An account* of a leisurely lunch in Marseille followed by a slightly rushed meeting with an intriguing band ...
In the time it took to finish off a plate of spaghetti alle vongole on the Vieux Port, Marseille's famous waterfront location and home to the exotic musical ensemble that is Moussu T, I counted five wedding parties going by in noisy processions of cars.
There were garlands streaming from each vehicle, horns blaring, passengers stretched out through open windows. Each convoy presented a classic French wedding-day scene witnessed in countless towns and cities every Saturday, but each was distinctly multi-racial.
A vibrant point of entry and exit for Europe and the Maghreb, Marseille generally rises above the occasional advances of Marine Le Pen's anti-immigration Front National to show a united front. It is a long way from perfection, as demonstrated in chilly fashion by the rounds of Chicago-style score-settling among underworld factions, but in no city of France do different ethnic groups rub along more harmoniously.