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Day 10 Marseilles, France

Marseilles was the last port of call on our cruise onboard MV Coral. Having spent Monday at sea, we were keen to get out and about on the last proper day of our holiday.

We have visited Marseilles before – at least, we have visited the docks! A previous cruise in 2003 diverted to Marseilles because of bad weather. We made the mistake of thinking we could explore Marseilles ourselves. It was a Sunday. There were no taxis and no buses. As Marseilles docks is not the most prepossessing of tourist locations, we gave up and spent the rest of the day onboard our cruise ship. After this experience, we made sure we didn’t make the same mistake and we planned to take advantage of one of MV Coral’s organised excursions.

Two excursions were available from Marseilles:

  • Panoramic Tour of Marseilles
  • Aix en Provence

Rather than tour the city, we liked the idea of visiting Aix en Provence. However, as all the other British passengers had disembarked at Marseilles, it wasn’t certain the Coral could offer an English-speaking guide on the trip.

I’m delighted to say the Excursions staff pulled out the stops. In total, nine English and Canadian passengers went on the trip with a multi-lingual tour guide. That’s what we call excellent service!

Aix en Provence lived up to our expectations. Beautiful, romantic and steeped in history, Aix en Provence is known as the ‘Town of Water’ and boasts many spectacular fountains. A walk round the town is essential to appreciate the wealth of architecture and culture on offer.

Aix en Provence is also famous for its connections to the art world. Painter Paul Cezanne was born in the town in 1839. Today, the visitor can walk in Cezanne’s footsteps, marked by brass plaques in the pavement in the town’s streets.

If you are fortunate enough to visit Aix en Provence, do be sure to leave yourself enough time to explore the town yourself. Although interesting, sadly our guided tour didn’t allow us enough free time to really appreciate the wonder of this stunningly beautiful and romantic location. That is the one down-side of sharing a tour guide with another nationality – the tour takes longer because each snippet of information must be relayed twice to the audience – but it was a small price to pay for the opportunity to visit Aix en Provence.