The stunning skyline perfectly reflects
the busy, bustling character of Marseille.
its soap and its soccer team, Marseille is a gritty port city
on the otherwise pristine Côte d'Azur in France.
With an economy
anchored in fishing and trade and a robust immigrant population,
the city is rough around the edges and unapologetic about it.
its tough exterior, however, and you'll be rewarded with a unique,
was founded between 600 and 650 BC by Greek sailors from Phocaea,
but prehistoric cave paintings found in the nearby Grotte
Cosquer suggest that the area has been settled for up to 25,000
The city developed as a strategic port and was later conquered
by the Greeks in 540 BC, the Gallo-Romans in 125 BC, the Romans
in 49 BC and various barbarian groups throughout the first millennium.
By the 11th
century, Marseille was a prosperous center for trade and commerce
and administrated foreign lands as far off as Jerusalem. In 1481,
it was taken over by the French as part of the region of Provence.
Be sure to take time for a visit
to Chateu d'If, the dramatic
setting for Alexandre Dumas'
The Count of Monte Cristo.
city is composed of 111 different districts, most tourists won't
venture beyond the first, which contains Le Vieux Port (Old Port)
and its surrounding attractions. La Canebière is the main
artery of the district.
heavily-trafficked boulevard lie several attractions, including
the Musée de la Marine et de l'Economie (7 La Canebière,
04.91.39.33.33), the Musée
de la Mode (11 La Canebière, 04.96.17.06.00) and the
informative office of the Marseille
Convention and Visitors Bureau (4 La Canebière, 04.91.13.89.00).
deposits you right on the main port, off which branch several
smaller streets filled with restaurants, cafes and tiny stores.
Be sure to
check out Durance en Provence (40 rue Francis-Davso, 04.91.33.52.47)
for perfumes, soaps, food products and other regional specialties.
And don't miss Le Pain de L'Opera (61 rue Francis-Davso, 04 91
33 01 05), a patisserie with a dazzling assortment of inventive
breads, pastries and macaroons.
that can't be missed? The
Chateau d'If, most famous as one of the primary settings of
Alexandre Dumas' "The Count of Monte Cristo," is a former
prison set off-shore in the harbour of Marseille. The stunning
Dame de la Garde basilica, whose architectural style blends
Romanesque and Byzantine influences, is set in the hills overlooking
the city. And, as with most other French cities, most of Marseille's
charm lies in exploring its streets.
Around Marseille sweet treats
await at pastry shops like
Le Pain de L'Opera.
By air: The
Provence Airport, which is served by a number of commercial
and low-cost airlines, is located just a half hour from the city
shuttles provide quick and easy transfers to Saint-Charles
Railway Station is a busy hub for French rail. SNCF
runs frequent trains to Paris (3h), Lyon (1h50), Lille (5h20),
Toulouse (3h20) and Bordeaux (5h30).
By sea: The
Port of Marseille is still bustling as ever. SNCM
offers connections to Corsica, Sardinia, Tunisia and Algeria.
About the Author...Jessica
More about Marseilles tourism around the Web:
Top Marseilles Attractions
Things to do in Marseilles - TripAdvisor