16 Interesting Marseille Facts That Will Leave You Amazed

Welcome to Marseille, the vibrant second-largest 😲city of France!

From its captivating natural landscapes filled with beaches 🏖️to its attractive monuments, it offers fascinating facts for you to discover!

This article will offer some wonderful facts about Marseille that will leave you amazed!

Let’s begin this exciting journey!

Amazing Marseille facts

Marseille City: It is famous as the 2nd-most populous city in France

I am quite amazed to learn this exciting fact about the beautiful Marseille City! 

Central Marseille has a population of about 870,000. Along with its suburbs, the population of the area increases to about 1.5m and competes with Lyon. 

Marseille is famous as the second most populated city in the country, along with Lyon. 

However, in terms of political power, it is Marseille that is generally considered to be a great competitor of the capital, Paris.

The city of Marseille: It is the oldest city in France

Marseille is famous as the oldest city in France, and today it is famous as the second largest city in the country. This city was founded in 600 BC as a Greek colony.

The well-known Vieux Port was a natural harbor, and its location on the Mediterranean Sea made it a vital trading port. 

After the Greeks came the Romans, who utilized it as an entry point to their old settlements in Lyon, Arles, Nimes, and eventually Paris. 

Thus, Marseille has a rich history to offer.

Marseille City: It is the capital of the region known as PACA

Vieux Port In Marseille

Little knowledge lovers, have you heard this interesting fact about the city of Marseille!?

 Historically Marseille was a vital part of the territory of the Counts of Province. 

After being a part of France during the Middle Ages, it became a part of the region of Province. 

In 2018, Province, its neighboring area Cote d’Azur, and a part of the Alps became one single region known as “Province-Alpes-Cote d’Azur”, aka PACA. 

Marseille turned out to be the capital of this new region, which later was renamed Region Sud, although the name PACA is more popular.

Marseille: It is often known as Massalia or the Phoceen city

The name “Marseille” of this beautiful French city derives from the ancient Greek settlement that was called “Massalia.” 

The city was an access point for the Greeks who came from Phocaea on Anatolia’s western coast. 

This is the reason why Marseille is often famous as the Phoceen City and why one of the most important newspapers📰 in the area is known as Le Phoceen.

According to many people, the Greeks who founded Marseille selected the site because of the abundance of seals in the area.

People of Marseille: They used to speak Provencale and Occitan

I am quite amazed to explore this amazing fact about Marseille! 

Until the Middle Ages, people didn’t speak French in this city, but rather another language known as Provencale, which is a dialect of Occitan. 

The Kings 👑of France, generation after generation, had imposed laws on the population of Marseille, trying to erase the local language and culture, doing little to endear themselves.

In 1539, French King Francois I banned the use of most regional dialects or languages and introduced a new language called “francoys” to be used for all official purposes.

The Notre Dame de la Garde: It serves as a symbol of the city

Notre Dame De La Garde In Marseille

Marseille’s iconic symbol is the Notre Dame de la Garde Basilica. Quite impressive, isn’t it?

Famous as the Bonne Mere to its locals, it stands overlooking the Vieux Port. It is also famous as the city’s highest natural point.

In 1214, a local priest was inspired to construct a chapel to the Virgin Mary on top of the La Garde hill, which belonged to the Church of France. 

In the 15th century, King Francois here and decided that the city was poorly defended against Spain. 

So he made the church bigger, with surrounding fortifications.

The Savon de Marseille: A protected trademark of this region

Little friends, meet the city of soaps, 🧼Marseille!

 Savon de Marseille is a traditional hard soap that has been made for 100s of years from vegetable oils. The first known soapmaker was recorded in the area around 1370.

In 1688, Sun King Louis XIV introduced regulations in the Edict of Colbert to limit the use of the name Savon de Marseille” to only olive oil-based soaps.

Today, it is a protected trademark, and only a few manufacturers remain in Province.

The soap is made by mixing local olive oil, seawater from the Mediterranean Sea, and alkaline ash from seaweeds.

It has many attractions and was designated the capital of culture in Europe

Les Calanques In Marseille

Although the city of Marseille is situated on the French Riviera, it has not been as popular as Cannes, Nice, or St. Tropez.

However, with the popularity of Le Panier, Notre Dame de la Garde, and Les Calanques, along with large investment areas like the Cours Julien, MUCEM, and Palais Longchamps, the city of Marseille has become much more popular with visitors.

As a sign of this new fame, in 2013, the city was designated a European Capital of Culture.

The flag of Marseille City: It represents the Mediterranean Sea

Flag Of Marseille

This beautiful French city called Marseille has its own flag, which has a blue cross on a white background. 

The cross was adopted around 1254, which has been serving as a symbol of the Crusades since, at that time, Marseille was one of the major ports of embarkation to reach the Holy Land.

In the Vieux Port, the blue cross flag was flown to indicate that this was a safe harbor. 

The colors of the flag symbolize the Mediterranean and also harken back to the hues of ancient Greeks to show their roots.

Olympique de Marseille: A famous football team in Marseille

Football In Marseille

If you are a football fan⚽ like me, then you will surely love this interesting secret about this interesting French city called Marseille! 

The locals of the city are fiercely proud of the local soccer team, known as the Olympique de Marseille.

Their biggest moment of glory was when they won the title of Champions League in 1993. In addition, OM, or Olympique de Marseille, lays claim to being the first and only French team to win a Champions League title.

The city of Marseille: It has a coat of arms

Since the 14th century, Marseille City has had a coat of arms, with the current version adopted in 1883. 

The coat of arms is newer than the flag of the city.

Also, this beautiful city has the oldest chamber of commerce in the country. 

Founded on 5 August 1599, the Marseille Chambre de commerce et d’industrie is the oldest on the planet. 

It is a testament to the history of the city as an economic powerhouse and also an entry point into Western Europe.

Marseille City: It has always been a traditional rival to Paris

The roots of Marseille vs. Paris go deep in history. 

Politicians of France who wish to present themselves as a counterbalance to the Government in Paris will claim to be representing Marseille.

Historically, Marseille was a prosperous city due to its rich harbor. 

The wealth 💰of the city made it a target for French monarchs based in Paris. 

It remained autonomous until when Beatrice of Provence married Charles, brother of Saint King Louis IX, in 1246. 

Shev was the Countess in Marseille because her father did not have any sons. Later, Marseille became part of France through Beatrice’s descendants.

It was one of the first regions that adopted Christianity in the West

Christianity In Marseille

Marseille became an early center of Christianity during the Roman era. 

Tradition says that Marry Magdalene came here after landing in Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer, which is only 75 miles away. 

She came with her brothers Maximinus, and Lazarus, sister Martha, along with Marie de Clephas and Marie Salome. From here, they spread across, and she is believed to have converted the locals of Marseille.

Later, she retired to nearby Saint-Maximin-la-Sainte-Baume where there is a crypt to contain her remains.

Saint Maximinus went to Aixen-Province, to be Bishop, and is known as one of the most famous saints in France.

It has some of the best beaches that can amaze numerous people

Beaches Of Marseille

I am really excited to explore this splendid fact about Marseille! 

Due to its location on the French Riviera, it can come as a common fact that Marseille is home to some excellent beaches.

From the Plage des Catalens, located near the Vieux Port, to others like Point Rogue, the large Prado Beach, and many more, this is definitely a perfect place for those who love stunning, sunny beaches.

The economy of Marseille: It is driven by its port

The city of Marseille has the largest port in the country. 

While the Vieux Port is highly attractive to people, fishermen, and boat⛵ lovers, a new modern port was constructed several miles away called Port de la Joliette.

Also, it invites trade from all across Northern Africa and the Mediterranean. 

Moreover, the town is recently attracting high-tech startups and firms in all sectors of the economy, driven by employees and companies looking for a lower cost of living, along with sunshine.

Marseille City: It is France’s one of the sunniest cities

Mediterranean Sea In Marseille

Little friends, I know you will be very happy to learn this sunny secret about this sunny city of Marseille! 

Due to its location on the south of France, Marseille receives around 170 days of bright sunshine during the year. This makes it one of the sunniest cities in France. 

In contrast, Paris gets around 50 days of bright sunshine.

However, during winter, Marseille becomes quite cold. 

Due to its location on the Mediterranean Sea, the Mistral winds carry an unexpected cold to Marseille. It is a dry, cold wind that blows at an average speed of 30 mph.

Summing up

We hope! Knowing about the above exciting Marseille facts will satisfy your curious soul!

As you already feel amazed to know about this wonderful sunny ☀️city! Among the above facts! Which do you like the most?

As we are already together in this exciting journey, we would love😃 to know your answer.

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