This week at Lady Smut we’re celebrating our fellow blogger C. Margery Kempe’s new release One Night in Rome by each of us picking a different city where we’d love to spend a night. I considered a couple different options of cities I know well – including Helsinki, San Diego, and Madison, Wisconsin. But then a friend suggested Marseille and he was absolutely right. Why Marseille? Because it’s exactly the kind of place that wouldn’t first come to mind, which is exactly why it’s perfect for a day and night of unexpected decadence.
The image that first comes to some people’s mind about Marseille is that it’s dirty. It’s grungy. It’s crime-infested and unsafe. It’s got a bad rep, perhaps deservedly so. But the good folks of Marseille have made definite strides toward cleaning up the city – figuratively and literally – and according to the French travel blog Why Go France, Marseille now has a reputation as being an artistic and funky place. My kinda town.
So OK. I arrive in mid July and it’s summertime. Temps are soaring. It’s hot and sticky and I’m in need of some freshening up. What’s an intrepid but sweaty gal to do? Why, head for the beach, naturally. No, I mean really naturally, as in “getting back to nature.” I’m in France after all, where clothing on beaches is optional. So I’m going in. I’ve never sunbathed in the nude before but I’m sure as heck doing it here.
I’m settled in my beach chair and glowing like a bronzed goddess (actually, this part would never happen because I don’t get tan, but it’s my
fantasy so I’m sticking to it). Right. So bronzed goddess. As I’m lying there and sipping pastis I notice a
rather very attractive waiter approaching my lounge chair. He wants to know if I need anything. Hmmm. Well, a little more suntan lotion never hurts. Le Hunk gets down to business while I gaze out at the sparkling Mediterranean and the picturesque boats bobbing in the port.
Marseille is a very old city and, like any respectably aging gal, she can’t help but show her age now and then. She’s crumbling and dirty and there are lots of back streets where you may or may not wish to go. But I’m feeling adventurous and Le Hunk has agreed to accompany me, so we go exploring the winding narrow streets, getting lost along the way. Suddenly I realize I’m getting hungry and have pizza on the brain. Say what? Pizza in France? Mais oui.
Marseille has apparently had long ties with Naples and thus has benefitted by being able to offer an incredibly authentic Italian pizza in several places around the city. Le Hunk and I hunker down for some grub. The pizza is hot and cheesy with deliciously charred crust edges straight from the wood burning ovens. We eat like ravenous dogs, lick sauce from each other’s fingers, and get the sensual juices humming. I’m thinking about the bed in my hotel room, but non non non. Not yet. Nothing fuels desire like prolonging the inevitable. Yeah, we’ll get there, but hold on for a minute. First, we shop.
Comprised of a series of narrow side streets, Marché des Capucins offers a wide assortment of mainly north African goods, including foods, fabrics, spices, and more, plenty to see and experience as I stroll hand in hand with Le Hunk while we appraise the vast array of offerings. I make several purchases to remember my Marseille experience before moving on.
To get an overall panoramic view of the city, head up to the Basilique Notre Dame de la Garde. It sits on Marseille’s highest point and is quite a climb to get to the top, but by all accounts the view is well worth it. I’m game for it, so up Le Hunk and I go, climbing steep-hilled streets to reach the pinnacle. From here we can get another view of the crystal blue sea and appreciate the offerings Marseille shares if you take the time to look.
It’s getting dark and I’m thinking about dinner. Marseille’s a port city, so fresh fish is on the menu. There are several good restaurants serving up local fare. After a delicious dinner, Le Hunk and I head out to Café de la Plage to dance the night away. It’s open until dawn, after all, so no danger of getting booted out too early. Only thing is, though, that the more pastis I drink the better and better Le Hunk is looking. Methinks it’s time to head back to the hotel for a
little ton of good ol’ fashioned oooh la la! 😉
Tell us where you’d go if you only had one night, and be sure to check out C.M. Kemps’ titillating new read, One Night in Rome. Oh, and click on that little follow button to the right. Here at Lady Smut we’ll never lead you astray.