The location of Marseille historically made it an important center of trade in the region, and a major trading port of the ancient world. Today, it remains a significant French city and the largest commercial port in the country. It is the second largest city after Paris, and the largest city on the Mediterranean coast. This area has been inhabited for over 30,000 years, with Paleolithic cave paintings in the underwater Cosquer Cave dating between 27,000 and 19,000 BCE. The combination of history, culture, and natural beauty attracts many visitors, both native and foreign alike, to this large metropolitan area.
Location: Easily Accessible Coastal Metropolitan Area
Located in the Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur of France, this metropolitan area lies near the Mediterranean coastline and features many beautiful natural geographical features. The city is easily accessible by train, plane, bus, automobile, and boat. The main train station is the Marseille St. Charles, and the city has its own airport, Marseille-Provence International Airport. There is also very good public transportation that features buses, trams, and a metro system.
Business: Thriving Metropolitan Area
Due to its location and excellent transportation infrastructure, Marseille remains a significant center for industry and trade in France. It also is the second largest research center in France. It has the largest commercial port, so many of its industry remain tied to trade and shipping. There are many areas to hold conventions and meetings large and small, including the Marseille Convention Center that features accommodation for up to 7,000 people, and the World Trade Center that can host meetings for as many as 400 guests.
Culture: Culture Abounds in this Ancient Port City
The old port, or Vieux Port, offers many historical buildings to walk around and view, as well as the opportunity to purchase fresh fish from the local fishermen. The Notre Dame de la Garde is a Romano-Byzantine basilica built in the 19th century that overlooks the city and provides a beautiful view. There are also museums that feature findings from the ancient settlers of the area. The Le Panier district provides visitors with a mixture of history and culture along with modern day nightlife and shopping. There are also several art museums, demonstrating the rich artistic history of the city.
Activities: Outdoor Activities on the Mediterranean Coast
Marseille features a stunning Mediterranean beach, perfect for sunbathing, swimming, surfing, and more. Visitors can also enjoy sailing or take boat cruises around the Mediterranean, starting or ending at the city's port. Strolling around the harbor or the parks in town also provides a relaxing and beautiful way to enjoy the city. Visitors should walk around the 16th century island prison, Château d'If, which was the setting for the Count of Monte Cristo.