Skyline and views from Notre-Dame de la Garde
Belsunce -historic downtown
Vieux Port and Panier -the old harbour
Saint-Charles and Longchamp
821 000 (metro 1 605 000)
Region: Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur (Provence)
Marseille is the 2nd largest city in France if you count the city population proper, but only 3rd largest after Paris and Lyon if you count the whole metro area of the cities. It has France's largest harbour and is the countries oldest city, founded by the Greek already 600 BC as Phocaea. It is no secret that Marseille is the dirtiest, most worn and roughest city I have been to in Europe, and it also has a very high crime rate, but the city also has a certain cosmopolitan charm. The city's highlights are the stunning surrounding nature with its white mountains, the islands in the Frioul archipelago and the Mediterranean sea, the beautiful churches and the harbour. Marseille is a big contrast to the glamouros cities on the nearby Riviera, but seems to have an independent cultural life in return. The citizens of Marseille consist of different nationalities from all the world. There is a new ultramodern lighrail tram system in the city, buses and a metro. The famous novel about the count Monte Cristo partly takes place in Marseille. Montagne Sainte-Victoire is a 18 km long limestone mountain ridge that can be seen from the city. We visited Marseille as a daytrip, a 2 hour drive from where we stayed at the French Riviera. It was not cold, but a bit grey when we visited.