Blé de Noël

I don’t know what I was thinking on the summer night I bought the tickets for the Marseille GPF, I remember hating website because the javascript was (suspiciously) not working on the English page and consequently having to guess at the French page with the help of a friend on a forum. It was late, it was midweek and too warm, but after all, this is where I ended up sitting.

I think it’s called deferred gratification.


I watched the reruns of the final on tv a few days later and it was fun but also a little distracting. I’m practically in all the short programs and all the free programs. I’m even on the ShibSibs’ blog (min. 5.13)! People will start noticing I’m wearing the same ski jacket as last year in Barcelona, when I was right behind the men’s podium. At least I’m not in the Barcelona crown on the final episodes of Yuri On Ice, I checked.

Anyway, the ice was good, the venue small, the public scarce and mostly Japanese. This was to be expected I guess, since Marseille is hardly a winter sports town. Still it was a pity for Papadakis and Cizeron who struggled a bit and definitely could have used more support. Virtue Moir were truly amazing though. Scott took the ice and stared at us in a menacing way. I remember when I first saw them in Turin many years ago, they were so tall, commanding, intimidating. They’re still like that, plus they’re training with Marie France Dubreil now and they’ve got nothing to lose. They treated us to a new world record, no less.

Pair and ladies were most enjoyable, with a few unexpected disappointments. Men’s short was generally excellent (but Shoma looked injured), free not so much (at least Shoma was feeling better).

I saw some very sparkly costumes, I always forget how much they sparkle live, please Evgenia Medvedeva keep on sparkling, but my favourite bit remains attending the practice. Hanyu in UnderArmour is probably the best thing that ever happened to figure skating, trust me.

After all, the only real drawback of going to competitions is that they won’t let you skate yourself. That’s sad. All that ice, all those skates. The mixed zone, the benches, the mats for warming up. And you’re not even allowed to bring your own skates!

The other drawbacks pale in comparison. For example, food was terrible as usual around the venue and this time you were even forbidden bringing your own snacks and water, which was uncomfortable. It was either venue junk food or starvation. But I was warned about it (on the above mentioned forum) so I booked a place with a kitchen, for late dining and stuff. Also the medals were made of plastic (sic), the flags at the medal ceremony were digital on a screen and during the competitions the scores on the same screen were so small that nobody could read them except for the Japanese ladies who had been so wise as to bring binoculars all the way from Japan.

But you’ve seen where I was sitting, so I really can’t complain. My Pooh landed on the ice very easily, when time came for poohs to be thrown on the ice.

Also unfortunately Marseille is worryingly polluted so going around is not very pleasant and the only way to escape the diesel fumes, the cigarette smoke and the general lack of mistral is the lovely promenade leading to the rooftop of the Mucem.


They sell these cute postcards by local illustrator Cépé at Mucem bookstore but there is no trace of them online.

But oh the food in town, the Mediterranean herbs, the chocolate, the goat cheese, and some Corsica wine.