marseille, france. june 2015

My route in South of France, mainly self drive, except my final 2 days in Marseille.

My route in South of France, mainly self drive, except my final 2 days in Marseille, which I practically stayed inside my 4.5 star hotel, restaurant and bar.

I spent 6 days in South of France with several stops. Firstly I picked up an Europcar at Marseille Airport then i drove to Montpellier for 3 nights’ stay.  I chose Montpellier as my station because I could drive to other parts from that region, such as Nimes and Avignon.  When I arrived at Montpellier I decided to turn off my GPS and have some freedom in finding my own way; getting lost was part of the plan.  I highly recommend everyone to turn off their GPS, let yourself go, even in your home city.  It is very liberating.  Listening to that voice in the GPS is a bit like the voice in your head.

On my third day, I left Montpellier for Perpignan to a planned photo shoot with Mister Men France Jess Vill.  After the photo shoot, I dined solo at a restaurant that is part Spanish / French I spent an adventurous night at Perpignan, read on to see how eventful it was.  Overall I did not enjoy Marseille, not because I crashed into another car on the highway after a peaceful drive on the 140km/h freeway.  (I paid the other driver 100 euro to get out of the situation (Afterall it was my fault) 100 Euro = AUD 150 is nothing to Aussies, because in Sydney you would be paying at least AUD 300 for a scratch anyway) I did not quite planned anything as my shoot with a model was cancelled.  Marseille is a messy city, the only pleasant scenery is what i have captured below.  I enjoyed Montpellier and Perpignan though.  The architecture at Montpellier is stunning with lots of open plaza, another side is fused with arts and culture, coffee shop with narrow alleyways.

As for accommodation in Marseille, I recommend Mama Shelter, a boutique hotel designed by world famous French Industrial Designer Philippe Starck.  This is his second establishment I have visited, Starck also has a designer building based in Sydney, although it’s residential. Don’t take my word for it, take a look at their website.  Actually do take my words for it, I often stay at ‘Design Hotels’ in major cities, but with Starck as the designer behind this project, you cannot go wrong.

While I was in Perpignan I had a near death experience, at around 2am (only because I didn’t want to go into this gay club, not knowing anyone is slightly frightening. I don’t even go to clubs in Sydney, I am a culture kid.. not a club kid.) I decided to drive my Renault up the mountain to the highest peak, I followed the GPS and I ended up driving up this narrow path in the darkness which later I found out it’s only made for pilgrims, but I was already half way up so I peddled on.  Then I was driving through this broken road with petrol cans on the roadside and a lot of loose gravels and obstructions lying about.  When I got up to the destination ‘Le Château de Quéribus‘, my front wheels got stuck between two big rocks, the sensor inside my car didn’t help.. it kept on beeping everytime I was near something on the road – drove me nuts. I prayed to God that my car would not roll down the hill,.. well i mean mountain (trying to down play the drama here).  I opened my left door and I was glaring down the mountain below.. FML.. Pardon me..I mean F.M.L.   First time that I feared for my life, it was not even about ‘fear of height‘ more so ‘how i didn’t want to die this way – splat like pancakes is not my ideal way to go‘  After half an hour of struggle backing the car out from the rocks I drove down that mountain and never looked back.. Below are few photos i captured.  YES – my car was fully insured and  you should have seen the damages.. but I guess driving in France is not uncommon to see damages with any vehicles.

Travel Tips:

  1. You must have full insurance for rental car, especially in Euroepan countries, mostly it’s not your fault, people park their cars everywhere, even on curbs, diagonal in front of shops.  But of course in my case, it is always my fault.
  2. You have the car, you want to free your mind.. Turn off the GPS, let yourself be free, just get lost a little.  Always remember to install your dating app, at desperate times you can log on and cry for help.  I did and I met someone who was willing to save me when I had no idea where I was.  He guided me around the country side the whole day afterwards.

The Château de Quéribus is a ruined castle in the commune of Cucugnan in the Aude département of France. It has been listed as a monument historique by the French Ministry of Culture since 1907

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