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The Night We Got Locked out of the PARKING GARAGE in Marseille

It was an uncharacteristically balmy night in old Marseille.



Curve (Photo credit: iko)


After several very cold days and staying indoors way too much we finally had tickets for the Cinema on Prado to see LINCOLN.   But It wasn’t going to be an ordinary night…….although it started off quite sane and normal.
We were early for the film, so we strolled Prado and dodged dog poop.  It’s getting better, or perhaps the rains have washed a lot of it away.  It doesn’t bother us anymore……..we have “radar” that advances so far ahead, that even with my near sightedness – it is spotted farther than a fishing line is cast, I swear it to you.


The street was now virtually still, but that’s because we had been in the very center of the worst traffic a half hour earlier.


Apparently rush hour is exactly from 4:30 to 5:30, because we were stuck in it for a full hour upon leaving IKEA on the outskirts of the city.


Thus, our usual plan of parking for FREE at the BRITISH COUNCIL, where David works, was nixed (by  moi) as I thought we should get closer to the theatre.  Parking for free, at the BC, though secure and easy, requires waiting for Bus 19 to Castelane, standing in rushhour madness for 15 minutes on that bus,  and then walking backwards to the theatre.  So, I urged my husband to park in the CASTELANE underground parking.  Our little car slid down the steep ramp and little lights set into the pavement greeted us.  Plenty of openings! We were in luck!


Parking garage

Parking garage (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


We walked to our Cinema Theatre through the metro entrance.  (Very convenient for persons needing to park and take the metro and then train to various towns. )


After our pleasant stroll dodging doo doo, we made our way into the plush theatre and sat in bright red cushioned seats for LINCOLN.    Ofcourse, an amazing film, though even as I boast a certain relative who was a Confederate General in that Civil War, my historical knowledge of that particular 13th amendment was severely lacking.


After the film we had dinner at Paulaner, nearby underneath clear glass  and plastic covering indoor/outdoor little dining room.


Candles glowed and sticks of sawgrass in corners added texture and ambience.   The wine was good, the entrees very fresh – so much in fact that my husband is now used to my frequent expression…….”Ah….isn’t that a lovely plate, but alas, the head is still on.  Oh well, I can cover his eyes and be okay.  It’s definitely fish, freshly caught!”  And it was delectable.


It’s getting close to midnight now.   Eating dinner in France is always very late……so we head now for the parking garage with the little lights in the floor.


Castelane - Marseille

Castelane – Marseille (Photo credit: Josélito TIRADOS)


We cross at Castelane by the big pointed statue and head down the steps to the garage. It’s sealed.  I mean the shutters are down, there is no opening.  We go back up and head down the metro entrance.  It’s also shuttered tight.  It says overt 7:30 and ferme at 19;30.  That’s odd, we were sure it was a flashing 24/24 when we slid down the ramp 5 hours earlier……..what the heck?


I won’t go into the dialogue, but let’s just say that it was lively, loud  – words were flying everywhere all up into the high apartments above us as lights came on in front of us and which resulted in perhaps waking up souls in those apartments because that’s just the way it goes sometimes.   Alas, there is no way some situations are not going to bring about certain dialogs of………..


“  SHOULD HAVE,   COULD HAVE,   WOULD HAVEs ” – so,      from afar,    it probably looked a bit – shall we say – theatrically comical?


After a call to a friend, who had a friend who had a taxi service and after the conversation on the phone with the taxi driver we nixed the 65 euros that it would cost to take us up and over the mountain to our home in Cassis.


Plan C was to now find the CITADINES where we stayed when we first arrived in Marseille 5 months ago while  researching  apartments.   It was an extended stay sort of hotel and they gave British Council members a discount.  On the way towards The Citadines, I see an IBIS Hotel.  We get points there, so……sometimes the “Pollyanna”  I say, “hey, that’s a bonus, right? “    Then the miracle happens.


This clerk who had every motive to sell us a room for the night tells us in beautiful English “ I think that you might be able to get in at a particular entrance. I would love to book you a room, but if you want your car, I think that you can get it.”  He then proceeds to WALK us OUT of the IBIS to the Street, taking us part way up and pointing to exactly where we need to enter to find an opening so that we can get into the parking garage.    We thank him profusely and head towards the spot.  I’m the first to see the ramp down and it’s closed. Sealed. Then I cross the street leaving my husband standing under the bright neon 24/24 Parking sign.  I see this is no ramp – it’s stairs so gingerly walk down them and see it’s – ofcourse –  locked.


A- HA!  There is an intercom .  Pressing it – I am thinking that NO ONE is going to answer…….I begin:  “HELLO, – BONSOIR!   ma voiture est ici. J’ai besoin de ma voiture d’ici.  OKAY?”       (“My car is in here.  I need my car that’s in here. okay?” )


Some noise…and then OUI Madame……and then a buzz and voilà!  The door was opened!
The rest is history.  We drove on the moonlit Gineste D559 to our little abode in Cassis.  Our newly made bed with flea market sheets  had a big hole in it –


but alas, those sheets were clean, they were a pretty color and most of all – it was OUR BED.


Sometimes that’s all you need.   😉


4 Comments Post a comment
  1. Always an adventure for you two! I am ready for an adventure in three months!!

    February 2, 2013
  2. Allyson king #

    Glad the night ended well for you and David. What a wonderful story! I see the book forming before my eyes! Keep them coming! Big hugs to you and David.

    February 2, 2013
  3. I think this is my favorite story so far, but I am a hopeless romantic! Thanks for posting your adventures, I love them!

    February 4, 2013

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