I first came to France 15 years ago when I did an exchange in high school with my French teacher. We were to have 5 days in Paris plus another two weeks in Marseille, all over Spring Break. It was a small group of us from two levels of French who chose to penetrate French life in the most authentic way possible – in French families. First the French kids came to us after a few days in Chicago. Then we welcomed them into our American lives, took them to our classes with us, and entertained them at other times in god knows what ways the rest of the time. I now look back on it and think how brave my parents must have been to take that on. It’s not easy communicating with a teenager – especially one you’ve just met who barely speaks English. A few weeks later, we had our whirlwind tour of Paris with a teacher who never tired, then headed to the South of France for an experience that would change my life.
Typhaine’s family was naturally very loving and warm, much like my own, so despite being among complete strangers, I loved being with my French family right away. I have since returned to visit them in Marseille, as well as their home in Quimperlé (Bretagne), for one delicious visit after another. Every time I’m there, I fall more in love with the French language, as my French mom speaks perfect French and is always pausing to make sure I’ve understood any lesser known vocabulary or argot provençal she’s just used.
Because I’ve now been to Marseille so many times, I find it enjoyable to let myself just wander and see about new things I may discover. No need to keep returning to the same places is my general feeling, however, there are some beautiful spots – like the beach on the Mediterranean down the street – that I still like to walk along every time.
This Spring I treated myself to a bit of a birthday trip down to Provence, during which I visited Avignon, Montpellier, Isle Sur-la-Sorgue, Aix-en-Provence, and Marseille. The charm of French towns is well-known across the globe, but I’m convinced Provençal towns have a bit of an edge in the charm category. I hope you enjoy this little photo tour of my time in Marseille.