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  • France to Corsica - a fantastic ferry experience

    We’re all familiar with the crossings on the English Channel between the UK and France, either by Eurotunnel or ferry. But have you ever thought of making the ferry experience part of your holiday? I recently had the opportunity to do just this, travelling from Marseille to the wonderful French Mediterranean island of Corsica, a distance of approximately 330 kms. Whether you are looking to spend your full holiday on the island or just a part of it, it is well worth experiencing the overnight SNCM Ferry to reach Corsica.  

    Early one evening in October we boarded the SNCM vessel Pascal Paoli (named after Filippo Antonio Paquale di Paoli, who I later learned was a Corsican patriot and leader who designed and wrote the Constitution of the State). Swift embarkation allowed us enough time to become acquainted with our small but comfortable cabin with en-suite shower/WC before we sailed and to get ready for dinner on board ship. 

    A buffet salad entrée that was satisfying enough as a full meal was laid out enticingly in the dining room where one served oneself, followed by a choice of main meal and delicious desserts to die for (again help yourself buffet). Accompanied by a delightful Corsican Rose, this was a perfect way to start our trip to Corsica.  

    SNCM runs ferries from various ports along the south coast of France. You can either fly down to your Port of Embarkation or do as we did and take the Eurostar to Paris, making the simple change across stations via the efficient RER metro from Gare du Nord to Gare de Lyon. The speedy, comfortable TGV between Paris and Marseille added to the laid back mood of the trip as we relaxed into our seats and watched the French countryside fly by. From the station at Marseille it’s a short distance (metro or taxi) to the Place de la Joliette where we boarded the ship.

    For anyone staying along the south coast of France, a trip to Corsica makes an unforgettable experience and is well worth adding to your trip. Our photo shows the ferry at the island's port of Bastia.

    Aferry.co.uk have a wide choice of routes and ferry companies in the UK and Europe and you can compare prices in one easy hit! 

  • Marseille - Photo Friday 2 July 2010

    Marseille's location on the Mediterranean Sea has meant it has always been an important port. The old port is a particularly attractive place to visit.

  • The Chateau d'If - Photo Friday 23 July 2010

    The Chateau d'If on an island just off the coast at Marseille was the setting for Dumas' novel the Count of Monte Cristo which has has made it a popular tourist destination.

  • Top attractions in the sunny Bouches-du-Rhône

    Bouches-du-Rhône, our region of the month, is a fantastic destination for sun lovers, with summer temperatures around 30C. It lies on the Mediterranean, further west than the Cote d’Azur, and there’s a great mix of mountains and sea, history and nature – especially in the capital city of Marseille and the legendary wetlands of the Camargue.

    In the heart of the Alpilles mountains is a magical and unusual place that delights both adults and children. Located at Les Baux de Provence and called Carrières de Lumières, this is essentially a multimedia extravaganza where images are projected on to the walls and ground of a giant cave-like quarry, accompanied by synchronized music (see photo). This year’s theme is the artist Klimt and his native Vienna and visitors are raving the remarkable experience - one of those projects that are so well done in France.

    A top new attraction in the cosmopolitan capital city is the History Museum of Marseiile, which tells the story of the city from its ancient origins to current day, including the various transformations made in the Middle Ages and 19th century. After a visit, enjoy a stroll in the grounds to explore the ruined fortifications of the ancient Greek port. The old Roman port is just a short walk away at the Musée des Docks.

    For lovers of the outdoors, Montagne Sainte Victoire is very popular. It’s near the historic town of Aix-en-Provence, some time home to the artist Paul Cézanne, and this majestic mountain was the subject of several of his paintings. Enjoy a hike enhanced by the fragrance of wild rosemary, sage and pine and marvel at the view of a huge dam with a lake of turquoise water at the centre.

    Our holiday rentals in this region include country cottages set amongst olive trees, farmhouse gîtes, stone village houses and majestic villas with their own pool. Travel is easy with a choice of flights to Nimes, Avignon or Marseille for easiest access to Bouches-du-Rhône, and by car Marseille is about an eight hour drive from Paris. Find more information and places to stay in our guide to Bouches-du-Rhone.