Yesterday, I decided to go to Marseille to visit the brand new museum Mucem. Mucem is supposed to be about the Mediterranean sea. I didn’t really know what to expect. I just wanted to give it a try. I hadn’t been to Marseille for the last 15 years. The light was fantastic. And the sea, well, nothing tops up the Mediterranean sea.
Part of the museum is brand new, and in a black, rectangular building that dominates the entrance of the old harbour. The other part is in an ancient fortress. You can get from one building to the other using small metallic bridges from the top of each building. The mixture of old and new just works. Sometimes, in the new building, you don’t know whether you are inside or outside. Despite its rectangular shape, the new building’s design is quite elaborated, with light coming through intricated metallic structures.
The museum is about all the civilisations around the Mediterranean sea. We all have nationalities and labels: French, British, American, Chinese…but the Mediterranean sea transcends nationalities. Marseille was trading with other cities around the Mediterranean sea long before it became a French city. Marseille had strong ties with Istanbul. Of course the Mediterranean sea was used for wars and invasions. All main religions are represented around the Mediterranean. This made me wonder: is there such a thing as a Mediterranean identity? After all, I might be French, but I grew up here. My childhood and my education would have been very different in Paris or Strasbourg. Maybe, just maybe, despite all the different religions, conflicts and skin colours, there is such a thing as growing up on the Mediterranean. And that’s where I am from, whether I like it or not.
Never before had I felt so close to myself and my roots. However, at the same time I felt so far away from this world now.
And an old dream of mine eventually resurfaced: going on a road trip all around the Mediterranean. This is something I wanted to do when I was 20. I didn’t do it: I was to busy starting a career at the time. Maybe, just maybe, it is time to fulfill more of my dreams…
Muriel – A French Yummy Mummy In London