The second largest and the oldest city in France with a population of 852,395, Marseilles is located in on the southeast coast of France by the Mediterranean Sea and is the capital of the Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur region. It enjoys a Mediterranean climate with average summer temperatures of 23 – 24˚C and a holiday season that lasts from May to October.
Founded in 600BC as a Greek trading port in the 18th century it was France's leading military port in the Mediterranean. In the early 20th century it celebrated its 'port of the Empire' status through the colonial exhibitions of 1906 and 1922. The grand staircase at the Gare de Marseilles-Saint-Charles is a continuing monument to this period and was opened in 1926.
Today Marseilles boasts an economy based on high technology and tourism.
The Massif des Maures is a succession of forested ridges and hills stretching from Hyères to Frèjus, forming part of the Provence costal range which starts in the east with the Massif du Tanneron near Cannes, continues west through the Massif de I'Esterel, Massif des Maures, Massif le Sainte Baume and ends with the Massif des Calanques at Marseille. Reaching 800m or 2600ft at its highest point, the Massif des Maures is bounded by the valleys of the Gapeau and Argens rivers to the north and the Mediterranean Sea to the south.
A Victoria is a low, light four-wheeled carriage with a calash top, a seat for two passengers, and a perch in front for the driver.
It reached the height of its popularity in the Victorian era.
In heraldry, an armorial shield or escutcheon is the shield employed in a coat of arms. Today it is commonly referred to as a crest, and takes its shape from the shields used by medieval knights in combat.
A lovelock is a long, flowing lock or curl dressed separately from the rest of the hair. A popular style in the 17th century, lovelocks were longer than the rest of the hair and were treated as special features often curled into a long ringlet, braided, or tied at the end with a ribbon or rosette. They were worn by both men and women, but were particularly popular with young men. They were the subject of some scandal, with contemporary author William Prynne describing the wearing of lovelocks as, "unlovely, sinfull, unlawfull, fantastique, disolute, singular, incendiary, ruffianly, graceless, whorish, ungodly, horred [horrid], strange, outlandish, impudent, pernicious, offensive, ridiculous, foolish, childish, unchristian, hateful, exorbitant, contemptible, sloathfull, unmanly, depraving, vaine, and unseemly" .
A steamer is, quite simply, a ship or boat powered by steam. In this context Rosemary’s mother is referring to the ocean going liners, of which the ill fated Titanic was one, that were the primary method of trans-Atlantic transport in the early 20th century. The popularity of air travel in the second half of the 20th century lead to the decline in the use of ocean liners and the RMS Queen Mary 2 is the only one remaining in active service today.
Buick is the oldest actively producing American brand of motor car. Today it is a part of General Motors, but it originated as the Buick Auto-Vim and Power Company in 1899 and was incorporated as the Buick Motor Company on 19th May 1903 in Detroit, Michigan by David Dunbar Buick. Later that year the then struggling company was taken over by James H. Whiting who moved production to his hometown of Flint, Michigan. The first Buick made for sale was the Model B in 1904 and by the end of the first two decades of the 20th century Buick was the largest car producer in the United States having purchased a number of other brands to form General Motors. Of the brands that comprised General Motors at the time Buick was the second most prestigious, with only Cadillac being considered more exclusive, and was targeted towards the comfortably well off.
Given that the Buick here is described as “faded” it is likely a late Edwardian model as opposed to a new 1920s one.
The name peignoir comes from the French verb ‘peigner’ meaning to comb and refers to a long, frequently sheer women’s outer garment. Originally a peignoir would have been worn whilst combing one’s hair, hence the name, but by the late 19th and early 20th centuries it was primarily a boudoir item worn over nightwear or undergarments in the bedroom.
Sorrento is a small town in the Campania region of Southern Italy overlooking the Bay of Naples with a view of Mount Vesuvius and a present day population of 16,547 persons. An ancient town pre dating even the rule of the Roman Empire it has had many rulers, including a period as an autonomous duchy, before becoming annexed to the newly formed Kingdom of Italy in 1861. From that time on it grew in popularity as a tourist destination, a trend that continues today.
The historic Hotel Excelsior Vittoria, one of the grandest hotels in Italy, opened in Sorrento in 1834 on a site on which it is rumoured that Roman Emperor Augustus once had a villa. Down the years it has played host to many wealthy persons, Royalty and celebrities. In 1921 the famous tenor, Enrico Caruso, stayed there and the suite has been conserved as it was then, with the same décor, furnishings and the piano that he composed on. In later years it would boast guests such as Princess Margaret and Marilyn Monroe.