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look, it is bonne mère, the basilique notre-dame de la garde

She who governs the roads of the sea,
Who shines above the waves and the sun,
The giantess standing behind the blue hours,
high gold inhabitant of a long white country,
Christian Pallas of the Gauls.  –Valery Larbaud

I hastened to go up to Notre-Dame de la Garde, to admire the sea bordered with the ruins the laughing coasts of all the famous countries of Antiquity.  –Chateaubriand

Stand any where in Marseille and you will probably see the Basilique Notre-Dame de la Garde. There is no escaping its presence high on the hill. In this respect, it is much like the Eiffel Tower in Paris.

As a popular tourist destination, it offers a spectacular 360 degrees panoramic view of Marseille and the Mediterranean Sea.

One can choose many ways to go up the hill: public transportation, ie the city bus; the small tourist train; the tourist bus; and walk. I take the #60 city bus from the Vieux Port. To descend I enjoy walking down, choosing a different direction in order to see an unexplored part of the city.

It takes a little planning, but one can climb to the basilica via some neighborhood streets and via a path that approaches from the side that faces the Vieux Port. A decent digital map, such as Google maps or ViaMichelin, can help navigate some of the alleys and side streets.  (Click on any photo to see it larger and in more detail. Cliquez sur une vignette pour l’agrandir.) But wait, there’s more!

the roof and spire of la cathédrale notre-dame de paris are gone

Lundi 15 avril, 18h45, au pied de la flèche de la cathédrale Notre-Dame de Paris, une légère fumée s’échappe des combles. L’alerte est donnée, l’édifice, évacué de ses touristes et ­fidèles. Des dizaines de millions de gens, peut-être plus, partout dans le monde, garderont longtemps en mémoire les heures désespérantes qui suivirent. —Telerama, le 23/04/2019

La Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Paris burned Monday, April 15, 2019, starting around 18:30, Paris time.

From the bridge that crosses the Seine river at Boulevard Saint Michel, it is the front of the cathedral that we see. The roof and its spire is almost hidden behind the two large towers in front. It was the roof and the spire behind the towers that burned.

One day in August two years ago, I wandered around La Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Paris and wondered about it. I decided to spend time looking more closely at the other sides. I offer some photographs I took then.

Oliver Gee, host of the Earful Tower podcast, had a guest Philippe Hertzberg of Secret Journeys on his program. Philippe was at Notre-Dame when the fire started. In addition one can get a “private tour” of the inside of Notre-Dame before the fire.

Annie in her podcast Join Us in France talked about the fire and more in “Notre Dame Fire: What Now? Episode 230.” At the end of the article, one can see an extensive list of other podcasts she has done about Notre-Dame.

Slate, the on-line magazine, and the Slate Cultural Gabfest, used a part of their weekly broadcast to consider the consequences of the fire. In “Free Rein on Some Gargoyles” Edition” they invited Lauren Collins, writer for the New Yorker, to talk about the fire. She had been into the roof earlier before the fire. She wrote about it in her article “On the Roof of Notre-Dame, Before It Burned“.

Lately, I have been listening to the polyphonic music of Pérotin. He lived between ca. 1155/60 and ca. 1200/05 and composed for the Notre Dame school of polyphony during the early years of Notre-Dame.  (Click on any photo to see it larger and in more detail. Cliquez sur une vignette pour l’agrandir.) But wait, there’s more!

kitesurfing on the bays of antibes

April arrives and the wind blows. It is the weekend. It is Easter. The Med Sea is nearby. And the lunch hour(s) in France can be two hours long. It is a perfect confluence of events for kitesurfing.

Antibes has three beaches, and two of them are wide and open and one in the middle is the most popular for kitesurfing. I believe there is a kitesurfing school and club in Antibes.

I have yet to see a woman kitesurfing in Antibes.

On a good day, the word has spread and dozens will be on the water at the same time. How they manage to avoid one another and not tangle their lines and chutes is unclear.

Crowds gather along the beach. Cameras are ready. Kids play in the sand and make sand castles. Some are there for the holiday weekend and want to catch as much sun as they can.

However, the stars of the day are the kitesurfers.

Because the surfers prefer the bays, croissant-shaped, and not the open water, spectators can watch from various points. They like to glide toward the shore, dramatically turn or launch into the air before circling around again and leaving. (Click on any photo to see it larger and in more detail. Cliquez sur une vignette pour l’agrandir.) But wait, there’s more!

les calanques and 3 hours from marseille

If given the choice—either, or—where would you choose to live? Paris or Marseille? Some might balk at choosing from those cities.

Paris, for some, would be crossed off the list because 1) everyone wants to live there, so why go there; 2) one has visited Paris enough to know that other cities and villages are a better choice—Peter Mayle settled in Provence, for example; 3) one has Paris, the city, and then what?

Marseille for others would be a ridiculous choice: 1) too many people live there of African and Middle Eastern descent; 2) it is too dangerous; 3) the mafia controls everything; 4) it is not Paris; 5) ?.

I have often wondered where I would live. For a long time both cities, Paris and Marseille, have thrilled me. I have spent long periods of time in Toulouse, Lyon, and Montpellier as well. The number of villages where I have explored are countless.

« J’adore Marseille. » I say that to my landlord in Marseille all the time. Something has surprised me and my response is often, « J’adore Marseille. » I am seldom surprised in Paris. I don’t say to my Paris landlord, « J’adore Paris. » I am not sure she would appreciate the comment. (Click on any photo to see it larger and in more detail. Cliquez sur une vignette pour l’agrandir.) But wait, there’s more!