Marseille is the third largest metropolitan area (after Paris and Lyon) and largest commercial port in France and is located on the south east coast, on the Mediterranean Sea. This vibrant and multi-cultural city is the oldest in France, founded in 600 BC by the Greeks from Phocaea.
Marseille is known throughout the world as a hub for culture and the arts. In fact, many movies have been filmed or set in Marseille over the years, including A Girl in Every Port (1928), The French COnnection (1971), The Bourne Identity (2002), and Count of Monte Cristo (2002). But Marseille s main cultural attraction is the Opera, constructed at the end of the 18th century. Unfortunately, a large part of the structure was destroyed by fire in 1919 but has since been restored.
There is plenty to see and do in Marseille. Most of the attractions and shopping areas are located in the 1st, 2nd, 6th and 7th arrondissements. Some of the highlights include the Old Port (Vieux-Port), the main harbour and marina for Marseille. It is guarded by two impressive forts (Fort St Nicolas and Fort Saint Jean) and is one of the best places to eat in the city. While at the port, also visit the Phare de Sainte Marie lighthouse. La Vieille Charite in the Panier is an interesting building designed by the Puget brothers and is now home to a gallery of African and Asian art. The Palais de la Bourse is a 19th century building that is home to the the chamber of commerce, the first such institution in France. Shopaholics will likely find their way to the Centre Bourse and the adjacent rue St Ferreol district for Marseille s main shopping area.