France’s second-largest city after Paris, Marseille is located in the southern part of the country near the mouth of the Rhone River, on the coast of the Mediterranean Sea. The city and its surrounding metropolitan area are home to nearly 2 million people. Because of its location, Marseille has long been an important southern European port, as well as a great launching destination for a tour of France. Travelers often book flights to Marseille as a launching point for a European adventure.
The city is also one of Europe’s oldest cities. Marseille was founded in 600 BCE by the ancient Greeks as a center for trade. Much like today, goods from Africa, the Middle East, and other countries on the Mediterranean Sea frequently passed through Marseille’s port on their way to locations in northern and eastern Europe.
If you have booked a flight to Marseille for business or for leisure travel, you will find that the city is a hub for culture, regional cuisine, and the fine and performing arts. Marseille is also home to many interesting historic sites, museums, and theaters. More than 2.5 million visitors book flights to Marseille, France, each year.
Among the city’s most notable historic sites is its Old Port. Historic buildings, hotels, seafood restaurants, shops, and cafés line the Old Port’s picturesque harbor. The Old Port also serves as a base for many of Marseille’s fisherman, who can often be seen unloading their catches early in the morning. A popular fish market frequented by local residents and chefs is also located in the Old Port.
Many of the people who take flights to Marseille, France, visit the Basilique Notre-Dame de la Garde, a Romanesque church that dates back to the middle of the 19th century. The church was built on the city’s highest point, about 400 feet above sea level, and can be seen from most of the neighborhoods in Marseille. Visitors to the church enjoy excellent views of the city and the Old Port. Basilique Notre-Dame de la Garde is considered by many to be the city’s most iconic landmark.
Once a center for manufacturing, Marseille’s modern economy is partially based on the city’s many high tech, marine, and aerospace companies. Business travelers who book plane tickets to Marseille frequently visit the city’s larger firms, including Compagnie Maritime d'Expertises (Comex), which designs hydraulics for ships, and Airbus Helicopters SAS, one of the world’s largest designers of helicopters. The fishing industry also plays a sizable role in the city’s overall economic picture, as does the service industry.
Known throughout Europe for its seafood, Marseille has its own unique style of cuisine. Many dishes that originated in the city have become icons of French gastronomy. Among them is Bouillabaisse, a type of rustic fish stew that typically contains three different types of fish as well as shellfish, vegetables, and potatoes. Aioli, a mayonnaise-like sauce typically served with fish—made from garlic, eggs, lemon, and olive oil—also originated in Marseille.
Marseille is known throughout Europe as a center for the opera. Many of the leisure travelers who book flights to Marseille, or who drive to the city from other locations in France, come to experience a performance at the city’s Opéra de Marseille. The theater, which is located near the Old Port, offers several productions each year. Opéra de Marseille is also home to the city’s ballet company, Ballet National de Marseille.
Because it has long served as a port, Marseille is very culturally and ethnically diverse. Many of its residents have roots in Italy, Armenia, North Africa, Turkey, China, and other parts of France. The city’s culturally diverse atmosphere attracts young people to the city, especially students who take cheap flights to Marseille, France, in order to study in one of the city’s universities or professional schools.
Marseille’s largest educational institution is the public Aix-Marseille University, which is comprised of three smaller schools located throughout the city.
Marseille is also a popular destination for football (soccer) fans. The city’s team, Olympique de Marseille, plays at the Stade Vélodrome, a large stadium with a capacity of 50,000. Other popular spectator sports in the city include sail racing, rugby, and water polo, and fans are often eager to book cheap tickets to Marseille, France, in order to catch a game.