All posts filed under: Travel

Hiking in Marseille’s calanques: part 1

Stretching along the coast from Marseille to Cassis is one of France’s most unique national parks: the Parc National des Calanques. Whether by sea or by land, the calanques are a must-visit if you have more than one or two days in Marseille. After two years here, I have explored many of the popular hiking trails through the calanques (though I’ve yet to visit them by sea… a huge dream of mine!). But despite my repeated visits, walking through the jagged, rocky paths of the looming limestone cliffs never ceases to be anything less than sublime. Here I’ve detailed several classic hikes that I’ve taken, all accessed by public transportation, thus ideal for tourists or non-driving people like me ! Be forewarned: not all of these hikes for the faint of heart… some of the trails are rocky, uneven, and have intense altitude changes, so be sure to take the proper precautions – water, decent shoes, more water, sunscreen. But if you are up for the challenge, pack a picnic and a swimsuit, and lace …

Wandering feet Wandering mind

I’m on day 3 of 10 days of traveling during school vacation and I’ve already walked 30+ miles in dirty keds and two pairs of socks. My toes feel permanently cramped, and I’m having sense memories of my high school era shin splints. But if you must walk an average of 15 miles a day, Rome is not a bad place to do it ! I spent a regrettably short amount of time in the Eternal City and the only things on my itinerary for the roughly 36 hours were to see some famous monuments and eat as much as possible. Mission Accomplished! What I love about traveling alone is that I’m not beholden to anyone as I plan my day. Want to walk 25 minutes out of the way to eat at a certain sandwich place someone recommended? Let’s do it. Feel like going back to that cute café even though you spent two hours reading there yesterday? Nothing stopping you. Make it up as you go along and suddenly your pedometer reads 38,000 …

Anne’s Essential Marseille : 5 walks

Over the past few months, I’ve had the great fortune of hosting friends and family in Marseille! During these visits, I developed a route that would take us through all of the “essentials” of the city: tourism sites, local culture, boats, beaches, etc. I decided to put all my favorites on a Google map, so you too can experience my personal Marseille tour in five walks. If you want to see everything on the map, you’ll need two or three days — unless you wake up at the crack of dawn and power walk your way through everything. But I don’t really recommend that… Walk I: Le Cours Julien to the Vieux Port This is always the first walk I take my guests on because I live near the very cool, bohemian neighborhood of Cours Julien, hence it’s always our de facto starting point. Here, the alleys are filled with local boutiques, restaurants and bars, and the walls are covered with ever-changing street art. I also love to take my guests through the Marché de …

When in Provence…

In April, one of my best friends came to visit me in Marseille all the way from Chicago! Laura and I spent a couple of days chilling at the beach in Marseille, and then departed on a 3-day road trip through the beautiful villages of Provence along with two other friends. We were a little early for one of the main attractions – the famous lavender fields were not quite in bloom – but we completely enjoyed ourselves and the Provençal landscapes all the same! I will admit that, for some reason, the prospect of planning a road trip thoroughly intimidated me! Maybe it’s because I had no idea what would be do-able in a given day, because I don’t actually even know how to drive, or because we had no particular destination and there is SO MUCH to see in the region. Luckily, our fellow travelers were super low-maintenance, so coming up with an itinerary, though intimidating, boiled down to choosing a few “Must-Sees” and then filling in the gaps. CAR RENTAL We decided …

20 mars – travel bug

Today, I have the travel bug. To be fair, I have it quite a lot of days. So often in fact, that I’ve twice picked up and moved to France. But the travel bug requires not only day dreams and travel guides and beautiful photographs. It also needs a touch of forethought, a bit of planning, and a whole lot of researching and comparing. Today was the day that I finally got down to business. I planned and arranged to visit my friend in London in May. I arranged to rent a car to drive through the beautiful provençal countryside when another friend visits in April. I booked a one night stay in Paris with the same friend. My spring break has also started to take shape with some potential travel options coming into focus– think southern Spain and/or Portugal! I also settled on a date and bought a ticket back home to the United States on May 22, and have already arranged for my personal Uber driver (my mom!) to pick me up at the airport! The …

13 mars – priorities

One of the best things about teaching in France are the school holidays. For each 6 weeks of school, we have a 2 week vacation– not too shabby! While I like to take advantage of these breaks to relax, I’d be remiss if I lived in Europe without traveling around as much as I can. After all, who knows how long I’ll even be here! This week I’ve been corresponding with a friend who I haven’t seen in 2 years. She recently graduated and moved to London and I plan to take advantage of being (relatively) close to England to finally visit her! As we coordinate dates, I look at my empty calendar for the month of May. My teaching contract ends April 30. My visa ends May 15. So far, my plan is to  pack up, go to London, and then head back to the United States. I tell her, “I’ll either come the week ending with May 20, or the week after May 20. I haven’t really decided. I haven’t booked tickets from Marseille to London yet. …

10 mars – Top Ten Cities in France, So Far

Yesterday, I enjoyed reading a variety of “list posts” and, as I am lacking in inspiration today, I am following suit. And so, for the 10th of March and the 10th day of the Slice of Life Challenge, I offer you my Top Ten Cities in France, So Far (limited of course by the cities I have visited, which are heavily concentrated in the south-east of the country) 10. Nice Going to Nice at the end of January was probably not the best plan. Its long stretches of pebble beaches were all but empty and the town felt a bit deserted. Next time, I’ll be sure to visit during beach season! 9. Annecy All the guide books will tell you that Annecy is the “Venice of the Alps” because apparently every city that has anything that even remotely resembles a canal is liable to be compared to Venice. This picture perfect town is really stunning, and as a result, also really touristy. 8. Aix-en-Provence Not going to lie… After hearing stories and stories about how amazing this city is from hordes of study abroad …