Founded in 600 BC by the Greeks from Phocaea, Marseille is the oldest city in France and the second largest after Paris. The city is home to almost 900,000 people living in its 16 districts, most of which have held onto their authentic village atmosphere.
Marseille has much to offer its locals and tourists: an incredible coastline, a harbor which turns foreign sailors green with envy and 300 days of sunshine every year!. Marseille has an impressive natural heritage with numerous lush parks in the heart of the city, offering refreshing havens when the sun is beating down. Just a few kilometers from the Vieux-Port lies the Calanques National Park, which is the perfect spot for year-round outdoor activities. The famous Calanques cover 20 kilometres with untamed creeks to explore and clear blue water to enjoy.
A dozen museums exhibit a wide variety of collections from antiquity to modern art, and several galleries display the work of famous artists and rising stars. Marseille will be the European Capital of Culture in 2013 and the schedule promises to have a variety of entertainment all year long. The city and region will host over 400 events, including performances, street art, exhibitions, theatre, literary debates, and Mediterranean cooking.
As you stroll around this Mediterranean city you will see its impressive heritage for yourself. Marseille is brimming with hidden gems from the old town of Panier to the Second Empire buildings and the Roman churches.
Marseille is now also known for its economic projects, particularly with the Euroméditerranée project, which has seen major architects such as Zaha Hadid, Kengo Kuma and Stefano Boeri redesign the city. The Vieux-Port has been fully reworked by the architects at Norman Foster. This fantastic location will be pedestrianised to restore it to its former glory in Marseille.
Unmissable things to do in Marseille:
Admire the panoramic view from Notre-Dame-de-la-Garde
Discover the small fishing ports, the creeks, the If Castle and the archipelago of Frioul
Stroll by the markets of Marseille
Sip a pastis at sunset on the Vieux-Port
See an exhibition in the Vieille Charité Museum and have a walk in the « Panier » district
Watch a game at the Velodrome Stadium
Jog on the Corniche Try out the local gastronomic specialities such as the fish soup (bouillabaisse)