Bain de Soleil vs. Coppertone

When my girls were younger, our favorite vacation spot was the Sandestin Golf & Beach Resort in Florida. For a few years, the resort ran a marketing campaign with this slogan: “It’s a beautiful day in Sandestin!” Sunny skies filled with cotton ball clouds, white beaches, blue-green water — everyday was a beautiful day in Sandestin!

Saturday in Marseilles brought that old slogan to mind. Sunny skies filled with cotton-white clouds, mesmerizing blue-green water and small, sandy beaches. I suspect almost every day in Marseilles is a beautiful day. My days here certainly have been.

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That said, it’s hard to beat the Florida Gulf Coast beaches. The beaches I’ve seen here on the Mediterrean, both in Marseilles and Nice, pale in comparison.

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Local beach in Marseilles.

Of course, Marseilles, like Nice, isn’t really a beach town like those dotting the Florida coasts. The vibe is completely different. Think Bain de Soleil as opposed to Coppertone.

Most of the coastline is rocky and the Mediterrean is chilly here in France even during the summer months. I watched in amazement as three swimmers in wet suits made their way down the shoreline in some very choppy water this afternoon. Great day for sailing…but swimming? Not so much.

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Can you spot the swimmers?

Marseilles is for those who like to look at the water or skim across it under sail. I’ve seen lots of sailboats and virtually no motor boats, except for those shuttling tourists. I did run across one picturesque, little harbor filled with small motor boats in Anse des Auffes.

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Beaches and swimming aside, Marseilles is an interesting mix of big city life and Med resort. Who wouldn’t like to call this villa home even for a week?

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La maison de vos rêves.

Ah well…I can dream. Meanwhile, John found a park bench he would love to call home. Quite a view!

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John's favorite park bench in the entire world.

I read that the golden years of Marseilles occurred in the 19th century. That may be true, but it appears this ancient port town is making a big come back in the 21st.

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I certainly wish I could linger a while longer in the Mediterranean sun. But, it’s onward to Toulouse.

Au revoir, Marseilles!

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