The Vieux Port in Marseille has just inaugurated the new ferry boat which can transport 45 people across the 250 metres that separates one side of the port from the other. This 13m vessel, built in near-by Martigues is a modern replacement for the ferry Cesar which ferried passengers across the port for 55 years. And modern it is – sliding electric doors are powered by solar panels on the roof.
Admittedly it lacks some of the charm of its predecessor. Although it is only a 2 minute journey across to the other side it does provide a great photo opportunity.
Marseille residents have always been looking for a quick way to reach both shores. Before the ferry, people could get across on the Transbordeur. This enormous contraption was set at 86m high. It's cable operated platform, which moved along just grazing the surface of the sea, served as an aerial taxi for cars and people alike. When large sailboats wanted to get in and out of the port, the platform would simply wait for them to pass before crossing. The top of each pillar was home to a restaurant which recalls the one in the Eiffel Tour today (set at 125 m). The Transbordeur was in full boom until WWII when one of the anchoring pillars was completely demolished in 1944.