Marseille. City in France, Europe


City in France, Europe

Le Vieux Port, La Criée, Notre Dame de la Garde Photo © Cyril

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France is a fairly populated country thanks to its alluring beauty. One of its most popular cities is Marseille, ‘Massilia’ in Latin, the third highly populated urban city, but the second in relation to the total population of France. It has the biggest port in the Mediterranean area and is considered to be the main economic hub in the whole of Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur region.

Uncovering its History

Tracing back the origins of Marseille, you will notice how complex its history is. It was founded in 600 BC by the Greek people called “Phoceans”, who called the city by its first name, Port d`Afrique.
Being one of the ancient cities in Europe, Marseille looks very different compared to the Cézanne paintings that pictured out the sleepy villages. Some depictions of the old Marseille can be seen through Marcel Pagnol's novels and the “pétanque” players.

The city has the largest area in all of France which is why its population blew up and became second in the ranking. The people living in Marseille are a mix of different cultures. There is a running joke about Marseille having a lot of Comorian people compared to the number living in Comoros itself.

The variation of ethnic backgrounds living in Marseille backs up its title of being a melting pot of cultures in France. This title came up when Italian and Spanish nationals chose to immigrate to the city when the Second World War ended.
For people who wants to discover an authentic place where real people lives, Marseille should top the list.

Vieux Port
	de Marseille - Quai Principal - Canebière - Marseille
Vieux Port de Marseille - Quai Principal - Canebière. Photo by Jopa Elleul

Things to See and Do in Marseille

If you are in for an exciting experience, you can visit the Viex Port or the old harbor where fishermen auctions their stock. The Vieux Port's view on summer evenings is a must-see, so make sure to visit.

A curious church called Notre-Dame de la Garde (Wikipedia Article) hangs a lot of old boats as its decoration. These are boat models of old fishermen who chose to have their new boats blessed at the overlooking church.

Another place that is worthy of a visit is the Musée des Docks Romains, or the Archéologie-Graffiti-Lapidaire, located at Place Vivaux. It is the old harbor that was used during the Phoenician and Roman period. It is now a museum where remnants of an old merchant ship are being displayed.

The restaurants and fabulous cafés are considered a treat for food lovers. Aside from enjoying the food, you can also go on adventurous trips by hiring boats and visit the excellent diving spots. There are also fjords or calanque (Wikipedia Article)s in Marseille and La Ciotat where sports-climbing enthusiasts will enjoy. But the most popular attraction would be the beaches, especially during fine weather.

Getting Around the City

Marseille can be accessed by plane and land via the Marseille- Provence International Airport which is 30 km away from Marseille. Public transport like buses, taxis, and the addition of trains make the travel from the airport to the city easier and quicker at less than 30 minutes. There are also shuttle services that alight from European cities which make Marseille more accessible.

Numerous highways connect Marseille to other French cities. Although these roads are expensive, travelling by car is more convenient and you can visit a lot of famous cities from Marseille. Travelling to Paris is just around an 8-hour drive, Nice can be reached in 2 hours, an hour and a half to Montpellier, about 4 hours to Toulouse, and a 3-hour ride to Lyon.

Other Landmarks near Marseille

Calanque En-Vau
Calanque En-Vau
Apart from the charming city, the nearby Calanques and the small fjords near Cassis at the southern part of Marseille are a famous landmark. A bus fee of €2 ($1.78) can take you to the area when travelling from Vieux Port. Bus #21 that departs from Rond Point du Prado will also get you to the fjords via Luminy.

Another popular attraction is the Château d'If, a tiny island that is accessible by tourist boats from Vieux Port. It served as a defensive structure and a prison. It is the inspiration for the famous novel, The Comte de Monte-Cristo, by Alexandre Dumas.

You can also travel by metro to La Rose, and a short bus ride (line 142 and 144) towards the quaint countryside communes, Allauch and Plan de Cuques just outside Marseille. You can have a picnic on the hills and admire Marseille from afar.

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Author: epicandrea. Last updated: May 19, 2015

Pictures of Marseille

Marseille 2 - Marseille
Marseille 2 - Photo by marcovdz

Depuis le Fort Saint Jean - Marseille
Depuis le Fort Saint Jean - Marseille. Photo by Selden Vestrit

Panoramic Marseille - Marseille
Panoramic Marseille - Photo by Selden Vestrit

vieux Port de marseille - Marseille
vieux Port de marseille - Photo by Patrick Nouhailler

Vieux Port hdr - Marseille
Vieux Port hdr - Marseille. Photo by Pikakoko


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