15 Feb DMC In Marseille
Marseille is a well-known french city. However, do you really know it ? This fascinating city is worth the trip. Founded in 600 BC by the Greeks from Phocaea, Marseille is the oldest city in France, and one of Europe’s most intriguing metropolises. The second largest after Paris, it attracts many visitors with its 300 days of sunshine every year. The city is home to almost 900,000 people living in its 16 districts. However, most of them have held onto their authentic village atmosphere. This is the whole paradox of the city : despite of its size, Marseille is a livable city. It has an impressive natural heritage with numerous lush parks in the heart of the city, offering refreshing havens when the sun is beating down.
In Marseille, there is something to suit all tastes. The hub of Marseille is the Vieux-Port, a harbour with some 2,600 years of history, while adjacent neighbourhoods such as Le Panier and Belsunce still offer up warrens of washing-webbed lanes, perfect for exploring on foot or by bike. The tree-lined central avenue of La Canebière crackles with activity day and night, while a short ferry ride offshore reveals Marseille’s other face : the Iles du Frioul, a rocky archipelago perfect for walkers and bird-spotters.
There are some hugely diverting museums and cultural sites back in the city centre, but the best experience is the simplest too : settle down on a busy café terrace at the sunset and watch the world go by over a glass of wine. You don’t have to look far for classical architecture, whether its the Puget brothers designed La Vieille Charité (a 17th century almshouse that now houses the archaeological museum) or the crenelated towers of the Abbaye de St Victor, which conceal 5th century catacombs. But for every dose of postcard classicism there’s a splash of something funkier, like a 20ft-tall (6m) metal giraffe here or a 15-strong band of buskers.
This side of the city is often overlooked, but quite fascinating and pleasant. As a major port and as the gateway to France’s former colony Algeria, Marseille is a city extraordinarily cosmopolitan.
And the city’s unrivalled music and fashion industries add a dynamic flavour to the multi-ethnic mix that is layered over what is at heart, a truly French city.
The surroundings of the city are worth a trip too. The city is backdropped by the white limestone cliffs of the famous Calanques. The Calanques National Park is the perfect spot for year-round outdoor activities. The Calanques cover 20 kilometres with untamed creeks to explore and clear blue water to enjoy. A true piece of paradise.