City summary: Marseille

Press release


The second city of France by population now proudly owns its rank. Gone are the days when bouillabaisse, pétanque, Zinedine Zidane and soccer were all that Marseille seemed to offer – although they all remain major draws. Today there are new museums amazing both for the masterpieces they exhibit and for the architectural masterpieces in which they’re set. Today there is gastronomic excitement in nearly every corner of town. Today the need to appreciate nearby nature serves as a step toward protecting it. Tomorrow there will simply be no rush to leave Marseille as there’s still too much to see!

Fun Facts

  • Marseille hosted the FIFA World Cup 1998, was European Capital of Culture in 2013, welcomed the UEFA Euro 2016 and is the European Capital of Sport in 2017.

  • Since the 1930s, the world's most commonly used tarot deck has been called the Tarot de Marseille.

Significant Site

Vieux Port: now completely renovated by Norman Foster, the city's main harbor and marina is lined with cafes and the site of the Ombrière, a large mirrored sunshade and events pavilion

Extraordinary Exhibit

Musée des Civilisations de l'Europe et de la Méditerranée (Mucem): the first national museum to be designated out of Paris, devoted to the history and culture of European and Mediterranean civilizations

Delectable Delights

  • bouillabaisse: a fish stew containing at least three varieties of fresh local fish plus potatoes and vegetables, also with a separate rouille (mayonnaise made with egg yolk, olive oil, red bell pepper, saffron and garlic) spread on pieces of toasted bread

  • pastis: an alcoholic beverage made from a secret recipe that includes aniseed and spice

Legendary Local

Zinedine Zidane: soccer player whose two goals in the final of 1998 FIFA World Cup made him a national hero in France

Daring Development

New festival: MP2018 Quel Amour! is seven months of unprecedented artistic collaboration in the form of festivals, performances and much more in Provence

Also in the Area

  • Les Calanques: stretching more than 12 miles between Marseille and Cassis, a wild mountainous coastal area, parts of which are now a national park, for anyone who love nature and sport

Access from Paris

  • by road: about 7 hours (490 miles) via the A6 and A7 autoroute du Soleil

  • by train: about 3 h 15 min by TGV from the Gare de Lyon

  • by plane: 1 h 15 min, landing in Marseille-Provence Airport

For more about what to see and do in and around Marseille, including on the “On the Sunshine Route" itinerary, visit