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In order to book an accommodation in Marseille enter the proper dates and do the hotel search. If needed, sort the found Marseille hotels by price, star rating, property type, guest rating, hotel features, hotel theme or hotel chain. Then take a look at the found hotels on Marseille map to estimate the distance from the main Marseille attractions and sights. You can also read the guest reviews of Marseille hotels and see their ratings.

When a hotel search in Marseille is done, please select the room type, the included meals and the suitable booking conditions (for example, "Deluxe double room, Breakfast included, Non-Refundable"). Press the "View Deal" ("Book Now") button. Make your booking on a hotel booking website and get the hotel reservation voucher by email. That's it, a perfect hotel in Marseille is waiting for you!

Hotels of Marseille

A hotel in Marseille is an establishment that provides lodging paid on a short-term basis. Facilities provided may range from a basic bed and storage for clothing, to luxury features like en-suite bathrooms. Larger in Marseille hotels may provide additional guest facilities such as a swimming pool, business centre, childcare, conference facilities and social function services. Hotel rooms in Marseille are usually numbered (or named in some smaller hotels and B&Bs) to allow guests to identify their room. Some Marseille hotels offer meals as part of a room and board arrangement. Hotel operations vary in size, function, and cost. Most Marseille hotels and major hospitality companies that operate hotels in Marseille have set widely accepted industry standards to classify hotel types. General categories include the following:

Upscale luxury hotels in Marseille
An upscale full service hotel facility in Marseille that offers luxury amenities, full service accommodations, on-site full service restaurant(s), and the highest level of personalized and professional service. Luxury Marseille hotels are normally classified with at least a Four Diamond or Five Diamond status or a Four or Five Star rating depending on classification standards.

Full service hotels in Marseille
Full service Marseille hotels often contain upscale full-service facilities with a large volume of full service accommodations, on-site full service restaurant(s), and a variety of on-site amenities such as swimming pools, a health club, children's activities, ballrooms, on-site conference facilities, etc.

Historic inns and boutique hotels in Marseille
Boutique hotels of Marseille are smaller independent non-branded hotels that often contain upscale facilities of varying size in unique or intimate settings with full service accommodations. Marseille boutique hotels are generally 100 rooms or less. Some historic inns and boutique hotels in Marseille may be classified as luxury hotels.

Focused or select service hotels in Marseille
Small to medium-sized hotel establishments that offer a limited amount of on-site amenities that only cater and market to a specific demographic of Marseille travelers, such as the single business traveler. Most Marseille focused or select service hotels may still offer full service accommodations but may lack leisure amenities such as an on-site restaurant or a swimming pool.

Economy and limited service hotels in Marseille
Small to medium-sized Marseille hotel establishments that offer a very limited amount of on-site amenities and often only offer basic accommodations with little to no services, these facilities normally only cater and market to a specific demographic of travelers, such as the budget-minded Marseille traveler seeking a "no frills" accommodation. Limited service Marseille hotels often lack an on-site restaurant but in return may offer a limited complimentary food and beverage amenity such as on-site continental breakfast service.

Guest houses and B&Bs in Marseille
A bed and breakfast in Marseille is a small lodging establishment that offers overnight accommodation and inclusive breakfast. Usually, Marseille bed and breakfasts are private homes or family homes offering accommodations. The typical Marseille B&B has between 4 and 11 rooms, with 6 being the average. Generally, guests are accommodated in private bedrooms with private bathrooms, or in a suite of rooms including an en suite bathroom. Some homes have private bedrooms with a bathroom which is shared with other guests. Breakfast is served in the bedroom, a dining room, or the host's kitchen. Often the owners of guest house themselves prepare the breakfast and clean the rooms.

Hostels in Marseille
Marseille hostels provide budget-oriented, sociable accommodation where guests can rent a bed, usually a bunk bed, in a dormitory and share a bathroom, lounge, and sometimes a kitchen. Rooms can be mixed or single-sex, although private rooms may also be available. Hostels are often cheaper for both the operator and occupants; many Marseille hostels have long-term residents whom they employ as desk agents or housekeeping staff in exchange for experience or discounted accommodation.

Apartment hotels, extended stay hotels in Marseille
Extended stay hotels are small to medium-sized Marseille hotels that offer longer term full service accommodations compared to a traditional hotel. Extended stay hotels may offer non-traditional pricing methods such as a weekly rate that cater towards travelers in need of short-term accommodations for an extended period of time. Similar to limited and select service hotels, on-site amenities are normally limited and most extended stay hotels in Marseille lack an on-site restaurant.

Timeshare and destination clubs in Marseille
Marseille timeshare and destination clubs are a form of property ownership also referred to as a vacation ownership involving the purchase and ownership of an individual unit of accommodation for seasonal usage during a specified period of time. Timeshare resorts in Marseille often offer amenities similar that of a Full service hotel with on-site restaurant(s), swimming pools, recreation grounds, and other leisure-oriented amenities. Destination clubs of Marseille on the other hand may offer more exclusive private accommodations such as private houses in a neighborhood-style setting.

Motels in Marseille
A Marseille motel is a small-sized low-rise lodging establishment similar to that of a limited service hotel, but with direct access to individual rooms from the car park. Common during the 1950s and 1960s, motels were often located adjacent to a major road, where they were built on inexpensive land at the edge of towns or along stretches of highways. They are still useful in less populated areas of Marseille for driving travelers, but the more populated an area becomes the more hotels fill the need. Many of Marseille motels which remain in operation have joined national franchise chains, rebranding themselves as hotels, inns or lodges.

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Travelling and vacation in Marseille

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This article is about the Mediterranean city. For other uses, see Marseille (disambiguation).
"Massilia" and "Marsiglia" redirect here. For other uses, see Massilia (disambiguation) and Marsiglia (disambiguation).
Marseille
Clockwise from top: Notre-Dame de la GardeOld PortLa Joliette with CMA CGM TowerCalanque of Sugiton
Clockwise from top:
  • Notre-Dame de la Garde
  • Old Port
  • La Joliette with CMA CGM Tower
  • Calanque of Sugiton
Flag of Marseille
Flag
Coat of arms of Marseille
Coat of arms
Marseille is located in France
Marseille
Marseille
Coordinates:  / 43.2964; 5.37  / 43.2964; 5.37
Country France
Region Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur
Department Bouches-du-Rhône
Arrondissement Marseille
Canton 12 cantons
Intercommunality Metropolis of Aix-Marseille-Provence
Government
• Mayor (since 1995) Jean-Claude Gaudin (LR)
Area 240.62 km (92.90 sq mi)
• Urban (2010) 1,731.91 km (668.69 sq mi)
• Metro (2010) 3,173.51 km (1,225.30 sq mi)
Population (Jan. 2013) 855,393
• Rank 2nd after Paris
• Density 3,600/km (9,200/sq mi)
• Urban (Jan. 2011) 1,560,921
• Metro (Jan. 2011) 1,831,500
Demonym(s) Marseillais (French)
Marselhés (Occitan)
Massiliot (ancient)
Time zone CET (UTC+1)
• Summer (DST) CEST (UTC+2)
INSEE/Postal code 13055 /13001-13016
Dialling codes 0491 or 0496
Website marseille.fr

French Land Register data, which excludes lakes, ponds, glaciers > 1 km² (0.386 sq mi or 247 acres) and river estuaries.

Population without double counting: residents of multiple communes (e.g., students and military personnel) only counted once.

Marseille (English pronunciation: /mɑːrˈs/; French: [maʁ.sɛj], locally: [mɑχˈsɛjə]; Provençal Marselha [maʀˈsejɔ, maʀˈsijɔ]), also known as Marseilles in English, is a city in France. The capital of the Bouches-du-Rhône department and Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur region, Marseille, on France's south coast, is the country's second largest city, after Paris, with a population of 852,516 in 2012, and an area of 241 km (93 sq mi), the 3rd-largest metropolitan area in France after Paris and Lyon.

Known to the ancient Greeks and Romans as Massalia (Greek: Μασσαλία, Massalía), Marseille was the most important trading centre in the region and the main commercial port of the French Republic. Marseille is now France's largest city on the Mediterranean coast and the largest port for commerce, freight and cruise ships. The city was European Capital of Culture, together with Košice, Slovakia, in 2013. It hosted the European Football Championship in 2016, and will be the European Capital of Sport in 2017. The city is home to several campuses of Aix-Marseille University and part of one of the largest metropolitan conurbations in France, the Metropolis of Aix-Marseille-Provence.

Marseille: Geography

View of the "Petit Nice" on the Corniche with Frioul and Château d'If in the background
View from Marseille's Old Port (Vieux-Port) towards Notre-Dame de la Garde

Marseille is the second largest city in France after Paris and the centre of the third largest metropolitan area in France after Paris and Lyon. To the east, starting in the small fishing village of Callelongue on the outskirts of Marseille and stretching as far as Cassis, are the Calanques, a rugged coastal area interspersed with small fjord-like inlets. Further east still are the Sainte-Baume (a 1,147 m (3,763 ft) mountain ridge rising from a forest of deciduous trees), the city of Toulon and the French Riviera. To the north of Marseille, beyond the low Garlaban and Etoile mountain ranges, is the 1,011 m (3,317 ft) Mont Sainte Victoire. To the west of Marseille is the former artists' colony of l'Estaque; further west are the Côte Bleue, the Gulf of Lion and the Camargue region in the Rhône delta. The airport lies to the north west of the city at Marignane on the Étang de Berre.

Aerial view of Marseille

The city's main thoroughfare (the wide boulevard called the Canebière) stretches eastward from the Old Port (Vieux Port) to the Réformés quarter. Two large forts flank the entrance to the Old Port-Fort Saint-Nicolas on the south side and Fort Saint-Jean on the north. Further out in the Bay of Marseille is the Frioul archipelago which comprises four islands, one of which, If, is the location of Château d'If, made famous by the Dumas novel The Count of Monte Cristo. The main commercial centre of the city intersects with the Canebière at rue St Ferréol and the Centre Bourse (the main shopping mall). The centre of Marseille has several pedestrianised zones, most notably rue St Ferréol, Cours Julien near the Music Conservatory, the Cours Honoré-d'Estienne-d'Orves off the Old Port and the area around the Hôtel de Ville. To the south east of central Marseille in the 6th arrondissement are the Prefecture and the monumental fountain of Place Castellane, an important bus and metro interchange. To the south west are the hills of the 7th arrondissement, dominated by the basilica of Notre-Dame-de-la-Garde. The railway station-Gare de Marseille Saint-Charles-is north of the Centre Bourse in the 1st arrondissement; it is linked by the Boulevard d'Athènes to the Canebière.

Marseille: Climate

Marseille has a Mediterranean climate (Köppen Csa) with mild, humid winters and warm to hot, mostly dry summers. December, January, and February are the coldest months, averaging temperatures of around 12 °C (54 °F) during the day and 4 °C (39 °F) at night. July and August are the hottest months, averaging temperatures of around 28–30 °C (82–86 °F) during the day and 19 °C (66 °F) at night in the Marignane airport (35 km (22 mi) from Marseille) but in the city near the sea the average high temperature is 27 °C (81 °F) in July.

Marseille is officially the sunniest major city in France with over 2,900 hours of sunshine while the average sunshine in France is around 1,950 hours. It is also the driest major city with only 512 mm (20 in) of precipitation annually, especially thanks to the Mistral, a cold, dry wind originating in the Rhône Valley that occurs mostly in winter and spring and which generally brings clear skies and sunny weather to the region. Less frequent is the Sirocco, a hot, sand-bearing wind, coming from the Sahara Desert. Snowfalls are infrequent; over 50% of years do not experience a single snowfall.

The hottest temperature was 40.6 °C (105.1 °F) on 26 July 1983 during a great heat wave, the lowest temperature was −14.3 °C (6.3 °F) on 13 February 1929 during a strong cold wave, but 100 °F (38 °C) or 20 °F (−7 °C) temperatures are uncommon.

Climate data for Marseille (Longchamp observatory) 43°18'21.2"N 5°23'37.1"E (sunshine hours 1961–1990)
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 21.2
(70.2)
22.7
(72.9)
26.1
(79)
28.5
(83.3)
33.2
(91.8)
36.9
(98.4)
40.6
(105.1)
38.6
(101.5)
33.8
(92.8)
30.9
(87.6)
24.3
(75.7)
23.1
(73.6)
40.6
(105.1)
Average high °C (°F) 11.8
(53.2)
12.9
(55.2)
15.5
(59.9)
17.9
(64.2)
22.2
(72)
25.7
(78.3)
29.1
(84.4)
28.7
(83.7)
25.0
(77)
20.4
(68.7)
15.0
(59)
12.6
(54.7)
19.7
(67.5)
Daily mean °C (°F) 8.4
(47.1)
9.1
(48.4)
11.2
(52.2)
13.4
(56.1)
17.5
(63.5)
20.8
(69.4)
24.0
(75.2)
23.7
(74.7)
20.4
(68.7)
16.3
(61.3)
11.5
(52.7)
9.3
(48.7)
15.5
(59.9)
Average low °C (°F) 4.9
(40.8)
5.3
(41.5)
6.9
(44.4)
8.9
(48)
12.7
(54.9)
16.0
(60.8)
18.9
(66)
18.7
(65.7)
15.8
(60.4)
12.3
(54.1)
7.9
(46.2)
6.0
(42.8)
11.2
(52.2)
Record low °C (°F) −10.5
(13.1)
−14.3
(6.3)
−7.0
(19.4)
−3.0
(26.6)
0.0
(32)
7.7
(45.9)
9.0
(48.2)
8.1
(46.6)
2.7
(36.9)
−1.1
(30)
−6.0
(21.2)
−11.4
(11.5)
−14.3
(6.3)
Average precipitation mm (inches) 65.4
(2.575)
47.3
(1.862)
48.7
(1.917)
55.2
(2.173)
41.0
(1.614)
26.8
(1.055)
9.1
(0.358)
34.0
(1.339)
65.5
(2.579)
91.6
(3.606)
55.2
(2.173)
52.3
(2.059)
592.2
(23.315)
Average precipitation days 6.1 5.1 4.9 6.3 4.6 3.3 1.4 2.7 3.8 6.3 5.5 5.8 55.8
Average relative humidity (%) 75 72 67 65 64 63 59 62 69 74 75 77 68.5
Mean monthly sunshine hours 150.0 155.5 215.1 244.8 292.5 326.2 366.4 327.4 254.3 204.5 155.5 143.3 2,835.5
Source: , Météo France 1971–2000 raw averages for Longchamp observatory, extremes 1881–31 December 2004 (sun and humidity 1961–1990 at Marignane)
Climate data for Marignane (Aéroport Marseille Provence) (1981–2010) 43°26'18.4"N 5°12'51.9"E
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °C (°F) 11.4
(52.5)
12.5
(54.5)
15.7
(60.3)
18.6
(65.5)
22.9
(73.2)
27.0
(80.6)
30.2
(86.4)
29.7
(85.5)
25.5
(77.9)
20.9
(69.6)
15.1
(59.2)
11.9
(53.4)
20.1
(68.2)
Daily mean °C (°F) 7.2
(45)
8.1
(46.6)
11.0
(51.8)
13.9
(57)
18.0
(64.4)
21.9
(71.4)
24.8
(76.6)
24.4
(75.9)
20.6
(69.1)
16.7
(62.1)
11.2
(52.2)
7.9
(46.2)
15.5
(59.9)
Average low °C (°F) 2.9
(37.2)
3.6
(38.5)
6.2
(43.2)
9.1
(48.4)
13.1
(55.6)
16.6
(61.9)
19.4
(66.9)
19.0
(66.2)
15.7
(60.3)
12.4
(54.3)
7.2
(45)
4.0
(39.2)
10.8
(51.4)
Average precipitation mm (inches) 48.0
(1.89)
31.4
(1.236)
30.1
(1.185)
53.7
(2.114)
40.9
(1.61)
24.2
(0.953)
9.2
(0.362)
31.0
(1.22)
77.1
(3.035)
67.2
(2.646)
55.6
(2.189)
45.5
(1.791)
513.9
(20.232)
Average precipitation days (≥ 1 mm) 5.3 4.5 3.9 6.0 4.5 2.9 1.3 2.7 4.5 6.2 5.9 5.5 53.2
Mean monthly sunshine hours 151 166 230 240 288 329 366 327 257 189 154 138 2,853
Source: Metereological data for Marseille–Marignane, from 1981 to 2010 November 2015

Marseille: History

See also: Timeline of Marseille

Marseille: Prehistory

Prehistoric outline of human hand, Cosquer Cave

Humans have inhabited Marseille and its environs for almost 30,000 years: palaeolithic cave paintings in the underwater Cosquer Cave near the calanque of Morgiou date back to between 27,000 and 19,000 BC; and recent excavations near the railway station have unearthed neolithic brick habitations from around 6000 BC.

Marseille: Antiquity

A silver drachma inscribed with MASSA[LIA] (ΜΑΣΣΑ[ΛΙΑ]) from Marseille's Hellenistic period.

Massalia, whose name was probably adapted from an existing language related to Ligurian, was the first Greek settlement in France. It was established within modern Marseille around 600 BC by colonists coming from Phocaea (now Foça, in modern Turkey) on the Aegean coast of Asia Minor. The connection between Massalia and the Phoceans is mentioned in Thucydides's Peloponnesian War; he notes that the Phocaean project was opposed by the Carthaginians, whose fleet was defeated. The founding of Massalia has also been recorded as a legend. According to the legend, Protis, while exploring for a new trading outpost or emporion for Phocaea, discovered the Mediterranean cove of the Lacydon, fed by a freshwater stream and protected by two rocky promontories. Protis was invited inland to a banquet held by the chief of the local Ligurian tribe for suitors seeking the hand of his daughter Gyptis in marriage. At the end of the banquet, Gyptis presented the ceremonial cup of wine to Protis, indicating her unequivocal choice. Following their marriage, they moved to the hill just to the north of the Lacydon; and from this settlement grew Massalia. Robb gives greater weight to the Gyptis story, though he notes that the tradition was to offer water, not wine, to signal the choice of a marriage partner. A second wave of colonists arrived in about 540, when Phocaea was destroyed by the Persians.

The state of Gaul around 58 BC.

Massalia became one of the major trading ports of the ancient world. At its height, in the 4th century BC, it had a population of about 6000 inhabitants on about fifty hectares surrounded by a wall. It was governed as an aristocratic republic, with an assembly formed by the 600 wealthiest citizens. It had a large temple of the cult of Apollo of Delphi on a hilltop overlooking the port and a temple of the cult of Artemis of Ephesus at the other end of the city. The drachmas minted in Massalia were found in all parts of Ligurian-Celtic Gaul. Traders from Massalia ventured into France on the rivers Durance and Rhône and established overland trade routes to Switzerland and Burgundy, reaching as far north as the Baltic Sea. They exported their own products: local wine, salted pork and fish, aromatic and medicinal plants, coral, and cork. The most famous citizen of Massalia was the mathematician, astronomer and navigator Pytheas. Pytheas made mathematical instruments, which allowed him to establish almost exactly the latitude of Marseille, and he was the first scientist to observe that the tides were connected with the phases of the moon. Between 330 and 320 BC, he organized an expedition by ship into the Atlantic and as far north as England, and to visit Iceland, Shetland, and Norway, where he was the first scientist to describe drift ice and the midnight sun. Though he hoped to establish a sea trading route for tin from Cornwall, his trip was not a commercial success, and it was not repeated. The Massiliots found it cheaper and simpler to trade with Northern Europe over land routes.

Jardin des Vestiges near the Vieux-Port with remains of the Hellenic harbour at Massalia

The city thrived by acting as a link between inland Gaul, hungry for Roman goods and wine (which Massalia was steadily exporting by 500 BC), and Rome's insatiable need for new products and slaves. During the Punic Wars, Hannibal crossed the Alps north of the city. In 123 BC, Massalia was faced by an invasion of the Allobroges and Arverni under Bituitus; it entered into an alliance with Rome, receiving protection-Roman legions under Q. Fabius Maximus and Gn. Domitius Ahenobarbus defeated the Gauls at Vindalium in 121 BC-in exchange for yielding a strip of land through its territory which was used to construct the Via Domitia, a road to Spain. The city thus maintained its independence a little longer, although the Romans organized their province of Transalpine Gaul around it and constructed a colony at Narbo Martius (Narbonne) in 118 BC which subsequently competed economically with Massalia.

Massalia at the time of Caesar's siege in 49 BC.

During Julius Caesar's war against Pompey and most of the Senate, Massalia allied itself with the exiled government; closing its gates to Caesar on his way to Spain in April of 49 BC, the city was besieged. Despite reinforcement by L. Domitius Ahenobarbus, Massalia's fleet was defeated and the city fell by September. It maintained nominal autonomy but lost its trading empire and was largely brought under Roman dominion. The statesman Titus Annius Milo, then living in exile in Marseille, joked that no one could miss Rome as long as they could eat the delicious red mullet of Marseille. Marseille adapted well to its new status under Rome. Most of the archaeological remnants of the original Greek settlement were replaced by later Roman additions. During the Roman era, the city was controlled by a directory of 15 selected "first" among 600 senators. Three of them had the pre-eminence and the essence of the executive power. The city's laws among other things forbade the drinking of wine by women and allowed, by a vote of the senators, assistance to a person to commit suicide.

It was during this time that Christianity first appeared in Marseille, as evidenced by catacombs above the harbour and records of Roman martyrs. According to Provençal tradition, Mary Magdalen evangelised Marseille with her brother Lazarus. The diocese of Marseille was set up in the 1st century (it became the Archdiocese of Marseille in 1948).

Marseille: Middle Ages and Renaissance

Marseille in 1575

The city was not affected by the decline of the Roman Empire before the 8th century, as Marseille knew a stable situation, probably thanks to its efficient defensive walls inherited from the Phoceans. Even after the town fell into the hands of the Visigoths in the 5th century, the city became an important Christian intellectual center with people such as John Cassian, Salvian and Sidonius Apollinaris. Marseille even knew a golden age in the 6th century, when it became a major commercial center in the Mediterranean Sea. Late Antiquity continued until the 7th century in Marseille, with Phocean and Roman infrastructures still in use (forums, baths). Marseille's economic activities and prosperity ended suddenly with attacks by Charles Martel in 739, when Martel's armies punished the city for rejecting the governor he had established a few years earlier. The city did not develop again before the 10th century, as it knew 150 years of recurring attacks from the Greeks and the Saracens.

The city regained much of its wealth and trading power when it was revived in the 10th century by the Counts of Provence. The Counts of Provence allowed Marseille, governed by a consul, great autonomy until the rule of Raymond Berengar IV of Provence. Marseille initially resisted his assertion of control, but acknowledged his suzerainty in 1243. After his death, his daughter Beatrice of Provence married Louis IX of France's brother Charles in 1246, making him Count. Charles continued his father-in-law's administrative changes, which reignited discontent. Marseille rebelled in 1248, under the leadership of two local nobles, Barral of Baux and Boniface of Castellane, while Charles was embarked on the Seventh Crusade. Charles returned in 1250 and forced Marseille to surrender in 1252. Marseille rose up once more, in 1262, under Boniface of Castellane and Hugues des Baux, cousin of Barral des Baux (who remained loyal and helped contain the unrest). Charles quelled the revolt in 1263. Trade prospered, and Marseille gave him no further trouble. In 1348, the city suffered terribly from the bubonic plague, which continued to strike intermittently until 1361. As a major port, it is believed that Marseille was one of the first places in France to encounter the epidemic, and some 15,000 people died in a city that had a population of 25,000 during its period of economic prosperity in the previous century. The city's fortunes declined still further when it was sacked and pillaged by the Aragonese in 1423.

The 17C Fort Saint-Jean, incorporating the 12C Commandry of the Knights Hospitaller of St John and the 15C tower of René I

Marseille's population and trading status soon recovered and in 1437, the Count of Provence René of Anjou, who succeeded his father Louis II of Anjou as King of Sicily and Duke of Anjou, arrived in Marseille and established it as France's most fortified settlement outside of Paris. He helped raise the status of the town to a city and allowed certain privileges to be granted to it. Marseille was then used by the Duke of Anjou as a strategic maritime base to reconquer his kingdom of Sicily. King René, who wished to equip the entrance of the port with a solid defense, decided to build on the ruins of the old Maubert tower and to establish a series of ramparts guarding the harbour. Jean Pardo, engineer, conceived the plans and Jehan Robert, mason of Tarascon, carried out the work. The construction of the new city defenses took place between 1447 and 1453. Trading in Marseille also flourished as the Guild began to establish a position of power within the merchants of the city. Notably, René also founded the Corporation of Fisherman.

Contemporary engraving of Marseille during the Great Plague of 1720.

Marseille was united with Provence in 1481 and then incorporated into France the following year, but soon acquired a reputation for rebelling against the central government. Some 30 years after its incorporation, Francis I visited Marseille, drawn by his curiosity to see a rhinoceros that King Manuel I of Portugal was sending to Pope Leo X, but which had been shipwrecked on the Île d'If. As a result of this visit, the fortress of Château d'If was constructed; this did little to prevent Marseille being placed under siege by the army of the Holy Roman Empire a few years later. Marseille became a naval base for the Franco-Ottoman alliance in 1536, as a Franco-Turkish fleet was stationed in the harbour, threatening the Holy Roman Empire and especially Genoa. Towards the end of the 16th century, Marseille suffered yet another outbreak of the plague; the hospital of the Hôtel-Dieu was founded soon afterwards. A century later more troubles were in store: King Louis XIV himself had to descend upon Marseille, at the head of his army, in order to quash a local uprising against the governor. As a consequence, the two forts of Saint-Jean and Saint-Nicholas were erected above the harbour and a large fleet and arsenal were established in the harbour itself.

Marseille: 18th and 19th centuries

La Marseillaise 1792

Over the course of the 18th century, the port's defences were improved and Marseille became more important as France's leading military port in the Mediterranean. In 1720, the last Great Plague of Marseille, a form of the Black Death, killed 100,000 people in the city and the surrounding provinces. Jean-Baptiste Grosson, royal notary, wrote from 1770 to 1791 the historical Almanac of Marseille, published as Recueil des antiquités et des monuments marseillais qui peuvent intéresser l'histoire et les arts ("Collection of antiquities and Marseille monuments which can interest history and the arts"), which for a long time was the primary resource on the history of the monuments of the city.

The local population enthusiastically embraced the French Revolution and sent 500 volunteers to Paris in 1792 to defend the revolutionary government; their rallying call to revolution, sung on their march from Marseille to Paris, became known as La Marseillaise, now the national anthem of France.

During the 19th century, the city was the site of industrial innovations and growth in manufacturing. The rise of the French Empire and the conquests of France from 1830 onward (notably Algeria) stimulated the maritime trade and raised the prosperity of the city. Maritime opportunities also increased with the opening of the Suez Canal in 1869. This period in Marseille's history is reflected in many of its monuments, such as the Napoleonic obelisk at Mazargues and the royal triumphal arch on the Place Jules Guesde.

Marseille: 1900 up to World War II

David Dellepiane (fr): poster for 1906 colonial exhibition

During the first half of the 20th century, Marseille celebrated its "port of the empire" status through the colonial exhibitions of 1906 and 1922; the monumental staircase of the railway station, glorifying French colonial conquests, dates from then. In 1934, Alexander I of Yugoslavia arrived at the port to meet with the French foreign minister Louis Barthou. He was assassinated there by Vlado Chernozemski.

In the interwar period, Marseille was known for its extensive organised crime networks. Simon Kitson has shown how this corruption extended into local administrations like the Police.

During the Second World War, Marseille was bombed by German and Italian forces in 1940. The city was occupied by the Germans from November 1942 to August 1944. On 22 January 1943, over 4,000 Jews were seized in Marseille as part of "Action Tiger". They were held in detention camps before being deported to Poland occupied by Nazi Germany to be murdered. The Old Port was destroyed in January 1943 by the Germans. The city was liberated by the Allies on 29 August 1944. As a part of Operation Dragoon, General Joseph de Goislard de Monsabert led roughly 130,000 French troops to liberate the city. Similar to the liberation of other major French cities (such as Paris and Strasbourg), the local German garrison was defeated by mainly French forces, with limited American support.

Marseille: Marseille after World War II

After the war, much of the city was rebuilt during the 1950s. The governments of East Germany, West Germany and Italy paid massive reparations, plus compound interest, to compensate civilians killed, injured, left homeless or destitute as a result of the war.

From the 1950s onward, the city served as an entrance port for over a million immigrants to France. In 1962, there was a large influx from the newly independent Algeria, including around 150,000 returned Algerian settlers (pieds-noirs). Many immigrants have stayed and given the city a French-African quarter with a large market.

Marseille: Economy

Marseille is a major French centre for trade and industry, with excellent transportation infrastructure (roads, sea port and airport). Marseille Provence Airport, is the fourth largest in France. In May 2005, the French financial magazine L'Expansion named Marseille the most dynamic of France's large cities, citing figures showing that 7,200 companies had been created in the city since 2000. Marseille is also France's second largest research centre with 3,000 research scientists within Aix Marseille University. As of 2014, the Marseille metropolitan area had a GDP amounting to $60.3 billion, or $36,127 per capita (purchasing power parity).

Marseille: Port

See also: Marseille-Fos Port
The entrance to the Old Port, flanked by Fort Saint-Jean and Fort Saint-Nicolas

Historically, the economy of Marseille was dominated by its role as a port of the French Empire, linking the North African colonies of Algeria, Morocco and Tunisia with Metropolitan France. The Old Port was replaced as the main port for trade by the Port de la Joliette during the Second Empire and now contains restaurants, offices, bars and hotels and functions mostly as a private marina. The majority of the port and docks, which experienced decline in the 1970s after the oil crisis, have been recently redeveloped with funds from the European Union. Fishing remains important in Marseille and the food economy of Marseille is fed by the local catch; a daily fish market is still held on the Quai des Belges of the Old Port.

The economy of Marseille and its region is still linked to its commercial port, the first French port and the fifth European port by cargo tonnage, which lies north of the Old Port and eastern in Fos-sur-Mer. Some 45,000 jobs are linked to the port activities and it represents 4 billion euros added value to the regional economy. 100 million tons of freight pass annually through the port, 60% of which is petroleum, making it number one in France and the Mediterranean and number three in Europe. However, in the early 2000s, the growth in container traffic was being stifled by the constant strikes and social upheaval. The port is among the 20th firsts in Europe for container traffic with 1,062,408 TEU and new infrastructures have already raised the capacity to 2M TEU. Petroleum refining and shipbuilding are the principal industries, but chemicals, soap, glass, sugar, building materials, plastics, textiles, olive oil, and processed foods are also important products. Marseille is connected with the Rhône via a canal and thus has access to the extensive waterway network of France. Petroleum is shipped northward to the Paris basin by pipeline. The city also serves as France's leading centre of oil refining.

Marseille: Companies, services and high technologies

In recent years, the city has also experienced a large growth in service sector employment and a switch from light manufacturing to a cultural, high-tech economy. The Marseille region is home to thousands of companies, 90% of which are small and medium enterprises with less than 500 employees. Among the most famous ones are CMA CGM, container-shipping giant; Compagnie maritime d'expertises (Comex), world leader in sub-sea engineering and hydraulic systems; Airbus Helicopters, an Airbus Group company; Azur Promotel, an active real estate development company; La Provence, the local daily newspaper; RTM, Marseille's public transport company; and Société Nationale Maritime Corse Méditerranée (SNCM), a major operator in passenger, vehicle and freight transportation in the Western Mediterranean. The urban operation Euroméditerranée has developed a large offer of offices and thus Marseille hosts one of the main business district in France.

Marseille is the home of three main technopoles: Château-Gombert (technological innovations), Luminy (biotechnology) and La Belle de Mai (17,000 sq.m. of offices dedicated to multimedia activities).

Marseille: Tourism and attractions

Beach at the Pointe Rouge, Marseille.

The port is also an important arrival base for millions of people each year, with 2.4 million including 890,100 from cruise ships. With its beaches, history, architecture and culture (24 museums and 42 theatres), Marseille is one of the most visited cities in France, with 4.1 million visitors in 2012. Marseille is ranked 86th in the world for business tourism and events, advancing from the 150th spot one year before. The number of congress days hosted on its territory increased from 109,000 in 1996 to almost 300,000 in 2011. They take place in three main sites, Le Palais du Pharo, Le Palais des Congrès et des Expositions (Parc Chanot) and the World Trade Center. In 2012 Marseille hosted the World Water Forum. Several urban projects have been developed to make Marseille attractive. Thus new parks, museums, public spaces and real estate projects aim to improve the city cadre de vie (Parc du 26e Centenaire, Old Port of Marseille, numerous places in Euromediterrannee) to attract firms and people. Marseille municipality acts to develop Marseille as a regional nexus for entertainment in the south of France with high concentration of museums, cinemas, theatres, clubs, bars, restaurants, fashion shops, hotels, and art galleries.

From left to right: La Joliette neighbourhood (old docks), ferry ship docks, new port, Euroméditerranée business district (CMA CGM Tower) and surrounding areas.

Marseille: Employment

Unemployment in the economy fell from 20% in 1995 to 14% in 2004. However, Marseille unemployment rate remains higher than the national average. In some parts of Marseille, youth unemployment is reported to be as high as 40%.

Marseille: Administration

The sectors and arrondissements of Marseille

The city of Marseille is divided into 16 municipal arrondissements, which are themselves informally divided into quartiers (111 in total). The arrondissements are regrouped in pairs, into 8 secteurs, each with a mayor and council (like the arrondissements in Paris and Lyon).

Municipal elections are held every six years and are carried out by secteur. There are 303 councillors in total, two-thirds sitting in the secteur councils and one third in the city council.

From 1950 to the mid-1990s, Marseille was a socialist and communist stronghold. The socialist Gaston Defferre was consecutively re-elected six times as Mayor of Marseille from 1953 until his death in 1986. He was succeeded by Robert Vigouroux of the RDSE. Jean-Claude Gaudin of the right-wing UMP was elected mayor in 1995. Gaudin was re-elected in 2001 and 2008.

In recent years, the Communist Party has lost most of its strength in the northern boroughs of the city, whereas the far-right National Front has received significant support.

At the last municipal election in 2008, Marseille was divided between the northern boroughs dominated by the left and the more affluent southern part dominated by the right, with the centre and eastern parts of the city as battlegrounds, allowing for a narrow re-election of the UMP administration.

The cantons of Marseille :

Marseille is also divided in 12 cantons, each of them returning two member of the General Council of the Bouches-du-Rhône département.

Marseille: Mayors

Mayor Term start Term end Party
Siméon Flaissières (fr) 1895 1901 Socialist
Marius-Justin-Albin-Hector Curet 1901 1902 Independent
Jean-Baptiste-Amable Chanot (fr) 1902 1908 Progressive Republican
Emmanuel Allard 1908 1910 Progressive Republican
Clément Lévy (fr) 1910 1910 Independent
Bernard Cadenat 1910 1912 SFIO
Jean-Baptiste-Amable Chanot (fr) 1912 1914 Progressive Republican
Eugène Pierre (fr) 1914 1919 Republican Independents
Siméon Flaissières (fr) 1919 1931 SFIO
Simon Sabiani 1931 1931 Republican Independents
Georges Ribot (fr) 1931 1935 Radical
Henri Tasso 1931 1939 SFIO
Nominated administrators 1939 1944
Gaston Defferre 1944 1946 SFIO
Marcel Renault 1946 1946 Independent
Jean Cristofol 1946 1947 PCF
Michel Carlini 1947 1953 RPF
Gaston Defferre 1953 1986 SFIO, PS
Jean-Victor Cordonnier (fr) 1986 1986 PS
Robert Vigouroux 1986 1995 DVG
Jean-Claude Gaudin 1995 incumbent DL, UMP

Marseille: Population

Historical population
Year Pop. ±%
1801 111,100 -
1851 195,350 +75.8%
1881 360,100 +84.3%
1911 550,619 +52.9%
1931 606,000 +10.1%
1946 636,300 +5.0%
1954 661,407 +3.9%
1962 778,071 +17.6%
1968 889,029 +14.3%
1975 908,600 +2.2%
1982 874,436 −3.8%
1990 800,550 −8.4%
1999 798,430 −0.3%
2006 839,043 +5.1%
2011 850,636 +1.4%

Marseille: Immigration

The 7th arrondissement of Marseille

Because of its pre-eminence as a Mediterranean port, Marseille has always been one of the main gateways into France. This has attracted many immigrants and made Marseille a cosmopolitan melting pot. By the end of the 18th century about half the population originated from elsewhere in Provence mostly and also from southern France.

Economic conditions and political unrest in Europe and the rest of the world brought several other waves of immigrants during the 20th century: Greeks and Italians started arriving at the end of the 19th century and in the first half of the 20th century, up to 40% of the city's population was of Italian origin; Russians in 1917; Armenians in 1915 and 1923; Vietnamese in the 1920s, 1954 and after 1975; Corsicans during the 1920s and 1930s; Spanish after 1936; North Africans (both Arab and Berber) in the inter-war period; Sub-Saharan Africans after 1945; the pieds-noirs from the former French Algeria in 1962; and then from Comoros. In 2006, it was reported that 70,000 city residents were considered to be of Maghrebi origin, mostly from Algeria. The second largest group in Marseille in terms of single nationalities were from the Comoros, amounting to some 45,000 people.

Currently, over one third of the population of Marseille can trace their roots back to Italy. Marseille also has the second-largest Corsican and Armenian populations of France. Other significant communities include Maghrebis, Turks, Comorians, Chinese, and Vietnamese.

In 1999, in several arrondissements, about 40% of the young people under 18 were of Maghrebi origin (at least one immigrant parent).

Since 2013 immigrants from Eastern Europe travel to work in the city of Marseille, attracted by better job opportunities and the good climate of this Mediterranean city. The main nationalities are Romanians and Poles.

Place of birth of residents of the city proper of Marseille in 1999
Born in Metropolitan France Born outside Metropolitan France
78.9% 21.1%
Born in
Overseas France
Born in foreign countries with French citizenship at birth EU-15 immigrants Non-EU-15 immigrants
0.9% 8.8% 2.1% 9.3%
Place of birth of residents of the metropolitan area of Marseille in 1999
Born in Metropolitan France Born outside Metropolitan France
81.2% 18.8%
Born in
Overseas France
Born in foreign countries with French citizenship at birth EU-15 immigrants Non-EU-15 immigrants
0.7% N/A% N/A% N/A%
This group is made up largely of former French settlers, such as pieds-noirs in Northwest Africa, followed by former colonial citizens who had French citizenship at birth (such as was often the case for the native elite in French colonies), and to a lesser extent foreign-born children of French expatriates. Note that a foreign country is understood as a country not part of France in 1999, so a person born for example in 1950 in Algeria, when Algeria was an integral part of France, is nonetheless listed as a person born in a foreign country in French statistics.
An immigrant is a person born in a foreign country not having French citizenship at birth. Note that an immigrant may have acquired French citizenship since moving to France, but is still considered an immigrant in French statistics. On the other hand, persons born in France with foreign citizenship (the children of immigrants) are not listed as immigrants.
Largest groups of foreign residents
Nationality Population (2011)
Algeria 31,472
Tunisia 8,014
Morocco 7,842
Poland 6,900
Romania 6,857
Comoros 6,779
Turkey 5,232
Portugal 4,657
Italy 4,403

Marseille: Religion

Main article: Religion in Marseille

Major religious communities in Marseille include:

  • Roman Catholic (405,000)
  • Muslim (200,000)
  • Armenian Apostolic (80,000)
  • Jewish (80,000, making Marseille the third largest urban Jewish community in Europe)
  • Protestant (20,000)
  • Eastern Orthodox (10,000)
  • Hindu (4,000)
  • Buddhist (3,000).

Marseille: Culture

Paul Cézanne: The bay of Marseille from l'Estaque

Marseille is a city that has its own unique culture and is proud of its differences from the rest of France. Today it is a regional centre for culture and entertainment with an important opera house, historical and maritime museums, five art galleries and numerous cinemas, clubs, bars and restaurants.

Marseille has a large number of theatres, including la Criée, le Gymnase and the Théâtre Toursky. There is also an extensive arts centre in La Friche, a former match factory behind the St-Charles station. The Alcazar (fr), until the 1960s a well known music-hall and variety theatre, has recently been completely remodelled behind its original façade and now houses the central municipal library. Other music venues in Marseille are L'Embobineuze and GRIM.

Marseille has also been important in the arts. It has been the birthplace and home of many French writers and poets, including Victor Gélu (fr), Valère Bernard (fr), Pierre Bertas, Edmond Rostand and André Roussin. The small port of l'Estaque on the far end of the Bay of Marseille became a favourite haunt for artists, including Auguste Renoir, Paul Cézanne (who frequently visited from his home in Aix), Georges Braque and Raoul Dufy.

Marseille: European Capital of Culture

See also: Marseille-Provence 2013

Marseille served as the European Capital of Culture for 2013 along with Košice. Marseille-Provence 2013 (MP2013) featured more than 900 cultural events held throughout Marseille and the surrounding communities. These cultural events generated more than 11 million visits. The European Capital of Culture was also the occasion to unveil more than 600 million euros in new cultural infrastructure in Marseille and it environs, including the iconic MuCEM designed by Rudy Ricciotti.

Marseille: Tarot de Marseille

Marseille tarot card

The most commonly used tarot deck takes its name from the city; it has been called the Tarot de Marseille since the 1930s-a name coined for commercial use by the French cardmaker and cartomancer Paul Marteau, owner of B–P Grimaud. Previously this deck was called Tarot italien (Italian Tarot) and even earlier it was simply called Tarot. Before being de Marseille, it was used to play the local variant of tarocchi before it became used in cartomancy at the end of the 18th century, following the trend set by Antoine Court de Gébelin. The name Tarot de Marseille (Marteau used the name ancien Tarot de Marseille) was used by contrast to other types of Tarots such as Tarot de Besançon; those names were simply associated with cities where there were many cardmakers in the 18th century (previously several cities in France were involved in cardmaking).

Another local tradition is the making of santons, small hand-crafted figurines for the traditional Provençal Christmas creche. Since 1803, starting on the last Sunday of November, there has been a Santon Fair in Marseille; it is currently held in the Cours d'Estienne d'Orves, a large square off the Vieux-Port.

Marseille: Opera

The Opéra de Marseille

Marseille's main cultural attraction was, since its creation at the end of the 18th century and until the late 1970s, the Opéra. Located near the Old Port and the Canebière, at the very heart of the city, its architectural style was comparable to the classical trend found in other opera houses built at the same time in Lyon and Bordeaux. In 1919, a fire almost completely destroyed the house, leaving only the stone colonnade and peristyle from the original façade. The classical façade was restored and the opera house reconstructed in a predominantly Art Deco style, as the result of a major competition. Currently the Opéra de Marseille stages six or seven operas each year.

Since 1972, the Ballet national de Marseille has performed at the opera house; its director from its foundation to 1998 was Roland Petit.

There are several popular festivals in different neighborhoods, with concerts, animations, and outdoor bars, like the Fête du Panier in June. On 21 June, there are dozens of free concerts in the city as part of the Fête de la Musique. Music from all over the world in introduced. Being a free event, many Marseille residents attend.

Marseille hosts a Gay Pride event in early July. In 2013, Marseille hosted Europride, an international LGBT event, 10 July–20. At the beginning of July, there is the International Documentary Festival. At the end of September, the electronic music festival Marsatac takes place. In October, the Fiesta des Suds offers many concerts of world music.

Marseille: Hip hop music

Marseille is also well known in France for its hip hop music. Bands like IAM originated from Marseille and initiated the rap phenomenon in France. Other known groups include Fonky Family, Psy 4 de la Rime (including rappers Soprano and Alonzo), and Keny Arkana. In a slightly different way, ragga music is represented by Massilia Sound System.

Marseille: Food

Traditional Marseille bouillabaisse
Swordfish in olive oil with ratatouille and saffron rice
Pieds paquets
  • Bouillabaisse is the most famous seafood dish of Marseille. It is a fish stew containing at least three varieties of very fresh local fish: typically red rascasse (Scorpaena scrofa); sea robin (fr: grondin); and European conger (fr: congre). It can include gilt-head bream (fr: dorade); turbot; monkfish (fr: lotte or baudroie); mullet; or silver hake (fr: merlan), and it usually includes shellfish and other seafood such as sea urchins (fr: oursins), mussels (fr: moules); velvet crabs (fr: étrilles); spider crab (fr: araignées de mer), plus potatoes and vegetables. In the traditional version, the fish is served on a platter separate from the broth. The broth is served with rouille, a mayonnaise made with egg yolk, olive oil, red bell pepper, saffron, and garlic, spread on pieces of toasted bread, or croûtes. In Marseille, bouillabaisse is rarely made for fewer than ten people; the more people who share the meal, and the more different fish that are included, the better the bouillabaisse.
  • Aïoli is a sauce made from raw garlic, lemon juice, eggs and olive oil, served with boiled fish, hard boiled eggs and cooked vegetables.
  • Anchoïade (fr) is a paste made from anchovies, garlic, and olive oil, spread on bread or served with raw vegetables.
  • Bourride (fr) is a soup made with white fish (monkfish, European sea bass, whiting, etc.) and aïoli.
  • Fougasse is a flat Provençal bread, similar to the Italian focaccia. It is traditionally baked in a wood oven and sometimes filled with olives, cheese or anchovies.
  • Navette de Marseille (fr) are, in the words of food writer M. F. K. Fisher, "little boat-shaped cookies, tough dough tasting vaguely of orange peel, smelling better than they are."
  • Panisse (fr) is chickpea flour boiled into a thick mush, allowed to firm up, then cut into blocks and fried.
  • Pastis is an alcoholic beverage made with aniseed and spice. It is extremely popular in the region.
  • Pieds paquets is a dish prepared from sheep's feet and offal.
  • Pistou is a combination of crushed fresh basil and garlic with olive oil, similar to the Italian pesto. Soup au pistou combines pistou in a broth with pasta and vegetables.
  • Tapenade is a paste made from chopped olives, capers, and olive oil (sometimes anchovies may be added).

Marseille: Films set in Marseille

Marseille has been the setting for many films, mostly produced in France or Hollywood. A list of films set in Marseille is available here.

Marseille: Marseille in television

The French television series Plus belle la vie is set in an imaginary quartier, Le Mistral, of Marseille. It is filmed in the Panier quartier of Marseille.

The Netflix series Marseille is set in the city in the 2010s.

Marseille: Main sights

The Panier quarter with the Hotel de Ville and the church of Notre Dame des Accoules
La Vieille Charité
The Abbey of St. Victor and the basilica of Notre-Dame-de-la-Garde

Marseille is listed as a major centre of art and history. The city has many museums and galleries and there are many ancient buildings and churches of historical interest.

Marseille: Central Marseille

Most of the attractions of Marseille (including shopping areas) are located in the 1st, 2nd, 6th and 7th arrondissements. These include:

  • The Old Port or Vieux-Port, the main harbour and marina of the city. It is guarded by two massive forts (Fort Saint-Nicolas and Fort Saint-Jean) and is one of the main places to eat in the city. Dozens of cafés line the waterfront. The Quai des Belges at the end of the harbour is the site of the daily fish market. Much of the northern quayside area was rebuilt by the architect Fernand Pouillon after its destruction by the Nazis in 1943.
  • The Hôtel de Ville (City Hall), a baroque building dating from the 17th century.
  • The Centre Bourse and the adjacent rue St Ferreol district (including rue de Rome and rue Paradis), the main shopping area in central Marseille.
  • The Porte d'Aix, a triumphal arch commemorating French victories in the Spanish Expedition.
  • The Hôtel-Dieu, a former hospital in Le Panier, transformed into an InterContinental hotel in 2013.
  • La Vieille Charité in Le Panier, an architecturally significant building designed by the Puget brothers. The central baroque chapel is situated in a courtyard lined with arcaded galleries. Originally built as an alms house, it is now home to an archeological museum and a gallery of African and Asian art, as well as bookshops and a café. It also houses the Marseille International Poetry Centre.
  • The Cathedral of Sainte-Marie-Majeure or La Major, founded in the 4th century, enlarged in the 11th century and completely rebuilt in the second half of the 19th century by the architects Léon Vaudoyer and Henri-Jacques Espérandieu. The present day cathedral is a gigantic edifice in Romano-Byzantine style. A romanesque transept, choir and altar survive from the older medieval cathedral, spared from complete destruction only as a result of public protests at the time.
  • The 12th-century parish church of Saint-Laurent and adjoining 17th-century chapel of Sainte-Catherine, on the quayside near the Cathedral.
  • The Abbey of Saint-Victor, one of the oldest places of Christian worship in Europe. Its 5th-century crypt and catacombs occupy the site of a Hellenic burial ground, later used for Christian martyrs and venerated ever since. Continuing a medieval tradition, every year at Candlemas a Black Madonna from the crypt is carried in procession along rue Sainte for a blessing from the archbishop, followed by a mass and the distribution of "navettes" and green votive candles.

Marseille: Museums

In addition to the two in the Centre de la Vieille Charité, described above, the main museums are:

The MuCEM, Musée Regards de Provence and Villa Mediterannée, with Notre Dame de la Majeur on the right
The sixteenth century Maison Diamentée which houses the Musée du Vieux Marseille
The music room in the Grobet-Labadié museum
The Palais Longchamp with its monumental fountain
  • The Musée des Civilisations de l'Europe et de la Méditerranée (MuCEM) and the Villa Méditerranée were inaugurated in 2013. The MuCEM is devoted to the history and culture of European and Mediterranean civilisations. The adjacent Villa Méditerranée, an international centre for cultural and artistic interchange, is partially constructed underwater. The site is linked by footbridges to the Fort Saint-Jean and to the Panier.
  • The Musée Regards de Provence, opened in 2013, is located between the Cathedral of Notre Dame de la Majeur and the Fort Saint-Jean. It occupies a converted port building constructed in 1945 to monitor and control potential sea-borne health hazards, in particular epidemics. It now houses a permanent collection of historical artworks from Provence as well as temporary exhibitions.
  • The Musée du Vieux Marseille, housed in the 16th-century Maison Diamantée, describing everyday life in Marseille from the 18th century onwards.
  • The Musée des Docks Romains preserves in situ the remains of Roman commercial warehouses, and has a small collection of objects, dating from the Greek period to the Middle Ages, that were uncovered on the site or retrieved from shipwrecks.
  • The Marseille History Museum (Musée d'Histoire de Marseille), devoted to the history of the town, located in the Centre Bourse. It contains remains of the Greek, and Roman history of Marseille as well as the best preserved hull of a 6th-century boat in the world. Ancient remains from the Hellenic port are displayed in the adjacent archeological gardens, the Jardin des Vestiges.
  • The Musée Cantini, a museum of modern art near the Palais de Justice. It houses artworks associated with Marseille as well as several works by Picasso.
  • The Musée Grobet-Labadié, opposite the Palais Longchamp, houses an exceptional collection of European objets d'art and old musical instruments.
  • The 19th-century Palais Longchamp, designed by Esperandieu, is located in the Parc Longchamp. Built on a grand scale, this italianate colonnaded building rises up behind a vast monumental fountain with cascading waterfalls. The jeux d'eau marks and masks the entry point of the Canal de Provence into Marseille. Its two wings house the Musée des beaux-arts de Marseille (a fine arts museum), and the Natural History Museum (Muséum d'histoire naturelle de Marseille).
  • The Château Borély is located in the Parc Borély, a park off the Bay of Marseille with the Jardin botanique E.M. Heckel, a botanical garden. The Museum of the Decorative Arts, Fashion and Ceramics (fr) opened in the renovated château in June 2013.
  • The Musée d'Art Contemporain de Marseille (fr) (MAC), a museum of contemporary art, opened in 1994. It is devoted to American and European art from the 1960s to the present day.
  • The Musée du Terroir Marseillais (fr) in Château-Gombert, devoted to Provençal crafts and traditions.

Marseille: Outside of central Marseille

The Calanque of Sugiton in the 9th arrondissement of Marseille
The Château d'If

The main attractions outside the city centre include:

  • The 19th-century Basilica of Notre-Dame-de-la-Garde, an enormous Romano-Byzantine basilica built by architect Espérandieu in the hills to the south of the Old Port. The terrace offers spectacular panoramic views of Marseille and its surroundings.
  • The Stade Vélodrome, the home stadium of the city's main football team, Olympique de Marseille.
  • The Unité d'Habitation, an influential and iconic modernist building designed by the Swiss architect Le Corbusier in 1952. On the third floor is the gastronomic restaurant, Le Ventre de l'Architecte. On the roof is the contemporary gallery MaMo opened in 2013.
  • The Docks de Marseille, a 19th-century warehouse transformed into offices.
  • The Pharo Gardens, a park with views of the Mediterranean and the Old Port.
  • The Corniche, a picturesque waterfront road between the Old Port and the Bay of Marseille.
  • The beaches at the Prado, Pointe Rouge, les Goudes, Callelongue, and Le prophète.
  • The Calanques, a wild mountainous coastal area of outstanding natural beauty accessible from Callelongue, Sormiou, Morgiou, Luminy, and Cassis. Calanques National Park became France's tenth national park in 2012.
  • The islands of the Frioul archipelago in the Bay of Marseille, accessible by ferry from the Old Port. The prison of Château d'If was one of the settings for The Count of Monte Cristo, the novel by Alexandre Dumas. The neighbouring islands of Ratonneau and Pomègues are joined by a man-made breakwater. The site of a former garrison and quarantine hospital, these islands are also of interest for their marine wildlife.

Marseille: Education and research

Euromed in Luminy, near the Calanques of Sugiton and Morgiou

A number of the faculties of the three universities that comprise Aix-Marseille University are located in Marseille:

  • Université de Provence Aix-Marseille I
  • Université de la Méditerranée Aix-Marseille II
  • Université Paul Cézanne Aix-Marseille III

In addition Marseille has three grandes écoles:

  • Ecole Centrale de Marseille part of Centrale Graduate School
  • École pour l'informatique et les nouvelles technologies
  • KEDGE Business School

The main French research bodies including the CNRS, INSERM and INRA are all well represented in Marseille. Scientific research is concentrated at several sites across the city, including Luminy, where there are institutes in developmental biology (the IBDML), immunology (CIML), marine sciences and neurobiology (INMED), at the CNRS Joseph Aiguier campus and at the Timone hospital site (known for work in microbiology). Marseille is also home to the headquarters of the IRD, which promotes research into questions affecting developing countries.

Marseille: Transport

Motorways around Marseille

Marseille: International and regional transport

Marseille Provence Airport, the fifth busiest in France.

The city is served by an international airport, Marseille Provence Airport, located in Marignane. The airport is the fifth busiest French airport, and known the 4th most important European traffic growth in 2012. An extensive network of motorways connects Marseille to the north and west (A7), Aix-en-Provence in the north (A51), Toulon (A50) and the French Riviera (A8) to the east.

Gare de Marseille Saint-Charles is Marseille's main railway station. It operates direct regional services to Aix-en-Provence, Briançon, Toulon, Avignon, Nice, Montpellier, Toulouse, Bordeaux, Nantes, etc. Gare Saint-Charles is also one of the main terminal stations for the TGV in the south of France making Marseille reachable in three hours from Paris (a distance of over 750 km) and just over one and a half hours from Lyon. There are also direct TGV lines to Lille, Brussels, Nantes, Geneva and Strasbourg as well as Eurostar services to London. In addition, the night train (Intercités de Nuit) from Luxembourg and Strasbourg stops here on its way to Nice, whereas the night train from Paris to Nice serves the Gare de Blancarde.

The new tramway
Metro and tramway network

There is a new long distance bus station adjacent to new modern extension to the Gare Saint-Charles with destinations mostly to other Bouches-du-Rhône towns, including buses to Aix-en-Provence, Cassis, La Ciotat and Aubagne. The city is also served with 11 other regional trains stations in the east and the north of the city.

Marseille has a large ferry terminal, the Gare Maritime, with services to Corsica, Sardinia, Algeria and Tunisia.

Marseille: Public transport

See also: Transportation in Marseille

Marseille is connected by the Marseille Métro train system operated by the Régie des transports de Marseille (RTM). It consists of two lines: Line 1 (blue) between Castellane and La Rose opened in 1977 and Line 2 (red) between Sainte-Marguerite-Dromel and Bougainville opened between 1984 and 1987. An extension of the Line 1 from Castellane to La Timone was completed in 1992, another extension from La Timone to La Fourragère (2.5 km (1.6 mi) and 4 new stations) was opened in May 2010. The Métro system operates on a turnstile system, with tickets purchased at the nearby adjacent automated booths. Both lines of the Métro intersect at Gare Saint-Charles and Castellane. Three bus rapid transit lines are under construction to better connect the Métro to farther places (Castellane -> Luminy ; Capitaine Gèze – La Cabucelle -> Vallon des Tuves ; La Rose -> Château Gombert – Saint Jérome).

An extensive bus network serves the city and suburbs of Marseille, with 104 lines and 633 buses. The three lines of the tramway, opened in 2007, go from the CMA CGM Tower towards Les Caillols.

As in many other French cities, a bike-sharing service nicknamed "Le vélo", free for trips of less than half an hour, was introduced by the city council in 2007.

A free ferry service operates between the two opposite quays of the Old Port. From 2011 ferry shuttle services operate between the Old Port and Pointe Rouge; in spring 2013 it will also run to l'Estaque. There are also ferry services and boat trips available from the Old Port to Frioul, the Calanques and Cassis.

Marseille: Sport

The Stade Vélodrome in Marseille.

The city boasts a wide variety of sports facilities and teams. The most popular team is the city's football club, Olympique de Marseille, which was the finalist of the UEFA Champions League in 1991, before winning the competition in 1993. The club also became finalists of the UEFA Cup in both 1999 and 2004. The club had a history of success under then-owner Bernard Tapie. The club's home, the Stade Vélodrome, which can seat around 67,000 people, also functions for other local sports, as well as the national rugby team. Stade Velodrome hosted a number of games during the 1998 FIFA World Cup, 2007 Rugby World Cup, and UEFA Euro 2016. The local rugby teams are Marseille XIII and Marseille Vitrolles Rugby. Marseille is famous for its important pétanque activity, it is even renown as the pétanque capitale. In 2012 Marseille hosted the Pétanque World Championship and the city hosts every year the Mondial la Marseillaise de pétanque, the main pétanque competition.

Match Race France 2008

Sailing is a major sport in Marseille. The wind conditions allow regattas in the warm waters of the Mediterranean. Throughout most seasons of the year it can be windy while the sea remains smooth enough to allow sailing. Marseille has been the host of 8 (2010) Match Race France events which are part of the World Match Racing Tour. The event draws the world's best sailing teams to Marseille. The identical supplied boats (J Boats J-80 racing yachts) are raced two at a time in an on the water dogfight which tests the sailors and skippers to the limits of their physical abilities. Points accrued count towards the World Match Racing Tour and a place in the final event, with the overall winner taking the title ISAF World Match Racing Tour Champion. Match racing is an ideal sport for spectators in Marseille, as racing in close proximity to the shore provides excellent views. The city was also considered as a possible venue for 2007 America's Cup.

Marseille is also a place for other water sports such as windsurfing and powerboating. Marseille has three golf courses. The city has dozens of gyms and several public swimming pools. Running is also popular in many of Marseille's parks such as Le Pharo and Le Jardin Pierre Puget. An annual footrace is held between the city and neighbouring Cassis: the Marseille-Cassis Classique Internationale.

Marseille: Personalities

See also: List of people from Marseille
Honoré Daumier: Sunday at the Museum
Edmond Rostand
Memorial to Eliane Plewman in Dachau concentration camp
Jean-Pierre Rampal
Zinedine Zidane

Marseille was the birthplace of:

  • Pytheas (fl. 4th century BC), Greek merchant, geographer and explorer
  • Petronius (fl. 1st century AD), Roman novelist and satirist
  • Pierre Demours (1702–1795), physician
  • Jean-Henri Gourgaud, aka. "Dugazon" (1746–1809), actor
  • Jean-Baptiste Benoît Eyriès (1767–1846), geographer, author and translator
  • Désirée Clary (1777–1860), wife of King Carl XIV Johan of Sweden, and therefore Queen Desirée or Queen Desideria of Sweden
  • Sabin Berthelot (1794–1880), naturalist and ethnologist
  • Adolphe Thiers (1797–1877), first president of the Third Republic
  • Étienne Joseph Louis Garnier-Pages (1801–1841), politician
  • Honoré Daumier (1808–1879), caricaturist and painter
  • Joseph Autran (1813–1877), poet
  • Charles-Joseph-Eugene de Mazenod (1782–1861), bishop of Marseille and founder of the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate.
  • Lucien Petipa (1815–1898), ballet dancer
  • Joseph Mascarel (1816–1899), mayor of Los Angeles
  • Marius Petipa (1818–1910), ballet dancer and choreographer
  • Ernest Reyer (1823–1909), opera composer and music critic
  • Olivier Émile Ollivier (1825–1913), statesman
  • Victor Maurel (1848–1923), operatic baritone
  • Joseph Pujol, aka. "Le Pétomane" (1857–1945), entertainer
  • Charles Fabry (1867–1945), physicist
  • Edmond Rostand (1868–1918), poet and dramatist
  • Pavlos Melas (1870–1904), Greek army officer
  • Louis Nattero, (1870–1915), painter
  • Vincent Scotto (1876–1952), guitarist, songwriter
  • Charles Camoin (1879–1965), fauvist painter
  • Henri Fabre (1882–1984), aviator and inventor of the first seaplane
  • Frédéric Mariotti (1883–1971), actor
  • Darius Milhaud (1892–1974), composer and teacher
  • Berty Albrecht (1893–1943), French Resistance, Croix de Guerre
  • Antonin Artaud (1897–1948), author
  • Henri Tomasi (1901–1971), composer and conductor
  • Zino Francescatti (1902–1991), violinist
  • Fernandel (1903–1971), actor
  • Marie-Madeleine Fourcade (1909–1989), French Resistance, Commander of the Légion d'honneur
  • Éliane Browne-Bartroli (Eliane Plewman, 1917–1944), French Resistance, Croix de Guerre
  • César Baldaccini (1921–1998), sculptor
  • Louis Jourdan (1921–2015), actor
  • Jean-Pierre Rampal (1922–2000), flautist
  • Alice Colonieu, (1924–2010), ceramist
  • Paul Mauriat (1925–2006), orchestra leader, composer
  • Maurice Béjart (1927–2007), ballet choreographer
  • Régine Crespin (1927–2007), opera singer
  • Ginette Garcin (1928–2010), actor
  • André di Fusco (1932–2001), known as André Pascal, songwriter, composer
  • Henry de Lumley (born 1934), archaeologist
  • Sacha Sosno (1937–2013), sculptor
  • Jean-Pierre Ricard (born 1944), cardinal, archbishop of Bordeaux
  • Georges Chappe (born 1944), cyclist
  • Jean-Claude Izzo (1945–2000), author
  • Ariane Ascaride (born 1954), actress
  • Myriam Fox-Jerusalmi (born 1961), world champion slalom canoer
  • Eric Cantona (born 1966), Manchester United and French national team football player
  • Patrick Fiori (born 1969), singer
  • Marc Panther (born 1970), member of the popular Japanese rock band Globe
  • Zinedine Zidane (born 1972), professional football player and former captain of the France national football team
  • Romain Barnier (born 1976), freestyle swimmer
  • Sébastien Grosjean (born 1978), tennis player
  • Philippe Echaroux (born 1983), photographer
  • Mathieu Flamini (born 1984), football player
  • Rémy Di Gregorio (born 1985), cyclist
  • Jessica Fox (born 1994), French-born Australian slalom canoer, Olympic silver (K-1 slalom), world championships bronze (C-1)

The following personalities died in Marseille:

File:1934-10-17 King Alexander Assassination.ogvPlay media
Newsreel showing the murder of King Alexander of Yugoslavia and French Foreign Minister Louis Barthou in Marseille (October 1934).
  • Blessed Antoine Frédéric Ozanam, on 8 September 1853.
  • French poet Arthur Rimbaud, on 10 November 1891.
  • Brice Meuleman, 2nd Catholic Archbishop of Calcutta, on 15 July 1924.
  • King Alexander I of Yugoslavia was assassinated on 9 October 1934 in Marseille along with French Foreign Minister Louis Barthou.

Marseille: International relations

See also: List of twin towns and sister cities in France

Marseille: Twin towns and sister cities

Marseille is currently officially twinned with 13 cities:

  • Belgium Antwerp, Belgium
  • Germany Hamburg, Germany
  • Ivory Coast Abidjan, Côte d'Ivoire
  • Denmark Copenhagen, Denmark
  • Senegal Dakar, Senegal
  • Italy Genoa, Italy
  • United Kingdom Glasgow, United Kingdom
  • Israel Haifa, Israel
  • Germany Hamburg, Germany
  • Japan Kobe, Japan
  • Morocco Marrakech, Morocco
  • Ukraine Odessa, Ukraine
  • Greece Piraeus, Greece
  • China Shanghai, China

Marseille: Partner cities

In addition Marseille has signed various types of formal agreements of cooperation with 27 cities all over the world:

  • Spain Barcelona, Spain (1998)
  • Poland Gdańsk, Poland (1992)
  • Morocco Agadir, Morocco (2003)
  • Egypt Alexandria, Egypt (1990)
  • Algeria Algiers, Algeria (1980)
  • Mali Bamako, Mali (1991)
  • Lebanon Beirut, Lebanon (2003)
  • Morocco Casablanca, Morocco (1998)
  • Turkey Istanbul, Turkey (2003)
  • Israel Jerusalem, Israel (2006)
  • Cyprus Limassol, Cyprus
  • Togo Lomé, Togo (1995)
  • France Lyon, France
  • Morocco Meknes, Morocco (1998)
  • Uruguay Montevideo, Uruguay (1999)
  • France Nice, France
  • France Nîmes, France
  • Morocco Rabat, Morocco (1989)
  • Russia Saint Petersburg, Russia (2013)
  • Bosnia and Herzegovina Sarajevo, Bosnia-Herzegovina (2003)
  • Greece Thessaloniki, Greece
  • Albania Tirana, Albania (1991)
  • Libya Tripoli, Libya (1991)
  • Tunisia Tunis, Tunisia (1998)
  • Chile Valparaíso, Chile (2013)
  • Bulgaria Varna, Bulgaria (2007)
  • Armenia Yerevan, Armenia (1992)

Marseille: See also

  • List of films set in Marseille
  • Marcel Pagnol
  • Marseille Marine Fire Battalion
  • Marseille soap

Marseille: References

Marseille: Notes

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  2. "Séries historiques des résultats du recensement – Unité urbaine 2010 de Marseille – Aix-en-Provence (00759)". INSEE. Retrieved 30 July 2014.
  3. "Insee – Territoire – Métropole Aix-Marseille Provence : Un territoire fragmenté, des solidarités à construire". insee.fr.
  4. Also occasionally spelled Masalia.
  5. , page needed A.
  6. Ebel, Charles (1976). "Transalpine Gaul: the emergence of a Roman province". Brill Archive: 5–16. ISBN 90-04-04384-5. , Chapter 2, Massilia and Rome before 390 B.C.
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  15. , p. 42.
  16. Thucydides, History of the Peloponnesian War 1.13.6
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  18. Robb, Graham, The Discovery of Middle Earth, p. 6
  19. , p. 41.
  20. , p. 44.
  21. , pp. 49–54, "Du commerce à l'exploration". Evidence of trade is provided by the circulation of silver drachmas minted in Marseille from 525 BC, as well as exported pottery from 550 BC; wine produced in Marseille was distributed throughout Gaul during this period.
  22. ISBN 978-0-671-68702-1. By 500BC Massalia was making its own wine, and its own amphoras to export it.
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  24. , p. 373: "[Some, like] Marseilles, had had their consulates confirmed by the counts and were close to enjoying complete independence. Ramon-Berenguer V set out to reverse this ... Marseille, however, refused ... the Marseillais did recognize Ramon-Berenguer's suzerainty in 1243."
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  27. , p. 182.
  28. , pp. 160–161, 174This commandry was a monastery belonging to the military religious order of the crusading Knights Hospitaller. Following Richard the Lionheart's visit in 1190 with the Anglo-Norman fleet during the Third Crusade, Marseille became a regular port of call for crusaders.
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  30. , page needed B.
  31. Chronology, page 182, and Part III, Chapters 25–36.
  32. , page needed C.
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  34. , page needed D.
  35. 1720 chart of Marseille: a contemporary chart showing the defenses of the port.
  36. , p. 360–378.
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Marseille: Bibliography

  • INSEE
  • Palanque, J.R. (1990). "Ligures, Celtes et Grecs" [Ligures, Celts and Greeks]. In Baratier, Edouard. Histoire de la Provence [History of Provence]. Univers de la France (in French). Toulouse: Editions Privat. ISBN 2-7089-1649-1.
  • Abulafia, David, ed. (1999). The New Cambridge Medieval History. 5. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0-521-36289-X.
  • Duchêne, Roger; Contrucci, Jean (1998). Marseille, 2600 ans d'histoire [Marseille, 2600 Years of History] (in French). Paris: Editions Fayard. ISBN 2-213-60197-6.
  • Kitson, Simon (2014). Police and Politics in Marseille, 1936–1945. Amsterdam: Brill. ISBN 978-90-04-24835-9.
  • Liauzu, Claude (1996). Histoire des migrations en Méditerranée occidentale [History of Migration in the Western Mediterranean] (in French). Brussels: Editions Complexe. ISBN 2-87027-608-7.
  • Trott, Victoria (2007). Cannon, Gwen; Watkins, Gaven, eds. Provence. London: Michelin Apa Publications. ISBN 978-1-906261-29-0.

Marseille: Further reading

  • ISBN 978-2-84485-064-5.
  • Savitch, H.V.; Kantor, Paul (2002). "Cities in the International Market Place: The Political Economy of Urban Development in North America and Western Europe". ISBN 0-691-09159-5.
  • Peraldi, Michel; Samson, Michel (2006). "Gouverner Marseille : Enquête sur les mondes politiques marseillais". Editions La Découverte. ISBN 2-7071-4964-0.
  • Busquet, Raoul (1954). "Histoire de la Provence des origines à la révolution française". Éditions Jeanne Lafitte. ISBN 2-86276-319-5.
  • Attard-Marainchi, Marie-Françoise; Échinard, Pierre; Jordi, Jean-Jacques; Lopez, Renée; Sayad, Abdelmalek; Témime, Émile (2007). "Migrance – histoires des migrations à Marseille". Éditions Jeanne Laffitte. ISBN 978-2-86276-450-4. , single book comprising 4 separate volumes: La préhistoire de la migration (1482–1830); L'expansion marseillaise et «l'invasion italienne» (1830–1918); Le cosomopolitisme de l'entre-deux-guerres (1919–1945); Le choc de la décolonisation (1945–1990).
  • Official website
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