The Phocaean City
Today we say Arrivederci to Italy and Bonjour to France.
This is also the first morning since the sea day after Barcelona that we can sleep in. Our excursion is not till the afternoon, and it’s just for Leslie and I. Oh don’t feel bad for the kids, they are looking forward to a relaxing day aboard the ship without the site seeing marathon type days we have been doing.
Our excursion today is not only an afternoon one but also a very relaxing one. We met our group at 12:45 for a trip to a local Winery for a wine tasting. We had a drive thru the French countryside to Domaine De Souviou. Not only is this an estate with vineyards, but also they produce olive oil. The estate is about 125 acres of vineyards and olive trees. Five of the over 4600 olive trees are over one thousand years old, while most are around five to six hundred years old.
After a short tour around the vineyard and some history of the estate, we went inside for our tasting. First we tried a white from 2006. Next was a Rosé. Finally we tried a red from 2002, it was very good. Next we sampled two kinds of olive oils with bread. The first was made from a combination of 9 different varieties of olives, there are over 150 varieties produced in this region. Next we tried one made from the olives of the 1,000 year old tree. Both were quite good!
After our visit to Domaine De Souviou, we drove up a mountain side to visit a medieval village called Le Castellet. With only 300 residents, this is a quaint village surrounded by the walls constructed hundreds of years ago to protect the inhabitants from enemies. There are two gates to enter, South and East, and from the village you have a panoramic view of the towns and vineyards below. There are many places to shop and eat here, and the local history is wonderful to experience and imagine.
After a tour and some free time in Le Castellet we headed back to our ship. We saw many of the sites of Marseilles. Today Marseilles is a busy and crowded cit, the second largest in France next to Paris, with over 1.6 million inhabitants.
We traveled through Le Vieux Port (Old Port) where the Greeks landed in France over 2,600 years ago. Here we saw classic French cafes and restaurants ornamented with the masts of small boats and yachts.
From the Disney Brochure:
The flavor of Marseilles is antiquity, seaport seafood, museums and history, all offered in one delightful destination where ocean and sun invite you to idle along its shores. Marseilles is centered on the 26-century-old port, with a dynamic downtown, big parks and a medieval, village-style neighborhood. In the time of the French colonies, this charming city was the gateway to the Mediterranean, and today it is the main city of the “Bouches-du-Rhone” region.
Marseilles is located in the region of Provence, one of he most scenic areas of all France. Marseilles is the capital of this beautiful region and is the second largest city in France. It’s rugged, rocky countryside, interspersed with vineyards ad fields of laveder, has inspired many well-known artists.
Corseted by a ring of hills, including the Calanques Massif, the city winds along the Mediterranean coast. The sunshine and the Mistral wind give it that special light that has inspired renowned painters, such as Cézanne, Braque, Dufy, Deraiand and Marquet. Here is your chance to remember your special moments in the creative light of Marseilles.