December 2008


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The République Libre du Frioul: The archipelago of Frioul is located off Marseilles (twenty minutes by boat). It is made of the three islands of If, Pomègues and Ratonneau. The smallest island, If, is famous for its fortress (popularized by Alexandre Dumas in his novel Le Comte de Monte-Cristo), where Edmond Dantes was imprisoned.

(Photo of the archipelago was taken from a billboard on the kiosk for tickets for a cruise trip to Frioul islands: website: Frioul If Express)

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The Old Port is the cradle of the history of Marseilles. It is called “old” in relation to the new port of Joliette (from mid-19th century).

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Built in 1535, the hôtel de Cabre is the oldest house in Marseilles. In 1954 during the reconstruction of the city after the war, it was moved as a single piece and rotated 90 degrees to correspond to the new street layout.

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Notre-Dame de la Garde is a basilica located in Marseilles. This ornate Neo-Byzantine church is situated at the highest natural point on the south side of the Old Port. (Wikipedia)

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“Le Pouce” by French sculptor César Baldaccini represents the “symbol” of hitchhiking. The Thumb is a bronze sculpture based on a life-size cast of the artist’s thumb.

Designed in 1965, this sculpture weighs 18 tonnes and has a height of 12 metres. One of the three creations was purchased by a collector for US $1,745 million. The second one is at the Defense Quarter of Paris. The third one is in Marseilles, on the avenue de Hambourg.

César Baladaccini (1921-1998): César was born in Marseilles, where he studied art before going on to study in Paris from 1943 to 1948. His early work used soldered and welded metal as well as junk materials, and by 1960 César was considered one of France’s leading sculptors. In that year he astonished his followers by showing three crushed cars at a Paris exhibition. It was for these ‘Compressions’ that César became renowned. Like Arman and Jean Tinguely, César was part of the French New Realism movement which found its inspiration in urban life.

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