Monday, February 13, 2012

Somewhat Fishy Good Luck Charms

Whenever I go to Marseille I never miss going to see the fishmongers at the Vieux Port. Not only because you get to see real interesting species there but also because the Vieux Port is one of the most picturesque and beautiful places in this much (and undeservedly) maligned town.
When I recently went again I found a tiny stall selling this:
Claiming they were porte bonheurs (good luck charms) and telling me to always carry one in my money bag, the old lady selling them then showed me a little sign telling the story behind these "Eyes of St. Lucie".

In the fourth century Lucie sees her mother overcome a serious illness thanks to her prayers to the Virgin Mary. In order to give thanks she rips out her eyes and throws them into the sea. Moved by her devotion the Virgin Mary returns the eyesight to Lucie and makes her eyes even more beautiful and luminous than before. Ever since, these brightly orange tinted mussel gill covers are being associated with good luck and prosperity. This being most certainly true for the vendor who sells these somewhat fishy charms at one Euro a piece.....


  1. Barbara, I know of the story, but have never seen anything like this. When we first moved to Florida, we lived in Port St. Lucie. I then researched into the name. Thank you for sharing. Susan

  2. Wow, I have never seen anything like this! They look really interesting. Thanks for sharing!

  3. very interesting...completely new to me..
    just found your space...lovely space you have..
    great posts with nice presentation..
    Am your happy follower now..;)
    do stop by mine sometime..
    Tasty Appetite

  4. Very interesting and beautiful!


  5. Hello Barbara. Your post is provides encouragement for us to return to explore/visit Marseille again. Unfortunately, while I was eating lunch (Bouillabaisse) at Chez Fonfon at the Vallon des Auffes just off the Corniche Président John F Kennedy (I parked at the War Memorial there), my rental car was broken into and emptied. So I have been reluctant to go back but I know its a special town and I really want to go.

  6. @ Jay: Welcome to Cuisinedeprovence!
    @ Michel: I read about this in your blog and this is one advice I give to all my friends who visit Marseille - never leave anything in the car! I very much hope that you still enjoyed the bouillabaise Chez Fonfon - the very best in town!