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Marseille Port

Marseille is the second biggest city in France and a major Mediterranean seaport. It is the gateway to the spectacular scenery and well preserved town and villages of Provence and …

More About Marseille Port
  • Marseille in detail
  • Interesting Facts

Marseille in detail

Marseille is the second biggest city in France and a major Mediterranean seaport. It is the gateway to the spectacular scenery and well preserved town and villages of Provence and the Rhone valley.

From the cruise terminal at the docks you will need a taxi or a tour to see this interesting Mediterranean City or to visit the surrounding towns of Arles (Roman ruins), Cassis, Aix en Provence (ancient capital), Avignon and Les Baux (medieval village). The heart and historic centre of Marseille lies around the Vieux Port - the old harbour lined with yachts, fishing boats and restaurants and home to its famous fish market.

In the bay fronting Marseille are several islands, including the islet of If, site of the 16th-century Chateau d'If, featured in Alexandre Dumas's romance The Count of Monte Cristo. Several forts protect the harbour, and on a high strip of land projecting west into the bay is the 19th-century church of Notre Dame de la Garde, surmounted by a gilded statue of the Virgin Mary.

Marseille has few relics of the ancient period, although it is the oldest city in France. In the late 1960s archaeologists uncovered parts of the Hellenistic ramparts of the city, and a section of the medieval cathedral of La Major still stands. In the 11th-century crypts, over which the church of St Victor was built in the 13th century, is an image of the Virgin Mary supposed to have been the work of St Luke.

Around 600 BC the site of the city was colonized by Greeks from Asia Minor and called Massalia. The settlement flourished, and in the Punic Wars it sided with Rome against Carthage. In 49 BC, after supporting Pompey the Great in the civil war against Julius Caesar, the city was annexed by Rome. The inhabitants were converted to Christianity during the 3rd century AD, and in 304 St Vincent was martyred here. In the 10th century it became a dominion of the counts of Provence, and in the 13th century it was made a republic. The city was incorporated into the kingdom of France in 1481.

  • Time Zone GMT + 1
  • Currency Euro (€) 
  • Language French
  • Population 1.6 million

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