As much as I like the summer sun during the day, I visited the beach area along Avenue Pierre Mendès France during evening hours to experience the soft light that comes before dusk. There was the Nocturne de Marseille happening, a 5km-run organised by the Lions Club of Marseille, dedicated to the association against blindness and help for the visually impaired. Young and old participated in this sunset run that took them through the enticing Borely park to the seaside where the road was closed off to traffic, especially for this event.
A bit farther up, in one corner of the long city coast line, that continues along the Calanques, you can see what many people do after work – they go to the beach with family and friends. Contained parking lots can be found along the avenue, and large grass fields stretch to the sandy beaches where people picnic, play games, do yoga, skate board, jump on a trampoline, ride the ferris wheel, and take a dip in the Mediterranean sea.
The beach area is well visited but is not noisy. The quiet atmosphere that the dusk-hours bring makes it even more special. It is a relaxing affair for taking photos although the light keeps changing fast as well as the sky colors, and brightly lit subjects turn into silhouettes. I noticed three friends standing at the deep colored sunset while being completely absorbed in checking their smartphones. Lovers of nature while keeping themselves active on WhatsApp.
The river L’Huveaune ends here in the sea, and with the sunset-calm it looked perfect. The small river has its source about 50km away at the 1147m-high mountain-ridge Sainte Baume, and finally winds itself through the city of Marseille, joining the Mediterranean sea here at La Plage – The Beach. The last part of this river is used for canoe and kayak training.
The best colors happen after the sun has set, adding even more to the magic. At the busy intersection La Plage, Churros are sold, a fried dough pastry of Spanish origin that is served with hot chocolate. That, or Italian ice-cream – gelato, at the next shop. This is also the area where a circus would park its caravans and plant their huge tents, and where summer parties for the young are organised by the local government. Marseille beach life is quiet yet dynamic.