Where to begin when talking about Marseille? The city is so diverse with such a rich history, and it is popular, even more so since 2013 when it was designated by the EU as the European Capital of Culture, for one year. With such a question, I normally resort to my yoga perspective and say ‘you start with the centre.’ Of course.
And the centre is of course Le Vieux Port, the old harbor. Others regard the beautiful Notre-Dame de La Garde, Our Guardian Lady, the Catholic basilica, as the central focus point, as it stands high above, guarding the city. However, the city‘s history starts in 600 BC when Greek settlers landed there to begin a trading post which later was known as the Vieux Port, and the city was called Massalia.
During the nineteenth century, the trading activities were moved to nearby sites but Le Vieux Port retained its centre-of-the-city position and started to function as a marina and a terminal where ferries depart to nearby towns and islands, like the Frioul archipelago where also the famous Chateau d’If, prison island, can be visited.
Almost completely destroyed during WWII, and lovingly rebuild under architect Fernand Pouillon, Le Vieux Port is the heart of Marseille, offering inspiration when it comes to people, sea and city.