Marseille is one of the most famous cities in France and with good reason! Thanks to its rich history, unique culture, and artistic flair, there’s so much to see and discover in this part of France. But, before you can visit it in person, it’s best to get to know it a little bit more from where you are! Here are some fun facts about Marseille to help clue you in.
1. It is one of the largest cities in France.
Marseille is the second-largest city in the whole of France, at around 240.6 square kilometers. It has a population density of around 3,500 people for each square kiometer, and is situated on the southeastern coast, along the Mediterranean Sea.
2. It’s one of the oldest cities in the country, too.
Marseille is also one of the oldest cities in France! In fact, it was founded by the Greeks around 600 BC. It has a rich history influenced by various civilizations, including the Greeks, Romans, and Visigoths.
3. It is a port city.
Marseille works as a major Mediterranean port. In fact, it has been a key trading center throughout history and is France’s largest port today! And, since it is a major port, the city has numerous maritime-related activities and attractions!
4. You can visit the Old Port.
The Vieux-Port (Old Port) is the historic and cultural heart of Marseille. It is surrounded by markets, cafes, and historical buildings – making it a real treat for people who love getting a feel for a city’s history just by walking around.
5. It has an iconic basilica.
The basilica in Marseille is situated on a hill overlooking the city. It offers panoramic views of the city and the Mediterranean beyond. It is a symbol of the city and is naturally a popular tourist attraction.
6. The city is famously clean!
Believe it or not, Marseille is famous for its soap! Marseille soap is a traditional washing staple that has been produced in the region for centuries. It is known for its purity and simple ingredients – nothing toxic or artificial here!
7. The food and drink in Marseille is delicious.
Marseille is also renowned for its diverse and flavorful cuisine, influenced by Mediterranean ingredients. Bouillabaisse, a traditional fish stew, is a local specialty. Give it a try when you land here!
8. It has some impressive forts, too.
Want to take a look around some castles? Fort Saint-Nicolas and Fort Saint-Jean guard the entrance to the Old Port. They played a crucial role in Marseille’s defense throughout history.
9. It is a very diverse area.
One of the best things about Marseille is its cultural diversity. The city has a significant population of immigrants, contributing to a vibrant and multicultural atmosphere. It’s home to people having moved from Vietnam, China, and Turkey, for example.
10. It hosts multiple festivals every year.
If you’d like to know when the best time to visit Marseille is, it’s best to look into which festivals would interest you! The city hosts various cultural events and festivals, including the Marseille International Documentary Film Festival and the Fiesta des Suds music festival.
11. It is a short distance from Calanques.
Marseille is also close to the Calanques, a series of rocky inlets and cliffs along the Mediterranean coast. The area offers stunning natural scenery and hiking opportunities, perfect for more outdoorsy tourists!
FAQs about Marseille
Do you know any interesting facts about Marseille? Share them in the comments section below!