Notre Dame de la Garde is a very clear example of the psychology of faith. In a city that was founded by sea-farers, build a beacon that can be seen from way out to sea. (The French word for lighthouse, 'phare', and the nickname for Marseille, 'la cite Phoceenne', are tangled in my head, so that I want to call Marseille 'la cite Phareenne', the city of lighthouses.) When you come safely back to shore, pay your respects - and in cases of near-escape from death, leave a token of gratitude for your delivery.
The ex-votos hanging in the church - models of ships, paintings of ships, plaques with names and dates - are endlessly fascinating to me.
Be warned, it is a long walk up the hill and this time, rather than cycle, I got the bus. I did walk back down though and, in what has become something of a birthday tradition, ordered a Dame Blanche to replenish my strength.
Vanilla ice cream, creme chantilly, hot chocolate sauce. Oh la la. One bite and I was twelve years old again.
From Notre Dame de la Garde to la Dame Blanche. Two forms of spiritual pilgrimage, you might say.