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Port cities have a long and illustrious history.
They serve as global commercial centers as well as regional trade hubs between the coast and the interior. Their history gives unique insights into today's globalization that arose due to these port cities serving as hubs for the movement of products and people.
Do you know 90% of worldwide trade is with ocean shipment via these port cities? This highlights that port cities play a critical role in the global economy's survival and prosperity. Most developing nations have a port city as their capital or major cities, which currently house the most administrative, educational, and medical institutions.
This article lets us learn about Marseille, a port city with its own distinct culture that contributes to France's strong economy. Marseille is France's second-largest city and the center of the administrative department Bouches-du-Rhône in the Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur region. It is situated in the historical province of Provence on the coast of the Gulf of Lion, which is part of the Mediterranean Sea, near the coast of the Rhône. Marseilles can also be an interesting travel destination because of its rich, multi-cultural background. Visitors are never far from Marseilles as the city has a distinct vibe with calm blue seas, bright streets, or fishing in its harbor. You will love walking through a beautiful ancient street with a rich history and art scene or an old port view with the cool sea wind.
We've compiled a list of facts about Marseille and its greatest attractions. Read on to discover more.
Today, the climate is critical for survival as changes in climate impact everything, from geopolitics to the economy. Marseille is a port city, thus, has many climatic and environmental impacts on port activities and global business. Have a look here at some facts about its climate.
Summers in Marseille are short, moderate, dry, and mainly clear, while winters are prolonged, freezing, breezy, and partially clouded, and for over half of the year, there is no snowfall in Marseille. Being a port city, Marseille is best visited in the summer, from late June to late August.
Marseille is France's sunniest and driest city, with almost 2,800 hours of sunlight each year, compared to the nation's average of 1,950 hours.
It is also the driest major city, receiving only 20.3 in (515.6 mm) of precipitation annually. In the winter and spring, the city receives Mistral, a cool, dry breeze from the Rhône Valley that brings clear skies and a pleasant climate to the region. Summer brings mild Sirocco, a warm, sand-bearing wind from the Sahara Desert.
The coolest periods are December, January, and February, with average day temperatures of 54°F (12°C) and night-time temperatures of 39°F (4°C).
The warmest period in this port city in July and August, with average daytime temperatures of 82–86 °F (28–30 °C) and night-time temperatures of 66 °F (19 °C).
Marseille is among the most tourist-friendly cities in France, attracting four million people each year, owing to its old ports, beaches, tradition, art, and history. Marseille municipality strives to establish Marseille as a regional entertainment hub in the south of France, with a high concentration of museums, theaters, restaurants, shops, resorts, and art museums. Check out a handful of the most notable destinations to visit.
The Old Port, also known as Vieux-Port, is the city's main harbor and a beautiful marina with luxury yachts and small boats for entertainment. The Old Port entrance is protected by two huge forts, Fort Saint-Nicolas and Fort Saint-Jean, is flanked by limestone cliffs, and is a lovely scenery to dwell in.
The Old Port is also one of the city's finest eating spots, lined with dozens of cafes. Bouillabaisse, a fish stew originating in the port city of Marseille, is one of the distinctive traditional dishes that you can feast on there. It is a fish stew including at least three species of particularly fresh local fish. Aioli, a sauce consisting of garlic, salt, olive oil, and frequently egg, is another noteworthy dish prevalent in the cuisines of Marseille. Other signature dishes include Bourride, Anchoiade, Farinata, Pastis, Tapenade, and a variety of traditional cuisines you can have here.
Notre-Dame de la Garde, which means our Lady of the Guard, is a Catholic church that is the most prominent landmark in Marseilles, situated on a gorgeous hilltop. It is the most visited place in Marseille and a major Assumption Day pilgrimage location. This church was erected on the ruins of an old fort at Marseille's highest natural point, a 492 ft (150 m) limestone cliff on the southern side of the Old Port that features a rich Neo-Byzantine-style interior.
The Hôtel de Ville, the city's main administrative structure built in the baroque style, which was popular in Europe in the 17th century, is a must-see.
For the breathtaking scenery, you need to take a ride to the Château d'If, located on the Ile d'If island from the Frioul islands group, a natural protection area encompassing the little islands. In this short boat journey from Marseilles, you may experience the beautiful blue sea, hidden beaches, sandy streams, and stunning limestone cliffs. If you're seeking the greatest shopping center in central Marseille, go no farther than the Centre Bourse and the surrounding Rue St Ferreol sector, which includes Rue de Rome and Rue Paradis.
The Porte d'Aix, also known as the Porte Royale, is a triumphal arch in Marseille that marks the historic entry point to the city from Aix-en-Provence. Its Roman triumphal arches inspired its classical design by Michel-Robert Penchaud.
La Vieille Charité was a former almshouse that currently serves as a museum and cultural center. Designed by architect Pierre Puget, it consists of four arcaded galleries on three floors, encircling space with a central chapel topped by an oval dome.
The Museum of European and Mediterranean Civilisations (Mucem) is a museum reserved for European and Mediterranean civilizations. It has a collection of historical and cultural cross-fertilization in the Mediterranean Sea. Visiting this, you can witness a new understanding of civilization spanning from centuries ago to the present.
Cathédrale de la Major or Marseille Cathedral is a Roman Catholic cathedral and a France national monument located in Marseille. This church was built in 1896, having been extended in the 11th century and extensively renovated in the second half of the 19th century by the architects Léon Vaudoyer and Henri-Jacques Espérandieu.
The Abbey of Saint-Victor is one of Europe's earliest centers of Christian prayer, named after the soldier and martyr, Victor of Marseilles. It houses a fifth-century tomb and catacombs and throughout history, the Abbey of Saint-Victor in Marseille has served a variety of functions. During the French Revolution, it was transformed into a filling station, then a jail, and lastly, a soldier's barracks.
Port cities have always featured prominently in the international transportation system, and with the globalization and increase of global commerce, they have become more important in gaining economy. Marseille is another sea port whose economy has always been driven by its port, right from the establishment of the French Empire. Let's look into it a little further.
Marseille's economy has initially been dominated by its Old Port (Vieux Port) since it unites the North African colonies of Algeria, Morocco, and Tunisia to Metropolitan France, allowing thousands of companies to thrive and make it a highly dynamic city.
Marseille's economy and area are still strongly bound to its commercial port, the first French port and the fifth European port by cargo tonnage, located north of the Old Port and east of Fos-sur-Mer. The port activities support around 45,000 employees and generate 4 billion euros for the area's economy.
Fishing plays a significant role in the Marseille economy; hence the daily fish market is still operated on the Quai des Belges in the Old Port. While the Old Port, which was formerly the primary commercial port, now houses eateries offices and serves largely as a private marina.
The port in the Marseille region handles 100 million tonnes of freight every year, 60% of which is petroleum, ranking it first in France and the Mediterranean and third in Europe.
Marseille is marked as a major French center for business with great transportation facilities, with the primary industries being petroleum refining, shipbuilding, oil refining, and soap manufacturing.
Marseille is the birthplace of CMA CGM S.A., the world's third-largest container shipping company. COMEX, or Compagnie Maritime d'Expertises, is a Marseille-based firm known worldwide for its expertise in deep-sea exploration. Some of the well-known firms from Marseille include Airbus Helicopters SAS, an Airbus branch; Azur Promotel, an active real estate development company; and La Provence, the local daily newspaper.
The other small and medium-sized businesses that help in its economy are glass making, plastic materials, building materials, chemicals, sugars, olive oil, processed foods, and fabrics.
Marseille is also known for its renowned soap, Savon de Marseille, which is traditionally manufactured by combining sea water, olive oil, and alkaline ash taken from sea plants.
Marseille, one of the oldest port cities, has long been one of France's most important entrance ports because of its location on the Mediterranean coast. Its population has risen due to its large transit network, and Marseille has attracted numerous newcomers too, changing the city into a cosmopolitan society throughout time. Let's look at some facts about its population and culture.
The metro area population of Marseille is 1,620,000 in 2022.
The majority of Marseille's population has ancestors who trace back to Italy. Marseille also houses France's second-largest Armenian and Corsican communities. Comorians, Turks, Chinese, Maghrebis, and Vietnamese are also major nationalities found here.
Marseille was founded by Greek settlers from Phocaea, and as a result, it came to prominence via the adoption of Greek culture, which is how the Gallo-Roman culture was started.
Marseille is a major vibrant cultural centre, featuring large theatres such as the Théâtre Toursky, La Criée, Le Silo, and Le Gymnase. It houses the Opéra de Marseille, or Opéra Municipal, a musical theater, and art galleries such as Le Dôme de Marseille, La Friche, and several historical and maritime museums where you can learn about the city's distinctive culture.
Marseille was the birthplace and residence of several French authors and poets, notably Edmond Rostand, Victor Gélu, Pierre Berta, André Roussin, and Valère Bernard.
There is a local tradition of creating santons, miniature hand-crafted figures for the traditional Christmas creche. Since 1803, a Santon Fair has been held in Marseille; it is staged in the Cours d'Estienne d'Orves, a wide plaza of the Vieux-Port.
With its busy port and strong urban energy, Marseilles attracts travelers looking for a genuine tourist experience. If you explore Marseille, you can see its multi-cultural heritage preserved in museums, but also via architecture, structures, paintings, sculptures, and drawings dating from the 16th to the 19th century. You may also indulge yourself in its culture by enjoying different iconic festivals hosted on a regular basis in several locations across the city or by listening to free concerts that may enrich your experience. The city has excellent accessibility throughout a huge array of sites and experiences to encounter. You may also enjoy a bike-sharing service called Le vélo, which is free for trips lasting less than half an hour and was launched by the city council itself to lessen the transportation costs of visitors.
How old is Marseille?
Marseille is the oldest city in France, having been built in approximately 600 BC by Greek immigrants of Phocaea. It is also one of Europe's oldest continuously inhabited communities, and to date, 2,622 years have passed since the city was created.
Why is it called Marseille?
Marseille, a Roman city, is said to have taken its name from the Greek colony during its early establishment.
Is Marseille expensive?
Marseille is an expensive city in France, but it is substantially less expensive compared to other large French cities, such as Paris.
What is Marseille famous for?
Marseille is France's second-largest city behind Paris, and it is notable for its old port, distinct culture, and food. Marseilles and its surrounding area became the first recognized soap-making zone due to the availability of natural ingredients such as olive oil and soda.
What does the name Marseille mean?
When translated from the language of southern France, Marseille refers to a type of fabric created from two series of threads biconnected to one another, resulting in a dual cloth interwoven on the looms.
What is Marseille the capital of?
The city has been designated as the European Capital of Culture.
What do you call a person from Marseille?
The people who live there are known as Marseillais.
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