseille, the Notre Dame de la Garde is the most majestic basilica in the region and can be seen standing prominently from nearly every street in the city. Literally translated as “Our Lady of the Guard“, “La Bonne Mère” or “Good mother” as she is lovely called, is as symbolic to Marseille as the Eiffel Tower is to Paris.  Locals have believed for centuries that she watches over the city and protects its inhabitants.

Marseille Vieux Port

Dramatic view of the Notre Dame de la Garde which dominates over the city of Marseille.

Vieux Port at Sunset.

Room with a view: Marseille’s Magnificent Vieux Port

At the end of April, we traveled via TGV south from Paris to the Mediterranean town,  Marseille. The second largest and oldest city in France, Marseille has experienced a dramatic rebirth from a rather banal port city to a vibrant, cultural mecca in line with any of Europe’s major cosmopolitan cities.

View of Vieux Port

Room with a view of Vieux Port and Notre Dame de la Garde

I was curious to see Marseille again as it had been a very long time. Twenty years ago I wanted to faire un stage thus spent the summer as an intern at a French business after graduating from university. I honestly do not have many fond memories of my time there. I loved the region of Provence surrounding Marseille yet found the city to be dirty, uninspiring and relatively bland. After hearing so much fanfare about Marseille and what a magnificent city it has become, I decided to give it another whirl and I was not the slightest bit disappointed in what I found.

In Marseille, I found a pell mell of culture and electricity that other cities would die to have just a sliver of. In a nutshell, Marseille had come to life with a pizzazz and heartbeat that pulsates the city like a radiant shower of gold.

Sailboats at Vieux Port

The lovely sailboats of the Vieux Port.


Bon Voyage! A week in France….

“Above all, watch with glittering eyes the whole world around you because the greatest secrets are always hidden in the most unlikely places. Those who don’t believe in magic will never find them.” – Roald Dahl


Today I’m leaving for France and I’ll be honest, I can hardly contain my excitement, anticipation and joy. France holds a special place in my heart. I lived there twenty years ago twice, once in Paris as a student at the Sorbonne and the next year in Marseille doing a business internship at the age of 22.

I blossomed in France. I became a woman. The world was at my footsteps and I will always look back at my time in France as one of excitement, discovery, growth and joy. It was one of the best times of my lives, yet thankfully I have many other times that have also qualified for equally as great.

This trip will also be extremely special because not only am I going to revisit all of my most favorite, memory-ladden places, I will also be taking this trip with two extremely special people in my life: My mother and my sister.  Looking back now, although we have traveled a lot as a family I don’t believe we have ever taken a trip just the three of us.

Meanwhile, my wonderful dad is coming (in the place of my mother who has graciously watched my children for the last eight years while I’ve traveled with my dad) to help “babysit” the kids while my husband works. Should be an interesting time. I’ve already typed up five pages of detailed instructions. Looking over at the list, it is no wonder I’m always tired!

While I’m away, I am going to try my hardest not to blog. Instead, I’m going to focus on soaking everything in…the beauty, the architecture, the food, the people, and lovely fantastic Spring in Paris and Provence. I am convinced I will beat my record of 800 photos in a week. What do you think? I’m thinking it will be over a thousand.

So in the meantime, while I’m away, if you are missing my blog you can keep abreast of my pictures and trip via two other sites that I will be updating. You can follow me along on facebook and Instagram where I’ll be posting some of my favorite pics….

Thirdeyemom on Facebook

Thirdeyemom on Instagram

Here is a sample of my site…I’ve become a little addicted to Instagram lately as I love looking at photos so if you know any good ones to follow or you have an account, please let me know.

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I will also try to post one photo a day from my trip on my other photoblog, thethirdeyeworld. Thethirdeyeworld is the sometimes ignored and overlooked little sister of thirdeyemom. If you haven’t checked it out before, please feel free to do so and subscribe!

Sadly, this blog will be left alone with no posts until I get back! I promised myself I wouldn’t waste anytime inside my hotel room writing a blog post when I could be out enjoying France. So stay tuned! 🙂

A bientôt!