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Marseille 2007
About Marseille
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Tourist Links:
Marseille tourist office
Visit Provence
Decouverte Paca

Marseilles, the second largest city in France, and the largest commercial port is described as the capital of southern Europe, cosmopolitan and exuberant with it’s picturesque old ports.   It is also the capital of Provence, and is at the other end of the Riviera to its flashy rival, Nice, both in terms of location and image.  There are no manicured promenades and no glitzy hotels in this louche port. But for all its shabbiness, pollution and congestion, Marseille is one of the most exhilarating cities in France, offering a polyglot of cultures and races, and some of the best restaurants in the country


Founded in 600 b.c. by the Greek sailors of Phocaea, this great city is the oldest in France and surely the most complex. The old town ("Panier") and port, the cliff road high above the sea, the wild inlets plunging into the deep blue water for 20 km. To Cassis, this is the Marseilles of the tourist guide. But the commercial port, the airport, the oil industry, the large population all play an important part in the ecomomic role ot the whole ot Provence and complete the picture of a city rich not only economically but in culture, art and science.

To discover its unique character and beauty, one must leave the center of town and explore some of the "quartier" of which there are more than 100. Each quartier is a little Provencal village of its own with a church,Zizou - Made in Marseille a playing area for the game of Boules and the obligatory plane trees.

One can climb to 162 m, above sea level to visit the church of the patron saint of sailors, Notre Dame de La Garde. One can admire the cliffs the "Estaque" inspiration to Cezanne or go to Treille to pay homage to the well loved Provencal writer Marcel Pagnol, Marseilles can also be visited from the coast.

From the islands "lles de Frioul" and the Chateau d'If with its legend of the Count of Monte Cristo, one has a beautiful view of this ancient maritime site.


Sights worth visiting in Marseilles:

Cathedral of the Major.
La Vieille Charité (old quarter of Panier).
Notre Dame de la Garde (a 19th century basilica).
The Jardin des Vestiges (ruins).
the Palaces of Longchamps and Pharo

Abbaye saint-Victor

Situated on the southern bank of the Vieux-Port above the dry dock, this abbey founded in the 5th century on the tomb of an ancient Christian martyr played an important role in Christianity's development in the Mediterranean between the 11th and 18th centuries. In the 14th century, Pope Urbain V (then installed in Avignon) oversaw its fortification.The abbey's crypt and catacombs, which contain a number of ancient sarcophagi, are open to visitors, whilst its excellent acoustics make it the perfect venue for the religious and classical music concerts held here on a regular basis..Admission: free; crypt visit around EUR 1.52
Open Hours: 8a-7p

Le Corbusier:

Nick-named the "Glorious City", this residential block has been designated a site of historic interest. Built in 1952, it was designed by Le Corbusier (Charles-Edouart Jeanneret). The 50,000 tonne building, supported by concrete pillars, is 165m long, 24m wide and 70m high. It contains 337 flats of 23 different types, and can accomodate 1500 people. The structure is unique both in terms of architecture and content - the unusual use of glass and concrete, and the fact that it contains housing, shops and services under one roof, exemplify the innovative contribution Le Corbusier made to modern architecture. Indeed, it is by incorporating such a wide range of services and features, (inlcuding crêche, shops, sports facilities, ornamental pool, theatre, and a hotel-restaurant), that the complex has become completely self-sufficient - a town within a town. Admission: Free
Information by Wcities

Weather:   In June the temperatures should be in the mid twenties, will little chance of rain.

Marseille Provence Airport (MRS)
Tel: (04) 42 14 14 14.

Transport to the city: There are shuttle buses (tel: (04) 42 14 31 27) to Marseille St Charles train station (journey time – 30 minutes). Taxis are available 24 hours a day and can be ordered in advance (tel: (04) 42 14 24 44; website:

In Marseille, as elsewhere, ostentatious displays of wealth are inadvisable; take care not to carry valuables that can easily be snatched. Avoid leaving your car on the street in downtown Marseille - car theft is endemic. Fortunately there are ample, secure, underground car parks.

Moreover there is a clean, efficient métro system which stops everywhere you need to go in central Marseille. Maps and information are available from any métro station.Marseille Provence Airport is located 25km (16 miles) north of Marseilles, in Marignane.


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