Marseille – Die älteste Stadt Frankreichs
Marseille – Die älteste Stadt Frankreichs


The Oldest City in France

Published: 31 August 2023, 15:00

Let the oldest and second largest city in France astound you with its location on the Mediterranean Sea, Mediterranean climate and wealth of cultural influences.

As the second largest city in France, Marseille has a long history.

Founded in ancient times, the southern French port city on the Mediterranean is considered the oldest city in France. As a melting pot of different cultures, it’ll enchant you with a mixture of Mediterranean flair, Arabic-Islamic influences, diverse architecture and culinary discoveries. An important place to go is the bustling Vieux Port, with one restaurant after another lining its promenade. Ancient fortress walls can be found here as well as modern museum buildings.

Numbers, data, facts

  • Time difference: none
  • Population: 870,000
  • Official language: French
  • Currency: Euro (EUR)

Marseille is the capital of the Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur region. Crowned a European Capital of Culture in 2013, it’s ideal for a city trip combined with a beach holiday. There’s a wide range of museums and the nearest beach is never far away. Marseille is an ideal starting point for discovering southern France: to the east is the Côte d'Azur, to the northeast is Provence and to the west are the holiday resorts of Languedoc-Roussillon. In the immediate vicinity of Marseille, you’ll also find the Calanques National Park - a paradise for hiking, snorkelling and climbing.

Ten Highlights of Marseille

Discover Provence: Excursions Around Marseille

Picturesque villages, sun-kissed beaches, well-developed hiking trails, picturesque vineyards and the scent of lavender, thyme and rosemary in the air - that's Provence. The extremely attractive region that stretches from the Mediterranean coast in the south to the French Alps in the north. Pretty cities like Avignon, Aix-en-Provence and Cassis are just a train ride from Marseille. A hike through the Calanques National Park with its famous limestone cliffs shouldn’t be passed up. Wild horses and flamingos can be observed in the Camargue UNESCO Biosphere Reserve. If you want to visit a typical Provence village surrounded by lavender fields, you should plan a day trip to Sault.

Marseille - Gateway to Provence

Marseille from BER

Five travel tips for…

  • Stroll through the old town district of Le Panier
  • Visit the Fish Market at Vieux Port
  • Stroll along the ramparts of Fort Saint Jean
  • Experience hip and creative Marseille in the Cours Julien district
  • 5. Visit the imposing Marseille Cathedral with its domes

  • Find out more about Europe's civilisations at MuCEM
  • Visit the Friche la Belle de Mai creative centre
  • See the Cité Radieuse housing unit by architect Le Corbusier
  • Marvel at the extraordinary architecture of the Villa Mediterranee
  • See contemporary art at the Musée Cantini

  • Lavender: The scent of Provence dried or as an essential oil
  • Pastis: The cult drink enjoyed at lunchtime and in the evening
  • Provencal herbs and olive oil
  • Culinary delicacies such as truffles or almond confectionery
  • Soap, preferably from the Savonnerie Marseillaise

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