Okay, I'm happy to report that as of this morning, I've got one part of this upcoming journey, which is only the prelude to moving, fixed: I've booked myself to Marseille.
For those who are interested in the ins and outs of travel within Europe, I'll set down how I did this. I started by going to this site, which has all the cheapo airlines: Ryanair, eaSyjeT, Berlin Wings, and so on. It proved a little less than satisfactory: the search results came up with the starting-point and destination reversed, and then there were links for each airline. But those budget outfits sometimes have only one flight a day, and, serving peripheral airports a lot of the time, you can't always coordinate them. Thus, I could fly to London Gatwick on one budget flight, but then I'd have to connect an hour and a half earlier to one out of Luton. Which, not quite yet being the master of space and time I aspire to be, I just couldn't do.
So I ran the changes at Mobissimo, a pioneering early search engine, which has the disadvantage of not including the Ryanairs of the world in its search. BA came up cheapest, but running a close second was Brussels Air, which is part of what became of Sabena when it fell apart. And I discovered I could get a flight out of Berlin at a convenient hour, make a quick transfer in Brussels, and then be in Marseilles in time for lunch, all for less than €200. Of course, I realized too late, I'd also be in time to make a leisurely transfer for my flight to Morocco, had I booked it on the right day. So now I've added the price of a hotel and a couple of meals to the trip. Stupid.
But one thing I can do is use Mobissimo to check out hotels in Aix and Marseille, or maybe even Priceline. That's going to have to wait, though, until my bank account fills up again. I'd forgotten how expensive euros are for those of us who earn in dollars.
I also checked flying back from Montpellier and discovered that not only could I fly Ryanair for free (plus 29 euros tax or something and a few more in charges, so no, not free), but I could even switch to Germanair or something for another 39-euro flight. I'm considering it, but I hear too many horror stories about Ryanair, and I might well need the relaxing train ride to contemplate whatever decision I wind up making in Montpellier.
Next up: train from Marseille to Montpellier, hotel in Montpellier, scrounge local parks for beer bottles to turn in for deposit so I can raise the dough to get the apartment.
But at least the first half of the prelude is written.