Posts Tagged ‘La Navette’

Marseille is absolutely heaving with tourists at the moment: this morning, 3 enormous cruise ships were docked.  One English lady wandering around asked me what she could do in Marseille in the 2 hours she had. It’s not easy at the moment as the ongoing pedestrianisation in the Vieux Port means that large portions are barracaded off.  We were all funnelled on to walkways and couldn’t even walk along the quaysides to look at the boats.

Time to take to the sea!  The new service down to Pointe Rouge is called La Navette and is a great escape, especially on a hot day.  You embark just near the Frioul ferries.  Boats leave once an hour, on the hour, from 7:00-22:00, every day until 15th September when the evening services are dropped.  The journey takes you down the Vieux Port and along past all the beaches.  We pulled out to the open sea just after a massive SNCM car-ferry which threw us around in its wash, much to the excitement of our young passengers.  The journey takes 40 mins.  If you are doing an aller-retour, you have to get off at the other end and sit on a bench while the driver has a cigarette and a chat before taking the boat back to Marseille.  A bargain at 5€. www.rtm.fr; www.lepilote.com.

I enjoyed a wander around the ‘Savon de Marseille’ exhibition in the Maison de l’Artisanat in the cours d’Estienne d’Orves.  Soap has been made in Marseille for over 700 years – it was exported all over Europe.  During the nineteenth century, the town was full of small businesses producing the familiar blocks and local walls were dotted with colourful posters advertising the various brands.  This gallery has pulled together an interesting exhibition on this industry.

They also focus on the generations of women who spent hours at lavoirs or on river banks scrubbing the family’s clothes and drying them in the sun.  Upstairs in the gallery they have recreated such scenes and have many examples of post-cards featuring these women at work.

Free.  Until 18th July. Tues-Fri 10-12, 13-18, Sat 13-18:00.

Verdict:  It’s an interesting facet of Marseille’s history.  Probably not worth a special visit but recommended if you’re in town and need to get away from the crowds in the Vieux Port outside.


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