The city's main thoroughfare (the wide boulevard called the Canebière) stretches eastward from the Old Port to the Réformés quarter. Two large forts flank the entrance to the Old Port--Fort Saint-Nicolas on the south side and Fort Saint-Jean on the north. Farther out in the Bay of Marseille is the Frioul archipelago which comprises four islands, one of which, If, is the location of Château d'If, made famous by the Dumas novel The Count of Monte Cristo. The main commercial centre of the city intersects with the Canebière at Rue St Ferréol and the Centre Bourse (one of the city's main shopping malls). The centre of Marseille has several pedestrianised zones, most notably Rue St Ferréol, Cours Julien near the Music Conservatory, the Cours Honoré-d'Estienne-d'Orves off the Old Port and the area around the Hôtel de Ville. To the south east of central Marseille in the 6th arrondissement are the Prefecture and the monumental fountain of Place Castellane, an important bus and metro interchange. To the south west are the hills of the 7th and 8th arrondissements, dominated by the basilica of Notre-Dame de la Garde. Marseille's main railway station--Gare de Marseille Saint-Charles--is north of the Centre Bourse in the 1st arrondissement; it is linked by the Boulevard d'Athènes to the Canebière.
Marseille has a hot Mediterranean climate (Köppen Csa) with mild, humid winters and warm to hot, mostly dry summers. December, January, and February are the coldest months, averaging temperatures of around 12 °C (54 °F) during the day and 4 °C (39 °F) at night. July and August are the hottest months, averaging temperatures of around 28-30 °C (82-86 °F) during the day and 19 °C (66 °F) at night in the Marignane airport (35 km (22 mi) from Marseille) but in the city near the sea the average high temperature is 27 °C (81 °F) in July.
Marseille is officially the sunniest major city in France with over 2,900 hours of sunshine while the average sunshine in France is around 1,950 hours. It is also the driest major city with only 512 mm (20 in) of precipitation annually, especially thanks to the Mistral, a cold, dry wind originating in the Rhône Valley that occurs mostly in winter and spring and which generally brings clear skies and sunny weather to the region. Less frequent is the Sirocco, a hot, sand-bearing wind, coming from the Sahara Desert. Snowfalls are infrequent; over 50% of years do not experience a single snowfall.
The hottest temperature was 40.6 °C (105.1 °F) on 26 July 1983 during a great heat wave, the lowest temperature was -14.3 °C (6.3 °F) on 13 February 1929 during a strong cold wave.
Climate data for Marseille (Longchamp observatory) 43°18'21.2"N 5°23'37.1"E (1981-2003 averages, record highs and lows 1868-2003)
Marseille continued to prosper as a Roman city, becoming an early center of Christianity during the Western Roman Empire. The city maintained its position as a premier maritime trading hub even after its capture by the Visigoths in the 5th century AD, although the city went into decline following the sack of 739 AD by the forces of Charles Martel. It became part of the County of Provence during the 10th century, although its renewed prosperity was curtailed by the Black Death of the 14th century and sack of the city by the Crown of Aragon in 1423. The city's fortunes rebounded with the ambitious building projects of René of Anjou, Count of Provence, who strengthened the city's fortifications during the mid-15th century. During the 16th century the city hosted a naval fleet with the combined forces of the Franco-Ottoman alliance, which threatened the ports and navies of Genoa and the Holy Roman Empire.
Marseille is a major French centre for trade and industry, with excellent transportation infrastructure (roads, sea port and airport). Marseille Provence Airport, is the fourth largest in France. In May 2005, the French financial magazine L'Expansion named Marseille the most dynamic of France's large cities, citing figures showing that 7,200 companies had been created in the city since 2000. Marseille is also France's second largest research centre with 3,000 research scientists within Aix Marseille University.
As of 2014[update], the Marseille metropolitan area had a GDP amounting to $60.3 billion, or $36,127 per capita (purchasing power parity).
The entrance to the Old Port, flanked by Fort Saint-Jean and Fort Saint-Nicolas
Historically, the economy of Marseille was dominated by its role as a port of the French Empire, linking the North African colonies of Algeria, Morocco and Tunisia with Metropolitan France. The Old Port was replaced as the main port for trade by the Port de la Joliette during the Second Empire and now contains restaurants, offices, bars and hotels and functions mostly as a private marina. The majority of the port and docks, which experienced decline in the 1970s after the oil crisis, have been recently redeveloped with funds from the European Union. Fishing remains important in Marseille and the food economy of Marseille is fed by the local catch; a daily fish market is still held on the Quai des Belges of the Old Port.
The economy of Marseille and its region is still linked to its commercial port, the first French port and the fifth European port by cargo tonnage, which lies north of the Old Port and eastern in Fos-sur-Mer. Some 45,000 jobs are linked to the port activities and it represents 4 billion euros added value to the regional economy. 100 million tons of freight pass annually through the port, 60% of which is petroleum, making it number one in France and the Mediterranean and number three in Europe. However, in the early 2000s, the growth in container traffic was being stifled by the constant strikes and social upheaval. The port is among the 20th firsts in Europe for container traffic with 1,062,408 TEU and new infrastructures have already raised the capacity to 2M TEU. Petroleum refining and shipbuilding are the principal industries, but chemicals, soap, glass, sugar, building materials, plastics, textiles, olive oil, and processed foods are also important products. Marseille is connected with the Rhône via a canal and thus has access to the extensive waterway network of France. Petroleum is shipped northward to the Paris basin by pipeline. The city also serves as France's leading centre of oil refining.
Marseille is the home of three main technopoles: Château-Gombert (technological innovations), Luminy (biotechnology) and La Belle de Mai (17,000 sq.m. of offices dedicated to multimedia activities).
The port is also an important arrival base for millions of people each year, with 2.4 million including 890,100 from cruise ships.
With its beaches, history, architecture and culture (24 museums and 42 theatres), Marseille is one of the most visited cities in France, with 4.1 million visitors in 2012.
Marseille is ranked 86th in the world for business tourism and events, advancing from the 150th spot one year before. The number of congress days hosted on its territory increased from 109,000 in 1996 to almost 300,000 in 2011.
They take place in three main sites, the Palais du Pharo, Palais des Congrès et des Expositions (Parc Chanot) and World Trade Center. In 2012 Marseille hosted the World Water Forum.
Several urban projects have been developed to make Marseille attractive. Thus new parks, museums, public spaces and real estate projects aim to improve the city's quality of life (Parc du 26e Centenaire, Old Port of Marseille, numerous places in Euroméditerranée) to attract firms and people. Marseille municipality acts to develop Marseille as a regional nexus for entertainment in the south of France with high concentration of museums, cinemas, theatres, clubs, bars, restaurants, fashion shops, hotels, and art galleries.
Unemployment in the economy fell from 20% in 1995 to 14% in 2004. However, Marseille unemployment rate remains higher than the national average. In some parts of Marseille, youth unemployment is reported to be as high as 40%.
The sectors and arrondissements of Marseille
Political majority in each sector since 2014
The city of Marseille is divided into 16 municipal arrondissements, which are themselves informally divided into 111 neighbourhoods (French: quartiers). The arrondissements are regrouped in pairs, into 8 sectors, each with a mayor and council (like the arrondissements in Paris and Lyon). Municipal elections are held every six years and are carried out by sector. There are 303 councilmembers in total, two-thirds sitting in the sector councils and one third in the city council.
In recent years, the Communist Party has lost most of its strength in the northern boroughs of the city, whereas the National Front has received significant support. At the last municipal election in 2014, Marseille was divided between the northern arrondissements dominated by the left (PS) and far-right (FN) and the southern part of town dominated by the right-wing (UMP). Marseille is also divided in twelve cantons, each of them sending two members to the Departmental Council of the Bouches-du-Rhônedepartment.
List of Mayors of Marseille since the beginning of the 20th century
This section needs to be updated. Please update this article to reflect recent events or newly available information.(June 2017)
Because of its pre-eminence as a Mediterranean port, Marseille has always been one of the main gateways into France. This has attracted many immigrants and made Marseille a cosmopolitan melting pot. By the end of the 18th century about half the population originated from elsewhere in Provence mostly and also from southern France.[page needed]
Economic conditions and political unrest in Europe and the rest of the world brought several other waves of immigrants during the 20th century: Greeks and Italians started arriving at the end of the 19th century and in the first half of the 20th century, up to 40% of the city's population was of Italian origin; Russians in 1917; Armenians in 1915 and 1923; Vietnamese in the 1920s, 1954 and after 1975;Corsicans during the 1920s and 1930s; Spanish after 1936; North Africans (both Arab and Berber) in the inter-war period; Sub-Saharan Africans after 1945; the pieds-noirs from the former French Algeria in 1962; and then from Comoros. In 2006, it was reported that 70,000 city residents were considered to be of Maghrebi origin, mostly from Algeria. The second largest group in Marseille in terms of single nationalities were from the Comoros, amounting to some 45,000 people.
Currently, over one third of the population of Marseille can trace their roots back to Italy. Marseille also has the second-largest Corsican and Armenian populations of France. Other significant communities include Maghrebis, Turks, Comorians, Chinese, and Vietnamese.
In 1999, in several arrondissements, about 40% of the young people under 18 were of Maghrebi origin (at least one immigrant parent).
Since 2013 immigrants from Eastern Europe travel to work in the city of Marseille, attracted by better job opportunities and the good climate of this Mediterranean city. The main nationalities are Romanians and Poles.
1This group is made up largely of former French settlers, such as pieds-noirs in Northwest Africa, followed by former colonial citizens who had French citizenship at birth (such as was often the case for the native elite in French colonies), and to a lesser extent foreign-born children of French expatriates. Note that a foreign country is understood as a country not part of France in 1999, so a person born for example in 1950 in Algeria, when Algeria was an integral part of France, is nonetheless listed as a person born in a foreign country in French statistics. 2An immigrant is a person born in a foreign country not having French citizenship at birth. Note that an immigrant may have acquired French citizenship since moving to France, but is still considered an immigrant in French statistics. On the other hand, persons born in France with foreign citizenship (the children of immigrants) are not listed as immigrants.
This section needs to be updated. Please update this article to reflect recent events or newly available information.(June 2017)
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Marseille is a city that has its own unique culture and is proud of its differences from the rest of France. Today it is a regional centre for culture and entertainment with an important opera house, historical and maritime museums, five art galleries and numerous cinemas, clubs, bars and restaurants.
Marseille has a large number of theatres, including La Criée, Le Gymnase and the Théâtre Toursky. There is also an extensive arts centre in La Friche, a former match factory behind the Sainst-Charles station. The Alcazar, until the 1960s a well known music hall and variety theatre, has recently been completely remodelled behind its original façade and now houses the central municipal library. Other music venues in Marseille include Le Silo (also a theatre) and GRIM.
Marseille served as the European Capital of Culture for 2013 along with Ko?ice.Marseille-Provence 2013 (MP2013) featured more than 900 cultural events held throughout Marseille and the surrounding communities. These cultural events generated more than 11 million visits. The European Capital of Culture was also the occasion to unveil more than 600 million euros in new cultural infrastructure in Marseille and its environs, including the iconic MuCEM designed by Rudy Ricciotti.
The most commonly used tarot deck takes its name from the city; it has been called the Tarot de Marseille since the 1930s--a name coined for commercial use by the French cardmaker and cartomancer Paul Marteau, owner of B-P Grimaud. Previously this deck was called Tarot italien (Italian Tarot) and even earlier it was simply called Tarot. Before being de Marseille, it was used to play the local variant of tarocchi before it became used in cartomancy at the end of the 18th century, following the trend set by Antoine Court de Gébelin. The name Tarot de Marseille (Marteau used the name ancien Tarot de Marseille) was used by contrast to other types of Tarots such as Tarot de Besançon; those names were simply associated with cities where there were many cardmakers in the 18th century (previously several cities in France were involved in cardmaking).
Another local tradition is the making of santons, small hand-crafted figurines for the traditional Provençal Christmas creche. Since 1803, starting on the last Sunday of November, there has been a Santon Fair in Marseille; it is currently held in the Cours d'Estienne d'Orves, a large square off the Vieux-Port.
Marseille's main cultural attraction was, since its creation at the end of the 18th century and until the late 1970s, the Opéra. Located near the Old Port and the Canebière, at the very heart of the city, its architectural style was comparable to the classical trend found in other opera houses built at the same time in Lyon and Bordeaux. In 1919, a fire almost completely destroyed the house, leaving only the stone colonnade and peristyle from the original façade. The classical façade was restored and the opera house reconstructed in a predominantly Art Deco style, as the result of a major competition. Currently the Opéra de Marseille stages six or seven operas each year.
There are several popular festivals in different neighborhoods, with concerts, animations, and outdoor bars, like the Fête du Panier in June. On 21 June, there are dozens of free concerts in the city as part of France's Fête de la Musique, featuring music from all over the world. Being free events, many Marseille residents attend.
Marseille hosts a Gay Pride event in early July. In 2013, Marseille hosted Europride, an international LGBT event, 10 July-20. At the beginning of July, there is the International Documentary Festival.
At the end of September, the electronic music festival Marsatac takes place.
In October, the Fiesta des Suds offers many concerts of world music.
Bouillabaisse is the most famous seafood dish of Marseille. It is a fish stew containing at least three varieties of very fresh local fish: typically red rascasse (Scorpaena scrofa); sea robin (fr: grondin); and European conger (fr: congre). It can include gilt-head bream (fr: dorade); turbot; monkfish (fr: lotte or baudroie); mullet; or silver hake (fr: merlan), and it usually includes shellfish and other seafood such as sea urchins (fr: oursins), mussels (fr: moules); velvet crabs (fr: étrilles); spider crab (fr: araignées de mer), plus potatoes and vegetables. In the traditional version, the fish is served on a platter separate from the broth. The broth is served with rouille, a mayonnaise made with egg yolk, olive oil, red bell pepper, saffron, and garlic, spread on pieces of toasted bread, or croûtes. In Marseille, bouillabaisse is rarely made for fewer than ten people; the more people who share the meal, and the more different fish that are included, the better the bouillabaisse.
Aïoli is a sauce made from raw garlic, lemon juice, eggs and olive oil, served with boiled fish, hard boiled eggs and cooked vegetables.
Anchoïade (fr) is a paste made from anchovies, garlic, and olive oil, spread on bread or served with raw vegetables.
Bourride (fr) is a soup made with white fish (monkfish, European sea bass, whiting, etc.) and aïoli.
Fougasse is a flat Provençal bread, similar to the Italian focaccia. It is traditionally baked in a wood oven and sometimes filled with olives, cheese or anchovies.
Most of the attractions of Marseille (including shopping areas) are located in the 1st, 2nd, 6th and 7th arrondissements. These include:
The Old Port or Vieux-Port, the main harbour and marina of the city. It is guarded by two massive forts (Fort Saint-Nicolas and Fort Saint-Jean) and is one of the main places to eat in the city. Dozens of cafés line the waterfront. The Quai des Belges at the end of the harbour is the site of the daily fish market. Much of the northern quayside area was rebuilt by the architect Fernand Pouillon after its destruction by the Nazis in 1943.
The Hôtel-Dieu, a former hospital in Le Panier, transformed into an InterContinental hotel in 2013.
La Vieille Charité in Le Panier, an architecturally significant building designed by the Puget brothers. The central baroque chapel is situated in a courtyard lined with arcaded galleries. Originally built as an alms house, it is now home to an archeological museum and a gallery of African and Asian art, as well as bookshops and a café. It also houses the Marseille International Poetry Centre.
In addition to the two in the Centre de la Vieille Charité, described above, the main museums are:
The Musée des Civilisations de l'Europe et de la Méditerranée (MuCEM) and the Villa Méditerranée were inaugurated in 2013. The MuCEM is devoted to the history and culture of European and Mediterranean civilisations. The adjacent Villa Méditerranée, an international centre for cultural and artistic interchange, is partially constructed underwater. The site is linked by footbridges to the Fort Saint-Jean and to the Panier.
The Musée Regards de Provence, opened in 2013, is located between the Cathedral of Notre Dame de la Majeur and the Fort Saint-Jean. It occupies a converted port building constructed in 1945 to monitor and control potential sea-borne health hazards, in particular epidemics. It now houses a permanent collection of historical artworks from Provence as well as temporary exhibitions.
The Musée du Vieux Marseille, housed in the 16th-century Maison Diamantée, describing everyday life in Marseille from the 18th century onwards.
The Musée des Docks Romains preserves in situ the remains of Roman commercial warehouses, and has a small collection of objects, dating from the Greek period to the Middle Ages, that were uncovered on the site or retrieved from shipwrecks.
The Marseille History Museum (Musée d'Histoire de Marseille), devoted to the history of the town, located in the Centre Bourse. It contains remains of the Greek, and Roman history of Marseille as well as the best preserved hull of a 6th-century boat in the world. Ancient remains from the Hellenic port are displayed in the adjacent archeological gardens, the Jardin des Vestiges.
The Musée Cantini, a museum of modern art near the Palais de Justice. It houses artworks associated with Marseille as well as several works by Picasso.
The Calanque of Sugiton in the 9th arrondissement of Marseille
The Château d'If
Hollywood-style "Marseille" sign
The main attractions outside the city centre include:
The 19th-century Basilica of Notre-Dame de la Garde, an enormous Romano-Byzantine basilica built by architect Espérandieu in the hills to the south of the Old Port. The terrace offers spectacular panoramic views of Marseille and its surroundings.
The Unité d'Habitation, an influential and iconic modernist building designed by the Swiss architect Le Corbusier in 1952. On the third floor is the gastronomic restaurant, Le Ventre de l'Architecte. On the roof is the contemporary gallery MaMo opened in 2013.
The Pharo Gardens, a park with views of the Mediterranean and the Old Port.
The Corniche, a picturesque waterfront road between the Old Port and the Bay of Marseille.
The beaches at the Prado, Pointe Rouge, Les Goudes, Callelongue and Le Prophète.
The Calanques, a wild mountainous coastal area of outstanding natural beauty accessible from Callelongue, Sormiou, Morgiou, Luminy, and Cassis. Calanques National Park became France's tenth national park in 2012.
The islands of the Frioul archipelago in the Bay of Marseille, accessible by ferry from the Old Port. The prison of Château d'If was one of the settings for The Count of Monte Cristo, the novel by Alexandre Dumas. The neighbouring islands of Ratonneau and Pomègues are joined by a man-made breakwater. The site of a former garrison and quarantine hospital, these islands are also of interest for their marine wildlife.
The main French research bodies including the CNRS, INSERM and INRA are all well represented in Marseille. Scientific research is concentrated at several sites across the city, including Luminy, where there are institutes in developmental biology (the IBDML), immunology (CIML), marine sciences and neurobiology (INMED), at the CNRS Joseph Aiguier campus (a world-renowned institute of molecular and environmental microbiology) and at the Timone hospital site (known for work in medical microbiology). Marseille is also home to the headquarters of the IRD, which promotes research into questions affecting developing countries.
The city is served by an international airport, Marseille Provence Airport, located in Marignane. The airport is the fifth busiest French airport, and known the 4th most important European traffic growth in 2012. 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.
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-Rhône towns, including buses to Aix-en-Provence, Cassis, La Ciotat and Aubagne. The city is also served with 11 other regional trains stations in the east and the north of the city.
Marseille has a large ferry terminal, the Gare Maritime, with services to
Corsica, Sardinia, Algeria and Tunisia.
Metro and tramway network
Marseille is connected by the Marseille Métro train system operated by the Régie 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 Fourragère (2.5 km (1.6 mi) and 4 new stations) was opened in May 2010. The Métro system operates on a turnstile system, with tickets purchased at the nearby adjacent automated booths. Both lines of the Métro intersect at Gare Saint-Charles and Castellane. Three bus rapid transit lines are under construction to better connect the Métro to farther places (Castellane -> Luminy ; Capitaine Gèze - La Cabucelle -> Vallon des Tuves ; La Rose -> Château Gombert - Saint Jérome).
The new tramway
An extensive bus network serves the city and suburbs of Marseille, with 104 lines and 633 buses. The three lines of the tramway, opened in 2007, go from the CMA CGM Tower towards Les Caillols.
As in many other French cities, a bike-sharing service nicknamed "Le vélo", free for trips of less than half an hour, was introduced by the city council in 2007.
A free ferry service operates between the two opposite quays of the Old Port. From 2011 ferry shuttle services operate between the Old Port and Pointe Rouge; in spring 2013 it will also run to l'Estaque. There are also ferry services and boat trips available from the Old Port to Frioul, the Calanques and Cassis.
Sailing is a major sport in Marseille. The wind conditions allow regattas in the warm waters of the Mediterranean. Throughout most seasons of the year it can be windy while the sea remains smooth enough to allow sailing. Marseille has been the host of 8 (2010) Match Race France events which are part of the World Match Racing Tour. The event draws the world's best sailing teams to Marseille. The identical supplied boats (J Boats J-80 racing yachts) are raced two at a time in an on the water dogfight which tests the sailors and skippers to the limits of their physical abilities.
Points accrued count towards the World Match Racing Tour and a place in the final event, with the overall winner taking the title ISAF World Match Racing Tour Champion. Match racing is an ideal sport for spectators in Marseille, as racing in close proximity to the shore provides excellent views. The city was also considered as a possible venue for 2007 America's Cup.
^Fisher, M. F. K. (1978). A Considerable Town. New York: Knopf. p. 150. ISBN0-394-42711-4.
^Root, Waverley (1992) [Originally published 1958]. The Food of France. New York: Vintage Books. p. 333. ISBN0-679-73897-5. panisso, made either of chick-pea or maize flour, boiled into a sort of mush, then allowed to cool and become more solid, when it is fried.
^Jessula, Georges (2003). "Darius Milhaud, Compositeur de Musique". Revue Juive: 140-144. Since their marriage in 1892, Milhaud's parents lived in the Bras d'Or in Aix-en-Provence, where their son grew up; however he was delivered at the home of his maternal grandparents in Marseille.
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Abulafia, David, ed. (1999). The New Cambridge Medieval History. 5. Cambridge University Press. ISBN0-521-36289-X.
Duchêne, Roger; Contrucci, Jean (1998). Marseille, 2600 ans d'histoire [Marseille, 2600 Years of History] (in French). Paris: Editions Fayard. ISBN2-213-60197-6.
Kitson, Simon (2014). Police and Politics in Marseille, 1936-1945. Amsterdam: Brill. ISBN978-90-04-24835-9.
Liauzu, Claude (1996). Histoire des migrations en Méditerranée occidentale [History of Migration in the Western Mediterranean] (in French). Brussels: Editions Complexe. ISBN2-87027-608-7.
Trott, Victoria (2007). Cannon, Gwen; Watkins, Gaven, eds. Provence. London: Michelin Apa Publications. ISBN978-1-906261-29-0.
Peraldi, Michel; Samson, Michel (2006). "Gouverner Marseille : Enquête sur les mondes politiques marseillais". Editions La Découverte. ISBN2-7071-4964-0.
Busquet, Raoul (1954). "Histoire de la Provence des origines à la révolution française". Éditions Jeanne Lafitte. ISBN2-86276-319-5.
Attard-Marainchi, Marie-Françoise; Échinard, Pierre; Jordi, Jean-Jacques; Lopez, Renée; Sayad, Abdelmalek; Témime, Émile (2007). "Migrance - histoires des migrations à Marseille". Éditions Jeanne Laffitte. ISBN978-2-86276-450-4., single book comprising 4 separate volumes: La préhistoire de la migration (1482-1830); L'expansion marseillaise et «l'invasion italienne» (1830-1918); Le cosomopolitisme de l'entre-deux-guerres (1919-1945); Le choc de la décolonisation (1945-1990).