Somebody Made Bouillabasse But Nobody Expected What Happened Next In Marseille, France-North Mediterranean Sea

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Port of Marseille-Fos, Marseille, France

Strategically located on the shores of North Mediterranean, Port of Marseille-Fos, France‘s leading port is Europe‘s gateway in the north. It’s an alternative to the major ports of Northern Europe. Considered as France‘s largest port, it covers an area as wide as the city of Paris. Port of Marseille-Fos handles all kinds of goods: hydrocarbons and bulk liquids (oil, gas and chemical products), general cargo, minerals and cereals. While this port is the biggest in France, it ranks 5th in Europe and the 3rd largest petroleum port in the world. It has two main sites: in Northern Marseille and at Fos-Sur-mer, a commune 50 km. from Marseille.

About Marseille:

Map showing the location of Marseille and Fos-Sur-Mer in Southern France.

It is a beautiful seaside city of France‘s Mediterranean coast by the Provence-Alpes-Cote d’Azur region. Marseille (Marseh) has always been a large town along the Buche-du-Rhone river with a thriving commercial port since B.C.E. (before common era). The Greeks came first, in 600 B.C. and called it Massalia. In 49 B.C., the Romans seized into power at a time of Julius Ceasar‘s Civil War. Yes, the Romans made Marseille thrived despite its downturns like the Black Death (world pandemic between 1347-51 which killed 200 million people). However in 1480 the Romans were sacked and Marseille became a part of France. Vieux Port (Old Port) grew bigger in the 1800s accommodating a thousand ships at a time. But unfortunately the Nazis lit up a dynamite sending the old port into bits and pieces during World War II. In 1948, through Fernand Pouillon (French architect and urban planner), the entire old quarter of Marseille was reconstructed. And this city of old became as stunning as ever.

As a port city receiving an astounding number of ships in and out of its harbor, Merseille is a good location in France for immigration. Worldwide political and economic unrest during the 20th century brought a huge wave of immigrants. By the 1950s, 40% of residents in Marseille is made up of Italians. Into the 21st century, the city became a melting pot of Algerians, Armenians, Chinese, Turks, Magrehbis and Vietnamese. The biggest portion of its residents were no longer French.

On Fos:

Fos-Sur-Mer is a commune of the Bouches-du-Rhone department of Southern France. It is located 50 km. northwest from Marseille. While it used to be a small and sleepy village, in the ’60s it became a part of the Port of Merseille‘s large industrial complex. And it had changed a great deal since then.

After our 2-week dry dock in Brest, we sailed to Marseille in Knock Dun on October 1997. For visitors in search of a genuine experience – Marseille is the answer. From cultural diversity to amazing seaside terrain, this southern French city is a fascinating place. It has the beauty of France’s major cities and the friendliness of a fishing hamlet. At some point, ask anyone from Marseille and he will say it is we locals love to hate. Or from other European countries, it’s a city they often wish to avoid because of its shady past. But then it’s all water under the bridge now and things have changed. Somebody made bouillabasse, but nobody expected what happened next in Marseille, France. It’s your turn to find out why.

Bouillabasse Started It All

Somebody made bouillabasse (buyabeh) but nobody expected what happened next in Marseile, France. A typical fishermen’s soup consisting of mussels, velvet crabs and the langoustine (European lobster), it made Marseille famous throughout the world. What makes it luxurious is the selection of Provencal herbs and spices added in the broth. A legend says that bouillabasse was first brought by angels as food to the 3 Marys of the Gospel when they were shipwrecked on the Rhone river near Arles.

Ricard Pastis On The Rocks, S’il Vous Plait

In 1932, Paul Ricard was just 22 years old when he formulated an anise-based beverage at his father’s wine company. In his improvised laboratory, he mixed Provencal plants, fennel seeds, aniseed essence and alcohol to come up with a taste “that would meet everyone’s standard”. So one day he finally came up with his concoction which he called Ricard (after his name), the real pastis of Marseille. In his original blend it includes 1 part of the pastis with 5 parts of water served with ice to release the full aroma of anise. Somebody made bouillabasse but nobody expected what happened next in Marseille, France. Ricard Pastis was an instant hit and is now the 3rd best-selling spirit in the world.

Or A Bite Of Fougasse?

A flat bread sweetened with sugar and orange-flavored water, that’s fougasse (foo-gaces). Baked since the Roman times, it was used primarily for the purpose of testing the temperature of the oven. It’s usually shaped like the stalk of a wheat that has cuts formed like veins of the grain. Made up of olive oil, herbs grown in Marseille like rosemary and with anchovies or bacon, fogasse is usually served with the pastis. Somebody made bouillabasse but nobody expected what happened next in Marseille, France. Visitors were clamoring to have a bite of fougasse because of its crusty texture. That makes it different from its Italian sister bread, the focaccia. It’s a mouthwatering crunchy experience.

An Artists’ Mecca, L’Estaque

At some point, it has been a shabby, fishing village located northwest of Marseille. But for over half a century, this area has attracted world-class artists. L’Estaque, a balance of light and colors is quite an appeal for Impressionist painters. Its panorama was the subject of the easels of Paul Cesanne, Pierre Auguste Renoir, Georges Brague who came to stay and lived at L’Estaque. The apple of every artist’s eye, it has a big impact because of its location: a breathtaking corner with a view of Marseille Bay. Somebody made bouillabasse but nobody expected what happened next in Marseille, France. L’Estaque rose to fame in Marseille as a result of the colorful works done by the great French painters.

Chateau d’If And The Count Of Monte Cristo

Off on the coast of Marseille is an island Alcatraz-like prison, Chateau d’If. First used as a fortress in the 1500s on the island of If built by King Francois I of France. But it was never used as a fort to protect Marseille from enemy attack. By the 1800s it was converted into a prison camp especially for political and religious (French Protestants were incarcerated here) prisoners. The castle’s popularity surfaced when the French writer, Alexandre Dumas used Chateau d’If as a setting for his novel, The Count of Monte Cristo. This is the story of a young man imprisoned at Chateau d’If for 14years before he made his daring escape. Somebody made bouillabasse but nobody expected what happened next in Marseille, France. Chateau d’If was closed as a prison in 1890 but the castle became a favorite area to explore in Marseille because of Dumas‘ novel.

Star Of The Sea, La Bonne Mere

Somebody made bouillabasse but nobody expected what happenext in Marseille, France and thanks to the Good Mother (la bonne Mere) and Her Child. Standing at the highest point of the city is Notre-Dame de la Garde basilica. Visible from any point of view here in Marseille, what attracts the faithful to visit this Church is the golden monument of the Blessed Virgin and Her Child perched on top of Notre-Dame de la Garde‘s bell tower watching over Marseille. Many sailors especially those who experienced rough seas come here to give thanks for La Bonne Mere‘s intercession.

Gentle Savon du Marseille

A symbol of Marseille and Provence, often copied but never matched this is savon du Marseille. Somebody made bouillabasse, but nobody expected what happened next in Marseille, France, this cream and olive soap brought the city’s name to fame into the world. Made of marine ash, salt water and pure olive oil, it is processed using ancient methods to come up with an exceptional class of its own. Free of animal fat and fragrances, savon du Marseille is not just a typical soap. You can use it as a bath soap and for your laundry purposes as well. This soap is very popular for hikers and campers in Europe because they only need one soap for bathing, do their laundry and for dish washing. Less is more, that is savon du Marseille.

And afterword: in Marseille you always have to take your time. You know the famous line, Marseille time or fifteen minutes Marseille? It’s a famous phrase in the city which means being on time means 15-30 minutes late (well, just like Filipino time). When you are in Marseille, just enjoy every minute at your own quiet pace. Getting lost in this magic of a place will be an exciting experience for you and your family.

Reference: Wikipedia