Travel postcard: 48 hours in Marseille

Fri May 27, 2011 8:54am EDT
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By Barbara Lewis

MARSEILLE, France (Reuters Life!) - Founded in 600 BC by the ancient Greeks, Marseille is the oldest of France's cities, as well as its second largest metropolis after Paris and its biggest port.

Its more than two-and-a-half millennia of history is pitted with piracy and plague, rebellion and revolution.

So many Marseillais revolutionary volunteers marched off to the capital, singing as they went, that they gave their name to the national anthem La Marseillaise.

Reuters correspondents with local knowledge help you to discover modern-day Marseille.


For an overview of a city which combines a stunning natural setting between the mountains and the Mediterranean with a sprawling industrial port, oil refineries and heavy industry, arrive in Marseille by plane.

The city is also well-served by France's rapid TGV train service (Trains Grande Vitesse) from Lille in northern France, central Paris and Paris Charles de Gaulle airport.

If you arrive at the Saint Charles train station, exit down the grand staircase, immortalized in numerous films, and look across at one of the city's great landmarks -- the church of Notre Dame de la Garde (literally, our lady of the watch), perched on one of the city's many hills.   Continued...

<p>General view of the old Mediterranean port of Marseille, July 14, 2010. REUTERS/Jean-Paul Pelissier</p>