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the birthplace of christianity & l’abbaye saint-victor de marseille

“If you’ve been to France, chances are you haven’t been here, France’s second-largest city, the oldest city in France. It sits right by the Mediterranean. The food is famously good. Yet it’s a victim of bad reputation, bad history. Marseille—as it turns out, exactly the kind of place I like.” –Anthony Bourdain

One things leads to another.

Anthony Bourdain died June 8 in Kaysersberg, France.

When I heard the news, I recalled his episode about Marseille from Parts Unknown (Season 6, episode 2) on Netflix.

That meant rewatching Anthony Bourdain and chef Eric Ripert sitting outside the Café de l’Abbaye, sipping pastis and enjoying the sun.

That reminded me of the many times when I was strolling that area of Marseille, and I had eventually had sat à la terrace at the same Café de l’Abbaye and had sipped a pastis.

That reminded me of some photos I had taken during a visit to l’abbaye Saint-Victor de Marseille nearby.

I have read that the Abbaye is one of the most popular tourist sites in Marseille.  I am not convinced.   It is not easily accessible.  Parking is difficult.  I have not yet visited the interior of the abbey when it has been crowded.  I have often walked the tomb-like rooms alone.

I am not prepared to give an accounting of my visits.  I can say I am fascinated with the place because of its age, its history.  (It is best to learn that history by reading about it in French.)

If only I had a guide, someone to tell me what I was seeing, to explain the different construction levels.

I can share some pictures though and a YouTube video.

Looking up I was impressed with the vaulted ceiling and the sunlight that burst and illuminated the interior. (Click on any photo to see it larger and in more detail. Cliquez sur une vignette pour l’agrandir.)

Looking down, one begins to see the cave-like interior that is below street level.  (Cliquez sur une vignette pour l’agrandir.)

Throughout are some artifacts that have been discovered and restored.  (Click on any photo to see it larger and in more detail. Cliquez sur une vignette pour l’agrandir.)

A visit to Marseille and the abbey, its chambers, and the surrounding area can be seen in the above video.

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