Thursday, June 20, 2013

Mucem: Museum of Civilisations of Europe and the Mediterranean

Yesterday Diane and I rented a car to drive two hours to Marseilles to check out the progress of a city fast becoming an icon of cultural France.  

 The last time I was in Marseilles was 40 years ago and I was on my way to another destination.  I was told to stay in my hotel room and not come out without an escort.  So, I mostly did and don't remember a thing about the place. 

 I wanted to change my mind about Marseille being a seedy place full of thieves and pirates and that was part of my desire to go again.

At least down by the port there is so much new, a revitalization and sense of balanced order.  Cosmetic changes are only the beginning of aiding a population and changing a reputation but they are a great start.  

 Several warnings to watch our handbags, kept us aware of that we were visiting a small section of a big metropolis, but we also found the people helpful and friendly (which I can't always say about Nice).   

After a few errands and lunch we were off to the main attraction for the day:  Mucem ( Musée des civilisations de L'Europe & de la Méditerranée) which is housed beside the refurbished space of Fort Saint-Jean on the port at Marseilles and was newly opened June 7.  It is a revolutionary idea for a museum, combining so many aspect of culture in an array of sound and visuals.   Here are the first batch of photos.

Square where we found some tasty lunch.  That trompe l'oeil painting on that building was really deceiving.

This is actually a huge mirror installation at the port that I am photographing upwards 

an intriguing Salvador Dali sculpture

We will enter the fort by that overhead walkway

Diane on the walkway to Fort Saint-Jean

outdoor lounges at the fabulous grounds of the fort

One of several eating areas at the fort

Looking out to sea and the watchtower of the fort, gardens on the right

Looking down at the vegetable gardens one of 15 gardens, showing the metal irrigation ditches

Diane in front of the Mucem building designed by Rudi Riccioti 

the background cathedral marries well with the new structures and the refurbished fort 

The body of the building covers the walkways to the five floors and esplanade

Restaurants and lounge areas abound.  This is all free to the public, only the museum is an entry fee. Five euros for seniors, not bad for hours of fascinating exhibits

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