Sunshine, one of the fundamentals of life in the South…
The people of Marseille and sunshine – a genuine love story
We've all heard someone from Marseille saying to a foreigner (foreigner = someone who does not live in Marseille) "but the weather's not nice where you live, it's always sunny here!"
Sunshine is one of our region's top assets and the thing that means we can spend our lives sipping aperitifs on café terraces, sunbathing in the 'calanques' fjords, playing boules with our mates and napping in a hammock… And it's the sunshine that gives the people of Provence their legendary joie de vivre too!
The sunny 'Vieux Port'
Did you know our region bathes in sunshine 233 days a year? That's a record for France, not to mention the fact that sunlight has a big impact on our mood.
It is scientifically proven that light is very important to humans: someone who lives in a place where the sun rarely shines will tend to be irritable, tired and even depressed… Just look at the Parisians! (only joking). Conversely, people who live in sunny climes tend to be more positive, cheerful and dynamic!
Most activities in our beautiful city revolve around the sun, so you can see just how important it is:
- Boules: you simply can't play boules in the rain
- Aperitif: a nicely-chilled rosé in the rain is meaningless
- Beach: you can't swim when it's cold
- BBQ: cooking a beef rib in a downpour is simply silly
- Walking in the 'calanques' fjords: not at all sexy in a raincoat
- Sport: the siesta is our national sport and you can't nap properly in a storm
- Fishing: getting your rod out in the wind isn't the best idea
- Tanning: you're welcome to try without sunshine
- Doing nothing: boring when the weather's bad
And that's why the word 'soleil' rhymes with 'Marseille'!
The life in the sun
Sun on the sea
Apart from being important to people, sunshine has also had a huge influence on our Mediterranean culture.
Our region's climate has inspired many artists. Top names that come to mind are Paul Cézanne, who strived to render the quality of light of the South using his very special colour blends, Vincent Courdouan, known for his very detailed skies, Georges Braque with his chunky and colourful splashes of colour, Louis-Mathieu Verdilhan and his dazzling blues and François Nardi, who loved depicting sun-drenched landscapes.
The sun has also carved out our Mediterranean cuisine: the local vegetables, produce and recipes all exhale heat and good humour. Here are just a few examples: Tapenade and Panisse, perfect with the aperitif, Anchoïade, traditionally served on Fridays, Bouillabaisse when the day's catch is good, Soupe au Pistou in summer, Pan Bagnat for a picnic on the beach, old-fashioned Octopus.
"The sun makes me sing, you make me sweat" – Provencal saying
We are Anaïs and Pedro, we love loads of things, like the States, Japan, pizzas, Motorhead, Vietnamese food and karaoke… On our blog, we talk about our travels and the places we love in Marseille and elsewhere. We also host really fun evening events from time to time.
Whether it's served hot with a salad, used to crown a cheese platter, or savoured fresh with honey or olive oil, goat's cheese is an absolute culinary must. Provence's dry, sunny climate is perfect for goat breeding -and that's lucky for us!
A gourmet treat…
Provence has been famed for its candied fruit from time immemorial. In the early 16th century, the region was fairly impoverished. Fruit grew here in abundance, but much of it was lost every year.
In a sauce or salad, red is the colour!
Not having qualifications doesn't mean your life is ruined
Can anyone resist an almond? Everyone raves about these little nuggets of happiness you can savour every which way – fresh, dried, whole, grilled, sliced, ground or made into a cream or milk!
The Gourmet's New Eldorado
It had all but disappeared from the markets, but then – perhaps as a result of Halloween arriving in France – squash made a big comeback on our stalls just over a decade ago
It all starts with a crushed clove...
Provencal cuisine simply wouldn't exist without garlic
Francis lived happily close beside his tree...
Picked ripe from the tree, figs are simply to die for. They can also be scattered on trays and left to dry in the sun for 3 days: "That's the best way to keep your figs all winter – we serve figs at Christmas as one of Provence's famous 13 Desserts," smiles Jacqueline Honoré.
A story that will make you turn to jelly...
As yellow as sunshine and as warm as a winter fireplace... The quince isn't very pretty, but the people of Provence love it. You could even say that a passion has been born between this irregular-shaped fruit, somewhat resembling a dented, rustic pear and our lovers of jams, jellies and pastes.
When we talk about the South of France, what's the first thing we think of? The MEDITERRANEAN SEA! (and the sun of course – it's all part of the package).