History of Marseille

Plural, rich and unique, Marseille has forged its personality over the millennium. Since the Paleolithic era, this sunny land has been a privileged place to live. The first men were not mistaken and they never left this land until they founded a major city in the history of  France.

An ever  changing city

Marseille foundation, an anchor  is dropped.

Even if there is evidence of human life for over 20 000 years. The Greeks started the foundation of Marseille 600 years before JC. The  history of the city definitely turns towards the sea. Indeed, thanks to the great Blue sea, the very first inhabitants arrived. 5oo years later, the Marseille port was born. Constructed as a sunken pond, it started to welcome the merchant vessels. Massalia, as it was  named at the time, was about to experience its first Golden Age based on the exchange of goods to the West and to the South.

History of Marseille throughout the centuries

The history of Marseille is complex, made up of power, trade and chance. With the conquest of the city by Julius Caesar, Arles was given the upper hand. Business flourished on the other side of the Rhone but Marseille took its revenge 10 centuries later with the arrival of the Franks. The Romanesque buildings built in the Phocaean city bear witness to this. However, it was in the 19th century that Marseille experienced a second golden age by becoming once again a stronghold of trade in the Mediterranean. Since this period, the city has always been in a favorable position. The exceptional sunshine of the city is probably not for nothing and its history is not over.

History of Marseille continues..

Today, Marseille is on a roll. Thanks to its cultural presence on subjects as diverse as hip-hop, architecture and the environment, the city has encouraged initiatives to the point of making it the European Capital of Culture in 2013. With nearly 10 million visitors, the success was unprecedented. Since then, all eyes have turned to this unique city where new venues, such as the MuCEM, the Friche Belle de Mai or the Terrasses du Port, are flourishing. Impertinent but pleasant, innovative but attached to its traditions, cosmopolitan and Provençal, of land and sea… Marseille now has all the characteristics of a great city.

Identity of Marseille

Key  information

Oldest city of France founded 2600 years ago.
Second city of fr : 869 815 inhabitants (INSEE figure 2019)
The  Aix Marseille Metropolis, the first community of french municipalities bring together 92 municipalities representing 1 830 000 inhabitants.
Surface area of the city: 240  Km2 including 100km of natural areas.
Seafront: 57 Kilometers including  100 Km2 of natural areas.
Climat : 300 days of sun a  year. The sunniest city of  France.
Average temperature : Spring 19°c / Summer 25°c / Fall 14°c /Winter 12°c.
Pairing with  13 cities in the  world.
Transport : 2 metro lines
3 tramway lines  (3rd line in 2015),
1000 biclycles in 130 stations
88 bus lines,
15 car parks so about 10 000 parking spaces.
2 maritme shuttles : Vieux-Port/Pointe-Rouge and  Vieux-Port/Estaque between  april and september.
1st cruise ship port (1 600 000 passagers en 2017) and freight of France.
5th port of  mediterranean 2020- 2 Millions of  cruisers.

Big  dates

World capital of water since  1996- world water forum in march 2012
Capital of culture in  2013
European capital of  sport  in 2017
MP2018 About  Love!
Biannual of contemporary Art Manifesta in  2020
Olympic  host  city Paris 2024
Rugby world cup 2023