Marseille – A French Pearl in the Mediterranean Sea
There are many titles that a city can achieve, but not many cities have so many impressive titles like Marseille does. The second most populated city of France is also the oldest one, being founded by the Greeks 2,600 years ago. Marseille is the largest commercial port in the Mediterranean Sea and one of the most attractive cities.
Large museums, impressive churches, old and stylish buildings, shiny beaches, amazing restaurants and lovely terraces – this is just a little part of what Marseille has to offer. Since one of the things that made Marseille famous was its harbor, visiting le Vieux Port (the old harbor) is a must. Besides landmarks like the lighthouse of St. Mary, Canebiere – a historic avenue of the city and St. Victor’s Abbey – one of the oldest Christian worship places in France, you just have to see the sailors trading their fresh stock and to enjoy the colors of the sky in the evening.
Notre Dame de la Garde overlooks the whole city. This wonderful Neo-Byzantine church stands over the city at the highest natural point of Marseille – 162 meters. Being 60 meters high, the construction of the church took five years, starting with 1853 and it required 23 shiploads of Italian marble and porphyry (almost 170,000 tons of material). The fishermen used to have their boats blessed in the church.
If you feel trendy, try visiting the most trendy place in the city – Cours Julien, packed with bookstores, cafes and fountains. Other walkways include la Corniche, a road by the sea, la Place Castellane – a roundabout with a grand fountain and Boulevard Longchamp – an impressive boulevard with upper class buildings.
Le Panier is the oldest part of the town. Until the Second World War, the narrow streets, steep steps and historical houses formed an authentic Old Center, but the Nazis blew it up. Nowadays, there are several ancient hotels and museums in the area, but the most impressive structure is the Vielle Charite, now hosting exhibitions and museums.
Plan your trip to Marseille in the long sunny summer – there’s nothing better than to wander around the streets of this wonderful city or just to stretch under the sun.