Marseille, European City of Culture 2013

Marseille may only be the second largest city in France, but it is the oldest. It was the Greeks from an ancient town of Phocaea (Asia Minor) who in about 600 BC founded the city as a base for their maritime trade on the Mediterranean. And ever since, Marseille has played a prominent role in the cultural development not only of this part of France, Provence, but also the Mediterranean region more generally – so obviously reflected in the striking cosmopolitan feel of this great European city, from its architecture to its gastronomy, the mix of its inhabitants to the diversity of international visitors year-round.

And of course the city gave France her national anthem: there were a number of men from Marseille who marched with the revolutionaries from the Rhine to Paris in 1792, as a result the hymn of the Army of the Rhine was known as La Marseillaise.

Marseille has been selected as the Capital City of Culture for 2013, when it will almost certainly be one of the best places to visit in Europe. This may be a while off yet – but there is nothing like a bit of forward travel planning. Getting to Marseille is as easy now as ever: the city is served by both an International Airport as well as a large Train station, Paris-Marseille is only three hours via TGV.

Once in the city, there are many Marseille attractions on offer are far too numerous to mention. But, with some 22 museums, 17 theatres, an internationally renowned opera house and a stadium that seats 60,000 people, all offering an incredible variety of exhibitions, shows, concerts and events , the over-used saying ‘there is something for everyone’ might very well have been coined for this European city.

But if all this sounds a bit too daunting – especially on the pocket, my travel tip is to get yourself to the tourist office for a  Marseille City Pass, available for one or two days. Marseille is as good for people who live the high-life in luxury boutiques and hotels, but also for those travelling on a budget. The pass allows you freedom to see as many Marseille attraction as you want at your own pace, and includes museums and castles, the tourist trains, and reductions on a range of services.

The photographs in this post have been taken from the Marseille Flickr Group

If you’re planning a trip to this French city, find the lowest prices for Marseille hotels using the HotelsCombined price comparison site.

This entry was posted in European Culture, France on by .

About Thomas Dowson

Hello, I am Thomas Dowson - a freelance writer and archaeologist living in Normandy, France. My field of expertise is prehistoric art - such as the cave paintings in the Dordogne and South Africa. But I am becoming passionately interested in France more generally, and Normandy in particular, and what this country and one of its very well known regions has to offer people with all sorts of tastes and desires. In 2005 I exchanged a university archaeology lecture room for a Bed & Breakfast in Normandy. More recently I started the Archaeology Travel website; sharing my expertise and love of archaeology and travel with others who also want to explore the many different pasts around the World.