October 28, 2021
Marseille is a town in the South-East of France, capital of the Bouches-du-Rhône department and prefecture of the Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur region. In 2018, Marseille was the second most populous municipality in France with 868,277 inhabitants. Its urban unit, which extends north to Aix-en-Provence, is the third in France with 1,607,292 inhabitants, behind Paris and Lyon. Since January 1, 2016, Marseille has hosted the headquarters of the metropolis of Aix-Marseille-Provence, the second most populous in France with 1,873,707 inhabitants. Its urban area is, for its part, the third in France after those of Paris and Lyon with 1,756,296 inhabitants in 2016. These figures make Marseille the largest city in the South of France, in the Occitan cultural region, as well as of the linguistic area of the langue d'oc. Oldest city in France founded in Antiquity under the name Μασσαλία / Massalía) around 600 BC. AD by sailors and Greek merchants from Phocée (today Foça, near Izmir, Turkey), Marseille has been an important port of commerce and transit since Antiquity. It experienced a considerable commercial boom during the colonial period and more particularly during the 19th century, becoming a prosperous industrial and trading town. A legacy of this past, the Grand Port Maritime de Marseille (GPMM) and the maritime economy constitute major centers of regional and national activity and Marseille remains the leading French port, the second Mediterranean port and the fifth European port. Its privileged location on the edge of the Mediterranean allowing the arrival of numerous submarine cables also makes Marseille the ninth hub of connection to the world Internet network with one of the strongest growth in the world in this sector. Marseille's openness to the Mediterranean Sea has made it from its origins a cosmopolitan city marked by numerous cultural and economic exchanges with Southern Europe, the Middle East, North Africa and Asia. It has also been often considered since the 17th century as the “Gateway to the Orient” on the French Mediterranean coast.