Marseille known in antiquity as Massalia is the second largest city in France, after Paris, with a population of 852,395 within its administrative limits on a land area of 240.62 km2 (93 sq mi). The urban area of Marseille extends beyond the city limits with a population of over 1,420,000 on an area of 1,204 km2 (465 sq mi). 1,530,000 or 1,601,095 people live in the Marseille metropolitan area, ranking it 3rd among French metropolitan areas after Paris and Lyon. Located on the southeast coast of France, Marseille is France's largest city on the Mediterranean coast and largest commercial port. Marseille is the capital of the Provence-Alpes-Cote d'Azur region, as well as the capital of the Bouches-du-Rhone department. Its inhabitants are called Marseillais.
Marseille has a complex history. It was founded by the Phoceans (from the greek city of Phocea) in 600 B.C. and is one of the oldest cities in Europe. The town is a far cry from the Cezanne paintings and Provencal cliches of sleepy villages, "petanque" players and Marcel Pagnol novels. With around one million inhabitants, Marseille is the second largest city in France in terms of population and the largest in terms of area. Its population is a real melting pot of different cultures. It is also said that there are more Comorian people in Marseille than in Comoros! Indeed, the people of Marseille have varying ethnic backgrounds, with a lot of Italians and Spanish having immigrated to the area after the second world war.
For people not afraid to discover a real place with real people, Marseille is the place. From colourful markets (like Noailles market) that will make you feel like you are in Africa, to the Calanques (a natural area of big cliffs falling into the sea-Calanque means fjord), from the Panier area (the oldest place of the town and historically the place where newcomers installed) to the Vieux-Port (old harbor) and the Corniche (a road along the sea) Marseille has definitely a lot to offer.
Transport: The city is served by an international airport, Marseille Provence Airport, located in Marignane. The airport has two terminals. Terminal one, the main terminal of the airport contains halls 1,2,3 and 4 and serves as a base for French and international arrivals and departures. The newer terminal, referred to as MP2, is used for low-cost flights arriving and departing from Europe and North Africa.
An extensive network of motorways connects Marseille to the north and west (A7), Aix-en-Provence in the north (A51), Toulon (A50) and the French Riviera (A8) to the east.
Gare de Marseille Saint-Charles is Marseille's main railway station. It operates direct regional services to Aix-en-Provence, Briancon, Toulon, Avignon, Nice, Montpellier, Toulouse, Bordeaux, Nantes, etc. Gare Saint-Charles is also one of the main terminal stations for the TGV in the south of France making Marseille reachable in three hours from Paris (a distance of over 750 km) and just over one and a half hours from Lyon. There are also direct TGV lines to Lille, Brussels, Nantes, Geneve and Strasbourg.
There is a new long distance bus station adjacent to new modern extension to the Gare Saint-Charles with destinations mostly to other Bouches-du-Rhone towns, including buses to Aix-en-Provence, Cassis, La Ciotat and Aubagne.
Marseille has a large ferry terminal, the Gare Maritime, with services to Corsica, Sardinia, Algeria and Tunisia. A free ferry service on a quite different scale operates between the two opposite quays of the Old Port.
Marseille itself is connected by the Marseille Metro train system operated by the Regie des transports de Marseille (RTM). It consists of two lines: Line 1 (blue) between Castellane and La Rose opened in 1977 and Line 2 (red) between Sainte-Marguerite-Dromel and Bougainville opened between 1984 and 1987. An extension of the Line 1 from Castellane to La Timone was completed in 1992, another extension from La Timone to La Fourragere (2,5 km and 4 new stations) was opened in May 2010. The Metro system operates on a turnstile system, with tickets purchased at the nearby adjacent automated booths. Both lines of the Metro intersect at Gare Saint-Charles and Castellane.
An extensive bus network serves the city and suburbs of Marseille. The first phase of a new tramway, going eastwards from the port towards St Barnabe, was opened in July 2007.
As in many other French cities, a short-term bicycle hire scheme nicknamed "Le velo", free for trips of less than half an hour, has recently been put in place by the city council.
Maps of France
- France Political Map
- Paris Tourist Map
- Lyon City Map
- Strasbourg City Map
- Marseille City Map
- Loire Valley Map
- Paris City Map
- Paris Metro Map
- Paris Tourist Bus Map
Paris Attractions Maps
Notre Dame de
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