A Night in the Radiant City

…Or a visit to Alphaville

A small confession, driving in another country on the other side of the road is just about one of the most stressful things I’ve done. Yeah, I know and me with a couple of medals from the Gulf War, go figure…

We drove south from Aix en Provence to Marseille, and all went well until we got into downtown Marseille where we found ourself negotiating peak hour traffic through construction work with a SatNav that was either having an electronic sulk or helpfully suggesting we drive through a crash barrier or off the side of an overpass.

Hard learned survival tactic, the best way to survive in this level of chaos is to just to relax, maintain eye contact, wave, smile and use your horn with élan because getting wound up about it certainly isn’t going to help… 🙂

As the blocks of flats are to be erected on piles standing about sixteen feet above the ground, we can wlak wherever we please–which will be something new!

Corbusier, 1932

Finally, after touring through what felt like a hundred kilometres of detours and roadwork, all filled to the brim with tetchy Marselhés, we finally escaped to the city outskirts our hotel, and our home for a night the Hotel Corbusier.

All the traffic improvements had of course put us behind the eight ball for our dinner reservation so after checking in we jumped straight on the 21 bus (suggested by the staff) and headed to the Vieux Port. Then a short dash from the bus terminal across to the Quai de Rive Neuve, up the stairs and we were seated at our table overlooking the port….phew!

We had (just) arrived at the right time with the sunset catching the northern Quai du Port in it’s light and the construction site on our side thrown into shadow.

Amazing to think that Galina had booked this restaurant from half a world away months before we made this trip, yet here we were at this table, looking at this sunset. I definitely have the most awesome wife.

The Table du Sud is a one star Michelin restaurant and their style is well, frankly a little experimental. Of course, being in Marseille we had to try the Bouillabaisse and it was excellent, in a frothy way. As was the rest of the meal, excellent that is, not frothy. A great way to relax and unwind from what had been a full tilt day.

After dinner we walked along the Quai des Belge of the port (where the fish markets are in the morning), and over to the bus terminus to see what our transport options were.

After figuring out that we weren’t likely to get a bus at that hour of the night we walked back and up the Canebière, Marseille’s main thoroughfare, to the Noailles metro station for a ride home.

Then it was a short ride on the M1 line followed by a 10 minute walk along Blv. Michelet and we were back in our hotel room.

The noise from the traffic outside was surprisingly loud so we pulled the french doors across which was going to mean it would be a hot night (the air conditioning unit was not working). But after briefly admiring our piece of newly renovated modernist heaven we both just fell into bed and went to sleep.

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