dimanche 16 août 2009
I think I've about had it with this city.
It was good, especially the first year I was here, to live in a big city where I could get around easily, go to my French courses, meet other foreigners, go to the US Consulate, Prefecture, (on a bi-weekly basis) doctor's appointments, etc. easily.
But now? Over it.

The problem? Alain really likes Marseille.
He thinks it is great to be able to go to museums, movies, the beach, and all the rest. Me too. The only thing wrong with that is- we never do any of that stuff! I guess partly because our life the past three years has been:
Apartment Work Apartment Work Apartment, that we haven't gotten out much, but basically right now pretty much all this city is for me is:
1) hard to find parking
2) traffic jams coming home from work, and
3) dirty.
For the past few years, City Hall has invested a lot of money trying to improve Marseille and Marseille's image- hiring more street cleaners, putting up signs with things like "I am proud of my city- I keep it clean." Yeah right. After all this campaigning and probably hundreds of thousands of euros spent, the most I can say is slightly less dog poop and a smidge less trash. Woohoo.

People toss candy wrappers out their car windows, drop their soda cans as they are walking down the street, and don't even get me started on cigarette butts. Even INSIDE our building we have people who drop their cigarettes in the entranceway and on the stairs. Who cares? It's not chez eux. The cleaning lady (who comes once a week or less) will clean it up.
No wonder tourists avoid it like the plague and prefer to go visit cities like Aix, Avignon, Arles. Even the cruise ships that stop here, the visitors seem to either make a beeline for a day in Paris or else go visit the countryside.

When you ask someone who loves Marseille exactly why they love Marseille, you will most likely get an answer along these lines: "The sea!" "The Calanques!" "The islands!" In short, the things that the Marseillais themselves have nothing to do with.
Marseille has been elected the European Capital of Culture for the year 2013. This should be interesting folks.
The thing is, that the city could be really nice if it would just be a whole lot cleaner- there are nice neighborhoods, nice restaurants and stores, lively markets, museums, an opera, and all the rest. It is also true that there are some very nice areas- places we couldn't afford after a century of saving. But in general, it pretty much averages out to cesspool.
Perhaps I will feel a bit differently once we are able to start enjoying life a bit more.

6 commentaires:

Starman a dit…

I think the number one reason that people avoid Marseille is the crime. Until quite recently, Marseille was the only French city about which travelers were warned to be wary of crime. And not just crime, but violent crime. Even now, there are travelogues that warn against gong into certain parts of the city after dark. If they city government really wants to clean the place, they need to address that problem first and foremost.

mdgirl a dit…

The city needs a young, hip, fun area. Too bad the "vieux port" is scary.

screamish a dit…

I understand...it took me six years to reach this point with Marseille. When i lived in a nice bourgois area it was clean and safe and there was nothing to do. When i lived in the centre of town the things i saw from my window were the types of things no one shoud ever have to see from their window, if you know what i mean. Knife fights, drug deals, car chases, etc etc.

i would love to go back to Marseille but its the kind of city thats great if you have heaps of money, you can live in the 8eme with a burglar alarm close to the beach and sip rosé with well to do friends in their enormous villas and slum it now and then.

Or live the artistic Cours Julien life and paint pictures or sculpt and be poor bt live in a vibrant community.

But ifyou're just a normal person with an average job, stuck in the traffic/train/non-functioning metro/bus for a 3 hours a day commute, well...

I dont know- Marseille has always been a place i ADORED one day, and despised the next. At least its got character!

Cynthia in the French Alps a dit…

Sounds like living in Italy (did that for 3 years). I live in Chambery in the French Alps. It's a very clean city and quiet but so are the people. Very reserved, unfriendly, not too crazy about foreigners so I must admit I miss some of the friendly, loud, animated energy of the Italians! I guess there's no perfect place in any country. Cynthia

Dedene a dit…

As much as I loved and still love Paris, I don't regret moving out into the country.
Maybe Alain will come to his senses and you'll be able to move somewhere a little safer and cleaner.

poppy fields a dit…

Don't move to my town...we got robbed today...byebye all jewelry,

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