Marseille

Trip Start Apr 03, 2009
1
5
15
Trip End Apr 14, 2009


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Flag of France  , Provence,
Monday, April 6, 2009

The Globetrotters are obviously still recovering from jet-lag because we woke up at 10:00 a.m.! Not good. After a hurried  petit dé jeuner (breakfast), we rushed out of the house and drove to Marseille for the day. As soon as we got into the car, Jean put in a CD of some of his favorite music. It was quite amusing to hear the familiar sound of the 1950s group, The Platters singing "Only You." My mother would love this CD. I'm sure she knows the words to every song. It put a smile on my face to know that Jean and Dominique enjoy American Motown music, so we all sang along to a few of the songs. 
On the ride out, Michael was a bit nervous because of Jean's fast driving as we navigated the narrow roads and many roundabouts. From the look on Dominique's face, Michael wasn't the only one nervous about Jean's driving.  


The city is lovely on this beautiful Sunday morning. We drive through the tight streets of the city, past the marina near the Ferry Boat landing, then up towards Notre-Dame de la Garde, a beautiful church that sits atop a hill overlooking the city of Marseille.  The streets are narrow and hilly, much like those in San Francisco, California. It's hard to believe that two cars can safely drive down the street at the same time, but we see it with our own eyes ... when we're brave enough to keep our eyes open! Jean is driving like a man on a mission.


We find a parking spot and begin the steady climb up who knows how many stairs to reach the church. We are not alone; there are hundreds of others trekking the path along with us. Jean is leading the way without as much as a glance back at Dominique and me; of course, Michael is keeping up with him without any problem. When we reach the top, I can feel the effects of the altitude -- I'm out of breath, a bit dizzy and somewhat nauseous. Not good for someone who exercises almost daily. I take a seat outside to catch my breath, but Michael comes to get me and says that he and Jean have found seats for Dominique and me, and the service is about to begin. Now I realize why Jean was in such a hurry. We made it to church just in time for Palm Sunday service at 12 noon.  Perfect timing.  And there were four seast available just for the Globetrotters and family.


I am always amazed at the grandeur and ornate-ness of Catholic churches. This church is beautiful, with marble columns, gold inlaid trim and immaculate artifacts all around depicting the passion of Christ and several scenes from the Bible.  The service lasts about an hour and then we go over to the gift shop to purchase a few things. The view from this perch on the hill above Marseille is breathtaking. It reminds me of standing atop Corcovado in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. It is no wonder that people build their religious monuments way on high; to overlook the citizens of the city and to bless them all.  


Now it is time for lunch. We bask in the sun at Place De Lenche and choose Restaurant Au Lamparo to dine. The Globetrotters opt for a light lunch -- salad followed by lime and pear sorbet; delicious!   Then we walk a few blocks to the church where Michael's 4th generation great grandfather, Mathieu Deveaux was baptised.   I can tell that he is grateful to be able to see this place, even though we are not able to go inside because the church is being renovated. I can only imagine how beautiful it will be when complete.
Now, we're off to visit more new family members of Michael's, Jean's brother and his family. Christian, his wife Anne Marie and their son Patrick greet us at the door and it feels like a little family reunion.  Their smiling faces immediately make me feel welcome and at home in their charming apartment. Anne Marie is excited to show us the lovely souvenirs friends and family have given her over the years from their visits to the states -- an "Oscar" award from Los Angeles,  a Statue of Liberty clock, a poster from New York, even a few porcelain figurines from Puerto Rico. She loves the states, and I can't help but love her enthusiasm.


Patrick is obviously a chip off the old block; he is truly a comedian in the making. The 21-year-old accounting student in his junior year of college, serves us beverages and snacks, formally presented with a maitre 'd towel draped across his arm.  When he serves Dominque and Jean, he quickly removes the towel from his arm and says that is only for the American guests! We all share a laugh. 


Our visit lasts over an hour, and when it is time to depart we all share hugs and well wishes. What a great family, and what a great day in Marseille.     See more about my new memoir: GOT PROOF! My Genealogical Journey through the Use of Documentation which include a discovery of my French Cousin Jean whose photo is included in Book.
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