Corbusier – an anti climax?

‘That’s the building,’ says Gentleman Steve. ‘Look, no satellite dishes.’ He grins knowledgeably. ‘Or if it’s not that one, it’s somewhere else in Marseille.’

He looks less eminent now, but his ramblings have been accurate thus far. ‘No, I have it on good authority. It’s definitely that one.’ As it turns out, it isn’t.

We’re looking for Corbusier’s Unite d’Habitation, nicknamed “House of the Crazy”, and it isn’t opposite the stadium as first thought. Steve has got the right street though; a fifteen-minute walk brings us to a housing slab, raised above ground on sculpted legs.

‘Ah, the iconic street in the sky,’ he says. In 1947-52, to combat post-war overcrowding, a scheme to build upwards was introduced.

To be honest, it’s an anticlimax. Unless you’re an architect, the building won’t send shivers down your spine – you know, the sort of shivers that emanate from having your earlobe nibbled, or inner thigh stroked. But for some reason, I’m drawn to these things.

I guess it’s like knowing that a revolutionary hydrogen engine is on display nearby; it may be as dull as dishwater to the non-motoring enthusiast, but I feel I ought to make the effort to see it.

Anyway, that’s it for the south of France. I haven’t had time to visit my manicurist in St Tropez, yet we’re heading once again up to Paris. Maybe I could finally get some washing done there?..