Travel: Skip touristy Paris and head to Marseille

For most of the world, France is Paris, perhaps the most romantic city in world pop culture, and Paris is France. But for French people, modern-day Paris is probably the least French place about the country. The second thing the world loves about France is the country's wine regions. He even spends his entire vacation visiting wineries in Bordeaux and Champagne.

But France is home to the museums, churches, and expensive cafes along the Seine in Paris, the Eiffel Tower, the world's most visited monument, or the bubbles and bubbles in the chateaus of Champagne, Bordeaux, and Médoc, which are usually crowded by bus. It's much more appealing than wine tasting. -There are a lot of wine lovers and people who want to enjoy an “authentic French experience”.

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A truly global city akin to New York, Berlin, Amsterdam and London, Paris is home to the country's richest and most successful football club, Qatari-owned Paris Saint-Germain (PSG); It has received the utmost condemnation from most people outside the country. the town's. And what frustrates Parisians the most, apart from the high rent and cost of living, is the fact that Paris is always full of tourists at any time of the year. Many French people who move to Paris to work or study flee the city as quickly and often as possible. This summer, Paris will be busier than ever as the city hosts the Olympic and Paralympic Games.

It would be foolish to ignore local wisdom. It consistently beats Google and influencer video itineraries based on his 72 hours of “extensive research” in the city. Most of that time is probably spent filming content rather than feeling the pulse and pace of the city. So I listened to my friend's advice and took a train south to Marseille on France's Mediterranean coast. Marseille Saint-Charles train station is one of the best places not only to admire the city but also to enjoy the sunset. It's a good reason to stock up on drinks and snacks as soon as you step off the train and witness the magic of prime time, when the Mediterranean skies usually put on a spectacular show. The only place with a panoramic view of the whole of Marseille is the most beautiful place in the city. We visited the Notre Dame de la Garde church, which is located on the highest hill in the city.

France's oldest city, Marseille, is a mix of old and new, and you can tell just by walking around that it's different from Paris. Unlike Paris, which is humid, cold, and crowded, Marseille enjoys good weather and moderate temperatures for most of the year, and the city is less crowded. You don't hear as much English as you do in Paris. All of France loves wine and beer, but the popular drink in Marseille is pastis. An herbal alcoholic drink made from anise, fennel seeds, and licorice, mixed with water over ice. At 40-45% alcohol, this drink is a comforting treat on a warm day.

Marseille brings you closer to nature. Cassis offers great hiking opportunities and great views of the sea and water from the high points. You can also hike, spend time on the beach and swim in the sparkling turquoise waters of the beautiful Calanques National Park. You can spend a relaxing day on the boat while heading from Marseille to the Calanques. If you're short on time, you can drive all this in one day and be back in the city in time for dinner, but you won't be able to get down to most of the beaches or enjoy the ocean.

Back in the city, the busiest area is along the waterfront between the Hôtel de Ville and Vieux Port. Vieux Port metro station in particular is one of the most convenient and fun places to meet friends. Under the spacious mirrored roof of the station's entrance, people dance, bands play and merchandise is sold among hundreds of people excitedly clicking selfies in the shining overhead mirrors. You can see them being sold. Then look out to the water and see luxury boats and yachts bobbing in the marina. This spot has some of the best restaurants and cafes.

Walking along the waterfront, you'll find numerous churches and hotels, but one that stands out is a modern building dedicated to the Mediterranean, simply called Musem. To be honest, I got bored with museums and didn't enter them until my second trip to Marseille. In addition to interesting architecture and excellent art, it offered a respite from the warm afternoon sun. Among the artists, Ai Weiwei's works are also on display.

All of this is fun, but my favorite thing about Marseille is going to Borely Park. Locals love this huge park and often go there to walk, run, and sit, but most of the time they spend time with friends among the greenery, flowers, and ponds, and enjoy food and drinks. The purpose is to chat while drinking.

Marseille is a convenient place to continue exploring the south of France. After a few hours' drive, you'll arrive in the beautiful and legendary countryside of Provence. Walk through fields and country lanes, drive through vast olive groves, and watch as farmers and shepherds spend their days shearing sheep and tending their crops. Provence attracts an upscale crowd who prefer to rent chalets away from the hustle and bustle of Paris. You can head to the stream for a dip or have a picnic on the banks, then return to the village for some shopping and dining before returning to the comfort of your chalet to relax. Further east, you can visit Monaco and Nice. Driving in the opposite direction will get you to Barcelona in about 6 hours.

Port Vieux has great restaurants and cafes. (Adult Photo)

Instead I headed north and stopped in Lyon on my way to Paris. Lyon, divided into concentric rings, is located at the confluence of the Rhône and Saône rivers and is surrounded by mountains with an average altitude of 700 to 900 meters. From the futuristic-looking Confluence Museum to charming fountains and historic buildings like the Roman Amphitheatre and the Lyon National Opera, you'll find plenty of photo opportunities on your itinerary. Lyon is also home to the country's most successful women's soccer team, Olympiad, and is a source of pride for the citizens of Lyon. Another thing they are proud of is the best of French tradition and produce from the north (chicken, meat, cream, butter) and the south (fresh seasonal fruits and vegetables, olive oil, wine). This is a combination dish.

Where else everyday life happens in cafes and bars, in Lyon it happens in their beloved bouchons. Here, start by trying Lyon's famous pike fish quenelle (a dumpling made from minced fish) with the popular salad Lyonnaise, and complement the dish with wine from the nearby Beaujolais region. All this food can be enjoyed while watching young men and women breakdancing beneath the Lyon Opéra or the Hôtel de Ville, admiring the panorama of the city from the top of the Musée de la Confluence, or just strolling along the river. It gives me energy to walk around town and talk. Before I head back to Paris and catch my flight home, I look at the city and get lost in thought.


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how to get there

There are many direct flights to Paris from New Delhi, Mumbai and Bangalore, operated by Air India, Air Vistara, Air France and KLM Royal Dutch Airlines. From Paris, you can reach Marseille and Lyon by plane, high-speed train, Flixbus and Ouibus.

where to stay

New hotel in Marseille in Vieux Port in the center of Marseille

Citadines of Lyon Presqu'ile Lyon


Marseille: Relax in Parc de Borrely, hike and swim in the Calanques National Park, visit Cassis, watch the sunset in Notre-Dame-de-la-Garde, go to Mucem and take a selfie under the mirrored roof of Vieux Port metro station Let's take a picture. Be sure to buy Marseille's famous soaps.

Lyon: Walk along the river to the Confluence Museum, admire the panorama of the city from the museum's terrace, try a quenelle at Bouchon, watch people break dance at the Hôtel de Ville and the Opéra National, and climb the stairs. Go up and head to Lyon. Louville, on the edge of the Croix-Rousse district, offers stunning views of the city.

Provence: Visit the countryside, visit sheep farms, pick olives in olive plantations, stock up on the best olive oils, stroll through the countryside, swim in streams and lakes, enjoy the tranquility with pastis and wine. please. wonderful place.

Shrenik Avlani is a writer and editor. How to do Shivfit, A book about functional fitness.

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