Oh, Marseille Can You See That Aix Marks the Spot!

Oy. I can’t believe it’s Thursday already.  I also cannot believe that with all the sunscreen slathered upon my body, and sitting under the parasol, I still managed to get a burn. *OUCH*!!!

We will head back to St. Trop to visit B’s dad, Dany.  His progress isn’t happening.  When we last saw him, it seemed that he was on the road to improvement but from what we’ve heard, the progress isn’t there.

The sun is shining down during this wonderful Canicule but the sky is lined with big fluffy clouds. Clouds that look as though Honoré Fragonard painted them himself.

I was admiring the laundry hanging outside. Washing clothes is a pleasure.  I don’t know what it is but our clothing gets much cleaner and brighter here—there is something in the detergent that really really gets all the dirt and grime out.  Listen to me!!  Can you believe it??? Here I am, in France, on vacation and I’m getting excited over laundry!!!

I know. I know. Some of you may think I’m strange due to the fact this is vacation time. But laundry–especially doing laundry and letting it air dry is such a complete pleasure for me..

This sight of this fills me with joy and happiness! Especially since I abhor fabric softener and love my cloths crispy!  Paradise!

Coffee on the terrace, the scent of Jasmine fills the air and we discuss our plans for today.

We’ll head to the pool in the morning and to see Dany in the afternoon.

Bonaparte deep thinking the jump into the deep, cool pool. My feet are firmly placed underneath the parasol!

The water in the pool is cool—not freezing.  The heat of the sun works like a solar panel to raise the water’s temperature.  The parasol gives me shade enough to finish book number two and I head into the cool of the pool.

Book number two placed into my tote and away we go!

Back to the apartment to change and we are off to see Dany.

Today’s look–white shorts, a checkered, off-the-shoulder shirt (no bra either. its such a pleasure), a new bobbed wig–Millie by Bobbi Boss. I dig this bob. And we are ready to head off to St. Trop. I did not venture out barefoot!

The drive along the Bord du Mer and 559 is a relaxing and picturesque one.  The summer residents, their privileged six weeks of vacation, haven’t arrived yet and the homes are boarded up.  Gardeners tend to the lush flora and crews are out prepping the villas and homes for the return of the inhabitants.

An aquaduct along the route..

..of the Bord du Mer..

Each village brings a new little out-of-the-way beach!

..and the sights offer more than the sea!

Campgrounds are not yet full—which, when it comes to traffic, is a pleasant surprise as the campers can make traffic awful and slow.

We head into Ste. Maxime to park the car and get on the bateau to ferry us to the port at St. Tropez. We missed the 3:00 ferry by minutes and have time to wait—but the activity of people watching makes this time fly by.

Port at Ste. Maxime–it’s such a clean place!

Hmmm, can I hitch a ride on one of these boats?

The line convines as people begin to wait to get to St. Tropez

A group of older Brits is waiting ahead of us. All the women have the same blunt bob hairstyle.  They look very proper in their pragmatic attire of sun dresses and heavily-soled sandals.  One of the women loudly announces that she has to “go to the loo”.  The group laughs and one of the men yell after her to “not get lost”.   They all laugh.  It’s nice to see people enjoying themselves!

Our boat arrives and we take a seat inside the cabin to get shade from the beating sun. A woman sits in front of me. From the back, I’m obsessed with her perfectly coiffed bob. Her hair is thick. I’m jealous because I once had a thick head of hair like hers. I touch my wig—it’ll do!

We get closer to the port and I never tire of the site.  The lighting is perfect.  The view spectacular!

The port remains the same year after year but still stays beautiful in all its yellow splendor!

The yellow buildings change hue with the position of the sun. Today it is a soft, buttery yellow that is making me hungry.

We disembark to empty streets. The tar is hot and bubbly and the heat has made the wealthy owners and renters of the yachts lining the port to hide in the comfort of the cabins rather than to sit outside on display—as if to say, “Look at me”.  “Don’t hate me because I’m wealthy and you’re not”!

The streets are pretty empty, which is a rarity at this time of year..

An officer makes watch…

It’s even too hot for the inhabitants of the yachts to be outside!

We head off to see Dany

We make it to Dany’s residence.  The air-conditioning isn’t as strong as in the States, but does offer a coolness that is appreciated.  The hallway has an odor—I can’t quite place it. It isn’t pleasant but isn’t unpleasant either. It is what it is.

Dany’s door is opened and today he is wearing a bright red and white striped Breton shirt. His arms are discolored and spindly. He stares at nothing.  His mind is sharp—you can tell, but he’s in and out of some sort of ethereal animation.

The staff comes in to check on him. They are pleasant and helpful.

Visitors arrive. A couple who collects his paintings are here to check in on him. Maurice and Hélène.  We exchange introductions in French and Bonaparte and I leave the three friends alone.

It is around 5:30 PM. We must leave because the staff is getting ready to change and feed Dany. I feel bad leaving. He’s not doing well.

As we make our exit, I wish that Fragonard would supply the residence with a ton of fragrance to rid of the unusual odor in the hallway.

NOTE: I’m sorry but I stopped writing for the day because I was just a bit bummed. But I did get to enjoy my Breton Cidre while Bonaparte had some hearty red wine!

Red wine for Bonaparte and Cidre for me was a well-needed aperitif!

Friday, June 23rd

We woke up to clouds on the horizon.  I was thinking that today would be a momentous day to head into Marseille and before I could suggest this to Bonaparte, he announced what I was thinking.

Our little road trip will consist of visiting Bonaparte’s mother’s tiny home in Ensues, a visit to Marseille and finished with a stop in Aix.

We will be doing a lot of walking today, so I’ll opt for pragmatic sneakers, shorts and a white tee–and bobbed hair, of course!

Ensues is a small town just outside of Marseille.  B’s mother had a tiny and charming home there when she worked in Marseille—just before she became ill. Her behavior was beginning to change at this point and nobody was aware of what was to come.  We stayed in the house for a few days back in 2007. I immediately fell in love with it.

This is the house that Bonaparte’s mother lived in during her time working in Marseille.  I have very nice memories of this place!

Another view. Look at the terrace above. It covered an enormous area.

The front of the house overlooked the other homes on the way down to the calanque.

Lots of flowers and fig trees surrounded the property.

Evie’s little house is now Villa Isis–and you can rent it.  It’s charming but I wish it was still in Bonaparte’s family.

We leave the little street and head down to the calanque.

It overlooks a calanque complete with a small port for housing fishing boats.

The port at the calanque across from the house Bonaparte’s mother owned.

The house was sold when Evie became very ill. Now it is a B & B of sorts.

We walked down to the calanque and Bonaparte told me about the times he and his relatives would spend swimming and enjoying a bite to eat at the small restaurant that is no longer there.

Some views from the calanque…

Rocks, crystal clear water and a rickety little footbridge. What could be more rustic?

Succulents growing randomly within the crevices of the rocks…

Hidden little pools….

What’s going on here?  A commercial?  TV show? Movie. My curiosity is aroused but the land is too rocky for me to advance any further!

So back to the port we go!

We bid farewell…

…and pass a fairy-tale cottage with my favorite number, 16, as its address!

Not one to linger in the past, Bonaparte bid adieu and we headed off to Marseille.

Marseille is a cool city—the Port is ridiculously large. I’ve never EVER seen a port so huge!!  We drove around, parked the car and enjoyed walking and people watching.

The port at Marseille is crazy-huge…

..with lots of action..

..and what seems like millions of boats..

Bonaparte’s mother, Evie, was in charge of public relations for this theatre before she became ill and still had her mind…

Street style is pretty much the same world-wide with young people!

The buildings are beautiful.

The Ferris Wheel at the end of the port.



And more boats!

Proof that not all French women can wear heels all day!  Let me tell you, the ground was hot–I don’t know how she did it!

Don’t think for one minute that we didn’t stop to do some serious people watching. As you can see, the dress vibe is casual. Look at the older couple in the middle–they were so adorable!

There’s my girl again–carrying her shoes!!

Back in the car we drive down a shaded street as we make our exit..

Notre-Dame de la Garde bids us a safe trip!

Next stop:  Aix!

An upcoming fete prevented us from having access to quite a few streets…

It was getting a bit late and a couple of the streets were closed due to an upcoming Fete.  So, we walked around a bit.  You don’t have to be in Paris to perfect the art of being a Flâneur or Flâneuse!

It was the second night of the festival.  Aix marks the spot!

These guys were keeping watch!

Alas, we were able to wander around..

Detail from the photo above.  I love the praying saint!

I almost died when I saw this elf shop!  The prices are so much higher. I do believe in Aix, elf cosmetics are treated more high-end then at home. I’ll stick to purchasing this brand at Target and Walmart!

We stopped at a church so that I could give a few prayers of thanks…

And who should I see but my bestie, Saint Rita!!  I immediately lit a candle!

An “Aix-cellent” visit to church!

A cute little girly soap shop….


More wandering the streets!

A bit of shade

Another beautiful French building…

Au Revior to Aix.  

By the time we arrived home, we were more than ready for a refreshing aperitif and dinner.

A delicious and healthy salad. My diet really DOES start tomorrow!!

We shall see what tomorrow brings!

In the meantime, here’s a song that was playing on Nostalgie radio quite often. “Lola” by Renaud. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do!


About Catherine

Far from perfect, but enjoying life as a non-perfect and flawed individual at 60 years young. I'm still wondering what I'll be when I grow up! The characters in my life's screenplay include my better half. He is a refined Frenchman who grew up in Paris and summered in St. Tropez. I grew up in Long Island and summered in Long Island. I am not refined. My three grown children are also a big part of my life. For their sake, they happily live where their careers have taken them! But I can still mother them from a distance! I write about the mundane. I write about deeply shallow issues. But whatever I write or muse about--it'll always be a bit on the humorous and positive side! It's all good!
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33 Responses to Oh, Marseille Can You See That Aix Marks the Spot!

  1. Nancy says:

    Hi Catherine- I am so excited to see this post…not only do you make me feel like I am right there with you on your trips …but…I have been in Marseille this past May…I saw the same ferris wheel, I also was in Aix and recognized several landmarks including the fountain and the…ELF store……that made me so happy to see your photos .

    I have often wondered..if this is not too personal of a question…how did you meet Bonaparte? I just know there has to be some wonderful Catherine story about this epic meeting…

    • Catherine says:

      Hi Nancy–Hey. Did you end up purchasing a bag when you were in Aix? How did you enjoy your trip? Marseille is tres cool and I’m glad that you are enjoying the pics I took. In answer to your question–here’s the post from long ago that explains the beginning of our relationship: Move Over Josephine. Bonaparte is MINE!
      Thanks again!!! XXOXOXOXO!!!

    • Debbie Clark says:

      Hi, really enjoyed your trip..lol
      Love your videos. Thanks for sharing. Also like your Insta posts.
      Have a great day!

  2. Marsha Wilson says:

    Really enjoy your postings, and thanks for the link about how you met Bonaparte. Your courtship and marriage sound enchanting.

  3. Q.D says:

    Everyone raves about e.l.f but we can’t get it here, is it worth spending exorbitantly high international shipping fees???

    And i know you didn’t have the end to the holiday you wanted, but i am so glad you got this time with Dany before heading home!

    • Catherine says:

      Hi Q. No. elf makes some great items but it is a drug store brand and is not worth the exorbitantly high international fees. Period. Many of the items are hit or miss. The felt tip eyeliner is fabulous–but with int’l shipping, you are better off going to Sephora and buying a higher end brand!!
      Yeah..it was great to see Dany–but there’s plenty more!!!! XOXOXOXO!!!!

  4. Peggy says:

    Crisp clothes hanging in the sun love it! Take me with you next time your photos are lovely.
    P.s. Have you found crisp sheets lately?

    • Catherine says:

      Hi Peggy! Ugh. The battle of the sheets is alive and well in Chateau Bonaparte. I llike them crispy–he likes them soft. And he will oftentimes beat me to the laundry room and sneak fabric softener into the sheet laundry. YIKES!!!!
      I’m glad you are enjoying the photos my dear!!! XOXOXOXO!!!!


    Great read! Really enjoyed your trip😙

  6. Yvonne says:

    Lots of wonderful photos. So sad to hear how much Dany has deteriorated over the past year. But so comforting that you and Bonaparte were able to spend that week in France which would be his last summer.

    The weather is beautiful and dry heat so pleasant compared to the 95% humidity in DC. I always dry my laundry on airing/clothes rack as I feel so sorry for my clothes as they are tortured by the hideous toploading washing machine with the enormous agitator in our apartment. It’s not the detergent that’s the problem in DC it’s the hard water that effects my clothes and takes out the Colour. Oh for the softer water of New York.

    • Catherine says:

      Hi Yvonne!! Oh…the weather sucks here in the Philly area. it’s so humid here it would take a week for the clothing to dry outside. But I do a lot of air drying in the house!! Yeah. It was quite the trip this year with lots of twists and turns!!! XOXOXOXOXO!!!!!

  7. Alok Singhal says:

    Believe me, even my wife loves doing Laundry during our vacations – sometimes, even more than checking out the attractions.

    Btw, you look adorable. Enjoy your stay out there.

  8. lilianelandor says:

    I so love your journal.. your attention to detail, your no-holds barred honesty, your sense of humour, your self-deprecating jokes, the pictures you post and the word pictures you paint.. all of it a great read.. long may it continue..

    • Catherine says:

      Wow! Thanks Liliane!!! I was so disciplined with the writing this year. Bonaparte’s brother was very impressed with my ability to pull out pen and journal no matter where we were and start to write. I like to keep it real–no bull s&it here! Oh, I have lots more to come but this evening I’m resting. I just dropped one of my sons off at 30th St. Station–he’s on the way back to NYC!!! XOXOXOXOXO!!!

  9. doodletllc says:

    I’m loving traveling with you…I did laugh out loud about the laundry…kindred souls are we. Once again. 🙂

  10. Juliet says:

    Gorgeous photos – what is it about European products (I had my purchase of laundry detergent powder wrestled from me by the husband the last time we had a family holiday in Spain, that was a while ago – but that detergent was fabulous, really good at cleaning and smelt wonderful, I did get his point that smuggling white powder in the UK might look a little odd but seriously I wanted it, and a number of years later I am still not quite over it).

    And I vote that cute little cottage with the blue trim is our atypical clubhouse

    • Catherine says:

      Hi Juliet. Oh. I swear if I could have gotten away with it, I would have had an extra suitcase devoted to French grocery products–detergent and all!!!
      I that house not the cutest on earth??? Be still my heart!!! XOXOXOXO!!!!

  11. Great post.

  12. junedesilva says:

    I’m loving your posts about France – of course!! I’m back in the UK at the moment & my eldest son, his girlfriend & seven friends are enjoying a holiday in our French home 😳!! Thanks, too, for introducing me to Fragonard perfume. I can’t believe I hadn’t come across this brand before. I have also discovered that our Marks & Spencer has a limited stock of this perfume, so I treated myself to a little selection pack… I’ll let you know which one I like the best! Xoxo 😘

    • Catherine says:

      Thanks June!! I wish we were back–when are you leaving to get back to your home in France? I have another post coming up about the few hours Bonaparte and I spent on our return trip to Fragonard. I wanted to find a “summer” scent for my daughter, Oona. She has a difficult time with summer scents because many florals give her headaches!! Let me know which scent you liked!!! XOXOXOXOXO!!!!

      • junedesilva says:

        Not sure yet. Maybe September. I may be having a sneaky week out there with my sister and two nieces #only girls allowed!! So far, I like the patchouli & verveine. What did you choose for your daughter? Xoxo

  13. Penny says:

    Hi Catherine – your way with words and your detailed travel posts make me think you really ought to be a travel journalist! I mean, never say, never! It could happen. Just love everything about this blog post but I chuckled as I read the description of the group of Brits. British women don’t grow their hair long after 40. The majority of 40,50,60,70 year olds will have short hair and there is one particular style of a short straight haired club-cut bob with fringe that is near universal. Then women into their 80s usually have a perm. I’m not denigrating it because that’s how my hair was for nearly ten years. But hey, I’m going the American way – I’m growing my hair – woo hoo. And it feels liberating and slightly outrageous!

    Keep the posts coming xxxxxxxxx

    • Catherine says:

      Thanks Penny!! I’m glad that you chuckled upon my observation! But it’s true. And French women over 50 all seem to cut their hair boy short and dye it burgundy. And in the States–well, women are known to get god-awful perms!! I just wear wigs–LOL!!!I’m glad you are growing your hair and becoming lib’hair’rated!!!!! XOXOXOXOXO!!!!

  14. I went there é years ago and I loved it. It is a very nice city. I have to go back someday.

  15. LA CONTESSA says:

    I love those clothes drying racks!REMIND ME SO MUCH OF ITALY!!!!!!

    • Catherine says:

      OMG. Elizabeth. You nailed it! It took HOURS for the cycles to be done. I kind of like that though. The laundry rack. I need one like it because mine aren’t as sturdy!!! XXXOXOXOXO!!!

  16. Wow, quite a tour-I am trying to catch up with my reading.The land does look glorious and I bet that sun has something about whitening your clothes. I have some outside on a little line like that.

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