Football at the Côte d’Azur

As one of our last destinations on this trip, we chose Marseilles in the heart of the Côte d’Azur. To visit the South of France, was a good opportunity for us to catch up on another mentality with their own set of characteristics.

Marseille, the second biggest city in France, has a very mixed and vibrant vibe to it. Over the years, lots of people from northern African countries, like Algeria or Morocco, immigrated to Marseille in search of better opportunities in France and Europe. Therefore, there is a lot of diversity in Marseilles.

For the first time we experienced some language barriers in France. The stereotype of the weak English skills in the French society, is at least partly true. Fortunately, Bosse helped us out with his decent French knowledge and translated. Nonetheless this challenge made us realize that without sufficient language skills this trip would not have been possible. Our multilingual abilities were a prerequisite for this project (Bosse speaks German, English and some French while Onur is fluent in English and Turkish). Thus, for a better understanding within Europe learning languages is of high importance.

Despite language hurdles, we had the chance to discover more of the South of France. Aside from the big city Marseille, the Côte d’Azur offers some overwhelmingly beautiful nature, small villages and hidden beaches with clear blue water.

We got the chances to play some football with a group of young Frenchs. Aside from physical activity this encounter offered us an opportunity to talk about politics. They expressed to us how frustrated and disappointed they were with their government.

In general in France, we encountered a certain ambivalence between Macron, who is a progressive leader working for a stronger European Union. Domestically however, he receives a lot of criticism especially from the younger generation. For nearly a year now the gilet jaunes (Yellow Vest Movement) have been protesting against his government or as they say “the establishment”. The gilet jaunes movement in itself is not uncontroversial. During their protests they have clashed with police and rioted in the streets, leaving shops and cars destroyed. On the other hand, the protest against the “high-class establishment” has received a lot of support from French society.

With Marseille, we finished our tour through the European South. It was encouraging and educational to see how young people in these countries think about the future of the EU before we made our way to our last destination London.