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Things You Didn't Know About Marseille

Marseille is one of the most overlooked parts of France. Here's some things you didn't know and reasons you should visit:

It's big

There's a lot to see and do in Marseille, and that's partly because it's simultaneously the biggest port in France and the second biggest city, after... you guessed it, Paris.

It's Old, Like Really Old

Marseille's early history begins in around 7th Century BC, when the Greeks actually sailed along the coast of what is now Europe, until they stopped and built Massalia, now known as Marseille. You can view much of the Greek history in one of the two museums dedicated to Marseille history, even seeing one of the ancient boats used by the Greeks. This town was a thriving port while Paris had only it's first stones being laid.

There's a Castle-Prison

Imagine a beautiful Castle version of San Francisco's Alcatraz Island Prison and you're starting to envisage what Château d’If looks like. It's actually France's smallest Island and featured in ''The Count of Monte Cristo''.

Soap Is Important

Marseille has a long history in producing soap and it's one of the products that enabled the country to thrive, bringing in millions of Franks for hundreds of years. 'Savon de Marseille' has strict rules, such as having at least a certain percentage vegetable oil and, since a law enacted by French King Louis XIV, absolutely no animal fat.

The Sun Really Shines

It's official, the region that Marseille sits in, enjoys the most sunny days every year compared to any other region of France. That sun can be hot, too!


It's A Mix Of Cultures

With the Greek foundations, and influence from Romans, Ottomans, Catalans, Europeans, and now Africans and Middle Easterns, there is a real melting pot of cultures, identities and people in Marseille, making it one of the most interesting regions of France

Written by Wayne Covell on 17/1/2021

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