About Marseille

The Facts

-Second largest city in France
-Population of over 800,000
-93 square miles (twice the size of Paris)
-Capital of the Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur region
-4.1 million visitors in 2012
-Currently over 1/3 of the population of Marseille can trace their roots back to Italy
-Marseille is home to 400,000 Catholics, 250,000 Muslims, 80,000 Armenian Apostolic, 80,000 Jewish, 20,000 Protestant, 10,000 Eastern Orthodox, and 3,000 Buddhists
-Marseille is well known in France for its Hip Hop music

Marseille Timeline

(Taken from the Marseille City Guide)

27,000 B.C. - 1st human presence on the Provencal coasts (Cosquer cave)

600 B.C. - Foundation of Marseille: the Greek sailor Protis falls in love with the Ligurian princess Gyptis. From their love Massalia is born.

49 B.C. - Siege of Marseille by Caesar: Marseille becomes Roman and is now called Massilia.

416 A.D. - Foundation of the monastic community by Cassien on the tomb of the martyr Victor

1229 - The city rebels against the monastic rule and the bishop is removed. The merchants take power: the Republic of Marseille is born.

1262 - Charles d'Anjou recaptures Marseille which is attached to the Comte de Provence. Construction of the Arsenal, for the conquest of Italy.

1423 - The sacking of the city by the Aragon army.

1481 - Marseille and Provence are attached to the Kingdom of France.

1660 - Louis XIV visits Marseille and orders the extension of the city, the construction of a new arsenal and two forts. Made a free port by Colbert, the city prospers and expands.

1720 - Great plague of Marseille. Half the population dies. 

1792 - March on Paris of the Marseille battalion singing "la Marseillaise."

In the 1830s - Marseille becomes once again a flourishing Mediterranean port.

1848 to 1870 - Marseille, "Gateway of the Orient," the city expands, a new trading port is built, monuments and churches. The Paris-Lyon-Marseille railway arrives in Marseille, the Suez Canal is opened.

1906 to 1922 - Colonial Exhibitions in the Parc Chanot.

1943 - Destruction of the districts of the Old Port. 1945 destruction of the famous Pont Transbordeur (bridge).

1962 - Massive arrival of repatriated French settlers from North Africa. The city builds blocks of flats in the north of Marseille.

1995 - Creation of the largest planning and economic development projects: Euromediterranee

2001 - Marseille to Paris in 3 hours with the TGV

2013 - Marseille is the European Capital of Culture

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