On a recent trip to France we wanted to know what to do in Marseille ?. In a nutshell we found lots of interesting places and most that were free and all within a small radius of each other.
The Metro in Marseille is easy to get around. Therefore we could cover a great deal of ground both by foot and by Metro. The metro only has 2 rail lines the Blue and Red or 1 and 2.
We stayed near the Castellane metro station which is on the metro red line as shown in the picture above. When we arrived at the main bus/train station at Saint Charles, the metro line was easy to find. It was also very cheap at a few euro’s ( 3.40 at time of writing). As you can see in the above picture it is only 3 stops from the main st Saint Charles Marseille bus station to Castellane where we were staying.
So what to do in Marseille?
We first went to the Vieux port by metro and as the metro arrives directly at the port it was therefore no hassle. The vieux port or old Port provides wonderful views of the Marina and also the Notre Dame. The Notre Dame sits impressively in the distance high on a hill. The great Madonna on top of the Notre dame glistens in the sunshine. Known Also, to the French as La Bonne Mere and translated to English as the ( “the good Mother”).
The Famous Vieux Port !
Walking along the path or Quay du port in the north side of Vieux port which is consequently the nerve center of Marseille. There are lots to see and do and it is always buzzing day or night, as a result it is alive with vibrancy. By walking down the port toward the end of the bay you will come across the Saint jean fort in which houses the Mucem or museum.
When looking over to the north side of the bay you can see fort st Nicolas both being fortification and built-in 1660 by louis XIV. The earlier structures owe their past to the crusaders and the knights Hospitaller.
Inland and opposite the fort sean Jean is the Saint-laurent church constructed from pink limestone, acquired from the la Couronne quarry and is a rare remnant of the Roman Provencal style of Marseilles. Just around the corner from the church is the Marseille cathedral and the structure dominates the skyline.
Panier district !
Turning right and away from the Marseille port you will come across one of the old town areas know as the Panier . Panier is a lovely district with its meandering walkways and it’s noteworthy and interesting art area. Full of great artists and probably with some of the most amazing graffiti we have seen. (except for Banksy of course ). We loved this area !!
Sean Jean fort !
The Sean Jean fort at the bay entrance towering over the vieux port has amazing views over the marina, the boats and also the Notre Dame. The Notre Dame is viewable in the distance perched up high almost kissing the clouds.
It was in the Sean Jean Fort, which is free to enter that we watched a video on the history of Marseille starting with how Marseille began some 2600 years ago. Especially relevant was the explanation in detail why and how the Greeks colonised the city around 600 BC. The video brought the area and city to life and was very informative. The Sean jean fort also has a square tower and we walked up the steps known as the Tour du Roi Rene, there are 154 steps, so not for the faint hearted.
It has amazing views over the port and also the Notre Dame and views of Abbaye de Saint Victor on the south side of the port.
NOTRE DAME !
Notre Dame in Marseille is a must visit, towering over the city of Marseille with great views of all the major sites of the city. Steeped in religion and Catholicism. we walked from Castellane Metro along the Boulevard Vauban and up a fairly easy walk but not wheelchair friendly ! (it is a hill). The madonna and child glisten in the sunlight made of gilded copper and encased in gold leaf and shimmering high above. The Notre dame De la Garde sits on a limestone outcrop and built where there was once a fort, part of the spur of the fort can still be seen today. The visit rewards most of all with stunning views across Marseille and the basilica is place of pilgrimage.
As we were staying at the Residence Meublee services it was an easy walk to Notre Dame and only took around 15 minutes to meander up the hill. It is easily viewable on the walk.
To look at the video of Residenc meublee services please visit here !! . It is a 5 minute walk from the Castellane Metro station so very accessible and has self catering to keep the cost down. It is a no frills and fancies place but its clean, well located, great security and the bed is comfy.
So what to do in Marseille, walk, talk, eat peruse the art areas and so much more. It is a city that is easy to navigate and steeped in history !!
Dancing, The buses, and Cezanne !! Aix en Provence things to do!
Recently we made a trip to Aix or X as is the most commonly know pronunciation. As Usual, we wanted to find, in Aix en Provence things to do. We generally don’t do a great deal of research but our interests include painters, architecture, and dancing. To name just a few interests!!.
We found lots to see and do in the small town (City) and it is a lovely place just to meander through the streets. Whilst doing just that, we found many places to visit just on foot. The Cours Mirabeau is a great boulevard in X and runs down the main center of the city. It is famous due to its many cafes and boutique shops and also the pretty moss-covered fountains. Perfect for people watching which is what the French just Love to do !!
We are always on the look-out for Luxury hotels Scotland, and when we found the Roxburghe Hotel. We were not disappointed !!!. located on George street and a stone’s throw away from princess street and almost next door to Edinburgh Castle. The hotel is ideally located. We were so close we could see Edinburgh castle from the window in the hotel !!
East Midlands Trains
We love to travel by train and the East Midlands trains have it covered. They have a network from Derby right through to London. We have traveled first and also second class and both are just fabulous. They have always been on time and the quality or should I say standard is just superb. There is comfortable seating and the service is very efficient.
When we booked through the train website we were able to get a great deal. It does take a bit of time ferreting around and juggling timings etc but we found that we could get an outbound First class train ticket and a second class return for a better price than a second class return and the first class at the same price is most definitely a bonus.
We got to the train station in plenty of time and as we had pre booked and paid, it was a matter of going to the self-service ticket machine. First of all the procedure entails entering your original payment details, I.e the MasterCard and booking reference sent originally by email. You need have to have both of these parts of information at hand so as to print the pre-paid tickets out. The process is very simple.
To the first class lounge !!
On obtaining the tickets you can make your way to the first class lounge on the platform to wait for the train to arrive. They have an intercom on the outside of the lounge and once you press the button, and since you can’t get in without showing the ticket to the ticket office. They will ask to see the tickets which you show up to the web cam and voila you can now enter the lounge.
The lounge is comfortable and has tea and coffee-making facilities and also some snacks. (yum yum)….. We had some biscuits and some crisps couldn’t resist !! even if my hips say no No No. There are also papers to read, just in the off chance you get bored.
First class carriages !!!
When the train arrived we went to the first class carriage and the first thing you notice is the lovely leather seats that recline slightly. There is also free wifi connection (especially great for the business traveler ) The second class has wifi but you need to pay additional through your phone online.
Once the train starts the snacks cart arrives offering tea, coffee and soft drinks plus biscuits, nuts or chocolate. This is not the only time it seems and quite honest I am glad I wasn’t on a diet that day. It is very tempting to keeps saying yes to chocolate !!., They do also come around about 4 times in a trip that takes just over an hour well what can I say, it’s like piggy heaven ha ha !!!
We traveled back from London on the second class carriage and although it was minus the added extras of wifi, drinks and snacks. The trip was on schedule and it was a clean and a comfortable journey. We always book in advance time permitting and pre book our seats. This is so that we don’t get any nasty surprises such as a busy day and limited seating. Well with that being said there is only one parting saying
Where to Eat in Peebles
We have fallen in love with Peebles market town, it has some great places to dine and we have only scratched the surface. we are always on the look-out for where to eat in Peebles on our many visits.
1. The Prince of India (first visit)
We first tried The Prince of India which has an Indian, Bangladeshi menu and the food was superb ( we even went back on a subsequent visit)
lance had the mixed grill which in his words was delicious ( I’ll take his word for that). I had aloo gobi which is cauliflower and potato in Indian curry spices. I also had the mutter Panneer, which is an Indian goats cheese with peas in a rich curry gravy yum yum. Could eat some right now. As accompaniments we had a Peshawar nan, tastily filled with spices and raisins inside nan bread. We had a bottle of Stoneburn wine (Sauvignon blanc) which was a lovely subtle crisp wine which went down well with the spicy food.
Lovely Stoneburn wine crisp and dry !!
Great food but it is a little on the expensive side !! This is the most we have ever paid for an Indian dining experience in the Uk.
2. Mercat View ( second visit and the question again was, where to eat in peebles?
The Mercat view is a semi hidden gem being located next door to the John buchan museum. Getting inspiration from Mr Buchan, you feel you are climbing 39 steps to the restaurant but well worth it. The restaurant has good views over the high street and is very nicely decorated. They support local artists and as a result have some lovely art works displayed on the walls, which we thought was a nice added touch.
Mercat view inside restaurant Peebles town !!
The food was superb, fresh and all home cooked. We started with the Nachos and even these were hand-made so really fresh and a treat from the pre-packaged nachos. I had the vegetable stack as a main and although good, could have had more vegetables than the mostly aubergine, and lack of any other veg !!.But the flavor was there.
Vegetable aubergine Pie tasty !!
My partner had the Steak and Stilton pie with chips and vegetables, which in his words was lorvvvvvelly !!. so I guess it was really very good !! ha ha.
Steak and stilton pie Yum yum !!
To top the night off I had a chocolate brownie, which was lip smacking good and oh so gooey yum yum !!. ooh could eat some now just thinking about it.
Choc Brownie yum Yum !!
3.The county Inn
We are not really into the franchise style pub dining experience, but we decided to try the county Inn as they had a fantastic offer on.
County Inn Hotel peebles town
The offer was so good we forgot to take pictures of food, Oh that and the fact Scotland was playing Poland in the football. The deal was 2 rump steaks, chips and peas for £ 19.99 including a bottle of house white ( we normally pay around that just for the wine). As I am not a fan of rump steak but I do love chips. I ordered a macaroni cheese and as I would normally order chips I didn’t need to. I therefore had the chips and my carnivorous partner ate 2 rump steaks (Henry the 8th anyone ha ha). I also ordered peppercorn sauce to go with the steak and had that on my chips delish!!.
Inside the county inn Peebles town
The waitress did laugh when she came with the dishes and said ” well you guys certainly worked the system”. I thought to myself it’s the Scottish coming out in me. Well I am a Celt even if I am not Scottish. We stayed on after we ate the amazing food, as it was quiz night. In our true style and form, we were awful !. Just glad that we were alone !! oh the peer pressure !
The food was surprisingly Very good and we would definitely go back again.
4 The Tontine hotel
Another place in where to eat in Peebles town was the Tontine, on the outset we thought it maybe a little expensive and we passed it a few times. The Tontine is a lovely hotel and very classy. To look at the hotel itself it is not that inspiring but on entering you feel completely different decorated to a very high, modern standard and is really very plush!!.
The staffs are also very highly trained and sharply dressed ( very dapper). The food was superb!!!. We ordered a wine labelled First Dawn another Sauvignon blanc which was light crisp with gooseberry notes, went down very well.
Beef Lasagne !!
I had the lasagna which and it was cooked to perfection and my partner had the borders beef and Broughton ale pie which was delicious ( I know because I tasted some, yum yum)
5 The oven Door
Last but not least was the Oven door, this is a little hidden Gem of a cafe that we found down one of the allies off the main peebles high street. Very warm and cosy with a real mumzy feel to it.
Superbly decorated with flowers and quaint homely pictures. The old oven bakers door and oven is still in the building and has been polished and blackened to a high standard of the days of old. The atmosphere is very welcoming and was quite busy even though it seemed tucked away.
So if you are looking where to eat in peebles? I hope this helps a little. lip smacking good food !!
Friars carse four poster bed, a Very romantic spot !! or you can Fish !!
Friars carse, Auldgirth is a 19th century country house set within a fantastic location in the heart of Dumfriesshire. The hotel has a very olde worldly feel to, so it’s like walking into an old house of days gone by. In the day when houses like these were almost always owned by the Lord or Laird and has an enchanting nostalgic feel. The oak wood paneling and decor have kept that solid strength of character. It reminded me of a hunting lodge that has now been softened by the touches of flowers and colour. Then of course there is the friars carse four poster bed that adds to that romantic feeling.
We stayed in the friars carse four poster bed room and jacuzzi. I think this is probably the best room in the house, so to speak and is their honeymoon suite. It has fantastic views over the tree-lined river Nith. The friars carse four-poster bed and venue are very popular for weddings, need I say more : )
Known as a fisherman’s paradise with easy walking distance to some of the best fishing in Dumfriesshire. You can catch grayling, brown trout and also sea-trout. Many have even been lucky to catch a Scottish salmon, in the one mile private fishing of the nith directly outside the hotel.
Robert burns the famous Scottish songwriter and poet visited the Friars carse frequently and was a regular house guest. It was at this hotel that a famous drinking competition took place in the whistle, restaurant. Robert burns was a spectator to this event and later went on to put it into verse.
Robert burns home located only one mile and another of his regular haunts was the burns hermitage located in the grounds of friars carse. It was in the burns hermitage when he stayed that he wrote on one of the windows with a diamond-pointed pen ” to the memory of Robert Riddell”. The then owner of Glenriddell, the place changed name to friars carse in 1895 when new owners purchased it.
There is a trail named after Robert Burns that goes from the friars carse hotel to Ellisland farm ( home of Robert Burns) taking in the burns hermitage, and is known quite rightly as the burns walk.
Ellisland Farm !!
When arriving at the Ellisland farm you can visit the museum or walk around the farmhouse. The tour is fantastic and the walls are also brought to life by fabulous portrait paintings of Robert Burns. As you walk around the farmhouse you feel a sense of the tranquility in which Robert Burns loved so much. His desk is in the library and has a beautiful view of the Nith river.
In the library you can also view some of his legendary and famous works, such as ” Tam o Shanter” and the ” wounded hare” many of these works being written while in the quiet observation of nature and the people around him. He also wrote auld lang syne, which to my shame I didn’t know !!
It is such a great place to visit to get a feel of the poet. He did seem a little like a bounder though and had many lady friends. According to the Guide Joanna lumley loves to come to this part of the world and to the Ellisland farm.
Apparently many of the tourists that come are Americans and they have a soft spot for this famous man.
For more information click here for great deals !!!
Even if you do not have time to visit the Ellisland farm , the friars carse four poster bed, room is the best in the house and the views are just spectacular.
For other hotel deals in the area check out the Deals page below.