Maurice was helping his son do some work and I decided to tag along. It seems like I was just in Marseille, which isn’t a bad thing, and I decided to take a look at an area that I haven’t explored before. I started at the Vieux Port and instead of walking along the usual quai where all of the restaurants are and also the way up to the cathedral, I went to the other side where the Hotel de Ville is located and started up the hill-Marseille is very hilly-into what is called the Panier. It is full of stairs and narrow streets, interesting doors and windows and was a great place to explore while waiting for Maurice and his son to finish.
Marseille is the setting for a very popular soap opera, Plus Belle a Vie, shown every week night in France, even though in reality most of it is filmed in Paris. It comes on at the same time as the news and more people watch the soap opera than listening to reality. I even read an article about the show in the New York Times about its popularity and the fact that the show has a website featuring the actors and telling where you can buy the clothes seen on the show. The site says over 15 million people have visited. Maurice likes this show and will watch it when we are home. I’ve tried to get into it but the French is very fast and I miss most of the conversations. It’s based on five families and their interactions. In my opinion-no one wrote to ask-they change the plots too quickly. I guess I am used to the American soap opera where a problem can go on for months but in this show show plots are over in weeks. I sort of got interested in one story in which a man connected with the mafia-apparantly there is a lot of mafia activity in Marseille-gets engaged to a girl. Then he meets her brother and they have a fling. I guess the mafia guy is bi. Anyway, the girl catches them kissing and tries to break off the engagement but he forces her-I’m not sure how, maybe threat of death?-to marry him anyway. I’m wondering how this all is going to play out when, whamo, there is gun fire and he disappears. It’s never made clear if he is dead or not. A week later the girl shows up at her work looking happy and as if none of this ever happened and is soon dating again. This month she is in love with a priest. They have a huge cast and I’m always getting confused about who is who, especially when there are three teenagers with long brown hair. Anyway, I took this photo because apparantly people are always in this area looking for places the soap opera is filmed but they won’t find the main bar-it’s not real. This is a store selling tourist items from the show.