blog, History

The Birth of the Oldest City in France

Paris is the largest city in France and it is the most talked about French city worldwide as most consider it to be the city of love. However, a little gem that people don’t actually know as much as they should know about is Marseille. It is the second largest French city. Today, it has one of the biggest ports predominantly focused on shipping, freight, and economic trade.


Marseille is positioned on the southern coast of France and known for its Mediterranean climate. The winters are muggy and summertime is windy and dusty. The cooler months starting in November and ending in March, January being the coldest. As well as the warmer months starting in May and ending in September, the hottest being in July.

In the Beginning

Marseille was discovered by the Greeks in 600 BC. A lot transpired through the centuries, however, if we take a look at the 18th century, this is where a big change happened. 1720 was the year that saw the Great Plague of Marseille.


This was an outbreak of a deadly disease resulting in people dying from high fever and delirium. This plague affected the population of Marseille greatly, however, by the middle of the 18th century, the population had steadily stabilized again.


The French anthem, La Marseillaise, was written in 1792 by Claude Joseph Rouget de Lisle. It was declared as the country’s national anthem in 1795. The anthem is symbolic of the fight for freedom and the unity of the people against dictatorship.


Marseille as it Stands Today

Fast forwarding a few centuries to today, we can see how Marseille has developed so significantly over the years. Today, it has one of the best transportation infrastructures with public road transport facilities, airports, and shipping docks.

It has also become the most frequented city in France thanks to the overflow of beautiful beaches, art deco architecture, rich history, and diverse culture. Culturally speaking, there are five art galleries, 24 historical museums, 42 different theatres, and a few opera houses. The oldest and biggest opera house in France is the Opéra Municipal de Marseille which opened in 1924.


A Nation of Diversity

The population of Marseille is large with a range of different nationalities. The vast scope falls over numerous cultures such as the Turks, Chinese, Vietnamese, Maghrebis, and so many others. From a religious perspective, various cultures have different beliefs, however, the most followed religion in Marseille itself is Roman Catholic.


Famous Food in Marseille

The advantage of Marseille being based on the southern coast of France means that the fish market there is constantly thriving. Daily fish catching is the norm. The city is well known for its most famous dish called Bouillabaisse.


This dish is a simple yet delicious fish soup made up of at least three different types of fish with a variety of vegetables. Bouillabaisse is also ideally a shared meal between large groups of people.

Marseille, an idyllic city of fascination and charm.