Marseille, a bustling port city in southwestern France, is a crossroads of commerce and immigration since its inception by the ancient Greeks around 600 B.C. At its core is the famous Vieux-Port (old port) where seafood sellers line the narrow boat-lined harbor. Modern landmarks include the famed Le Corbusier’s influential CitÉ Radieuse and the equally famous Zaha Hadid’s CMA CGM Tower, both located nearby. What is it that makes Marseille such a fascinating and important port of call for tourists and travelers?
One of the most notable things about Marseille is its storied past. The city has had four major empires during the past five centuries, and accounts for half of the region’s population. The city was at one time a major commercial crossroads between the west and east coast of the Mediterranean Sea, as it was an important staging point for fleets traveling to Italy, and the Mediterranean itself. Today, the city continues to flourish as an international financial center, hosting many international conventions and events, and is home to some of the finest museums in the world.
One of the things that characterizes Marseille as a city of historical importance is the region’s location on the Mediterranean. The city was an important part of the trading routes running from the east coast of Asia across the Meditteranean Sea to the eastern shores of the French coast. It was here that valuable commodities such as olive oil were transported to all corners of the globe, bringing vast wealth to both the individual families that owned them and the city state that controlled the trading routes. As such, many of the cities across the entire region had major concentrations of wealth and power. In particular, Marseille served as a vital crossing point for many of these traders, who were able to make their way to places such as Venice, Athens, and other important destinations in the Mediterranean and beyond.
Of course, as a major port city, Marseille had many opportunities for tourist attractions. The city had been home to some of the most influential cultures in the Mediterranean world, and had Provences in virtually every sector of the industry. One of the most well-known port cities across Europe, Marseille became home to some of the most important financial and trading centers of the medieval period, and is still today a thriving port. Its rich history is further highlighted by the fact that it has only lost one major castle in its history, which was reduced to rubble following a storm on the beach, due to a local explosion.
One of the best known and best-loved tourist attractions in Marseille is the world-famous Saint-Michel, which is situated in an area known as the “French Riviera”. It enjoys a great reputation as a romantic and historic spot, where tourists often flock in droves to soak up some of the history and culture. This part of Marseille is also popular for its cuisine, with chefs serving up traditional meals such as Boeuf bourguignon and filet mignon. In fact, a lot of these local dishes have been brought over from France and are now a staple cuisine of many restaurants across the world, such as the ones in London, Paris, and New York City. Tourist guides to Marseille will often point out the many delicious eateries lining the cobbled streets, and the cafes and bistros bustling with activity all day and night.
Travelling around the region, you will find that there are numerous cafes, restaurants, and bistros that offer great tasting food at great prices. One of the most famous bistros in Marseille is La Bargeole, which is situated on the seafront right next to the Porto Marche and is counted among one of the best-known Seafood Restaurants in Europe. Another restaurant to try out in Marseille is La Croisette, which is situated in the city’s old quarter. This quaint pub has served some of the best sea foods in France since the 16th century, and is still one of the city’s best Seafood Restaurants.