In 2013, its population, Marseille is the second town in France 1 , with 858 120 inhabitants and the third largest city with 1,565,879 inhabitants 2 . Marseille has sinceThe seat of the metropolis of Aix-Marseille-Provence 3 , the second largest in France with more than 1.8 million inhabitants. Its urban area is the third largest in France after those of Paris and Lyon with 1,876,019 inhabitants 4 .

The oldest town in France 5 , founded under the name Μασσαλία ( Massalía ) around 600 BC. BC by sailors Greek origin of Phocaea , Marseille is since the ancient times an important commercial port and passage. She especially knows a considerable commercial growth during the xix th  century becoming a prosperous industrial city and negotiating 6 .

The maritime port of Marseilles (GPMM) and the maritime economy are still major hubs of regional and national activity 7 and Marseille remains the leading French port , the second largest port in the Mediterranean 8 and the fifth largest in Europe 9 .

The opening of Marseilles on the Mediterranean Sea has since made it a cosmopolitan city of cultural and economic exchanges with Southern Europe , the Near East , North Africa and Asia . It is often considered the “Gate of the East” 10 .


Drachma of the ancient city of Massalia where the beginning of the name ”  ΜΑΣΣ apparaît  ” appears .

The name of Marseilles comes from the Greek Μασσαλία ( Massalía , tonic accent on the “i”), name under which the city was founded by Greeks from Phocaea ( Φώκαια / Phṓkaia ). Several hypotheses exist to explain the origin of this name.

The first gives Mas Saliens , the residence of Salyens 11 , but mas is a Provencal word of Latin origin 12 and Saliens is Celtic. Another explanation would give the name as derived from the Greek Mσσσα ( Massa ), the Phocaeans having brought back from Asia Minor the habit of giving this name to cities, castles, rivers, etc. (Eg more than thirty Massa in Italy ). The word μαζα or rather μᾶζα (with a hypothetical variant μᾶσα) corresponds to the Latin libum , offering sacred cakes, and the final – λεις, would be a formative of adjectives, the Massaliotes being priests and the city,

A more plausible explanation is that proposed by Ernest Nègre , who thinks that the place is baptized by the Phocaeans, starting from a hydronyme common in Greece, Massalia 13 . Benedicte and Jean-Jacques Fénié other Toponymists, think of a name Ligurian 14 . Paul Noujaim suggested meanwhile that the name comes from the Phoenician Mars-el , or Port of God , the city has been erected on the site of an ancient Phoenician settlement 15 .

In the Roman era, Massalia became Massilia (a tonic accent on the first), then Marselha in Occitan Provençal 13 whose French name “Marseilles” came from (the final semi-sound “a” being transposed into “e” .

The present name in Occitan Provençal is always Marselha for the classical orthography or Marsiho for the spelling mistralienne (pronounced / maʀsijɔ / in both cases) 16 , 17 . The city is called Marsiglia in Italian , Marsella in Catalan and Spanish , Marselha in Portuguese , Marseilles or Marseilles in English ,

Among the nicknames given to the city, Marseille is called Chateaubriand “The Athens of Gaul” during Antiquity 18 , the “city of Phocea” in reference to its foundation by the Phocaeans , “the rebel city” because of its opposition Repeated in the Parisian power during its history 19 , 20 or the “Gate of the East” for its situation as a port of the colonies . During the Convention, as a punishment for his involvement in the federalist movement, Marseille was temporarily renamed: from 6 January to 12 February 1794,



Marseille seen by the satellite Spot

Located in the southeast of France, Provence , Marseille is bordered by the Mediterranean to the west, enclosed by massive Estaque and the mass of the Star to the north, Garlaban to the east, the massive Of Saint-Cyr and Mount Puget in the south-east and the massif of Marseilleveyre in the south. Because of its location, Marseille is, by expressways, 775 km from Paris , 316 km from Lyon , 204 km from Nice , 405 km from Toulouse ,

The commune covers 240.62 km 2 with a density of 3 555 inhabitants / km 2 . However, considering only the buildable area, is 150 km 2 around [ref. Necessary] , the density of the city is 5,703 inhabitants / km 2 .

The latitude of the city had been calculated by the Greek Pytheas , born Massalia around 380 BC, with remarkable accuracy, making Marseille the first city in the world geolocated 23 .

Border towns

Nearby towns of Marseille
The Rove The Pennes-Mirabeau
Marseilles The Penne-sur-Huveaune
Mediterranean Sea Cassis


The Huveaune , in the Sainte-Marguerite district ( 9 th ).

The Huveaune and its tributary the Jarret , almost entirely covered in the urban part of the city, are, with the stream of the Caravelle which passes to the Aygalades , the main rivers crossing Marseille. The Huveaune and the Caravelle are coastal rivers with relatively low flows. The hydrographic system of the basin of the city is characteristic of the Mediterranean environment: the flow of water is low but its rivers know important floods in case of rain. Water is heavily channeled, often at the source of these watercourses and irrigates the entire basin 24 . In the case of the Marseilles streams,

For more than ten years the Huveaune , just after the point of confluence with the Jarret, is diverted towards the water treatment plant of Marseille because its natural mouth at the roundabout of the David polluted the beaches of the city. The treated water is then discharged to the south of the city, in the creeks , by the outlet of Cortiou, which also poses a major problem of pollution – especially as the rejection takes place in a national park, Exception 25 .

Marseille is supplied with 75% of drinking water through the Marseille canal ( Durance waters ) and 25% by the Canal de Provence ( Verdon waters ).


The commune of Marseilles has a seafront of 57 kilometers of which 24 kilometers of calanques .

The calanques of Marseille extend over twenty kilometers of coastline on the Mediterranean Sea between the village of Goudes, south-west of the city and Cassis. It is one of the most remarkable sites in France and a major area of ​​natural resources and sports activities. The calanques have a million visitors a year.

Following a process initiated in 1999 , a Calanques National Park was created in 2012 26 to protect its natural heritage on land and sea. It includes an area of 11,100 hectares on land between the towns of Marseille, Cassis and La Ciotat and 141 300 hectares at sea 27 . It is the first national peri-urban park in Europe.

The main beaches are the beaches of the Prado , the Catalans , the Pointe Rouge , the beach of the Prophet. The Prado beaches, officially “Gaston Defferre beaches”, were laid out by the embankments obtained by the tunneling of the metro .

Marseilles also has nearly 100 diving sites 28 , the most renowned being the archipelago of Riou , the archipelago of Friuli and the island of Planier .


If the Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur region has areas with seismic risk, particularly in the regions of Nice and Aix-en-Provence , the risks seem insignificant to Marseille 29 .


Mistral on the archipelago of Friuli and the castle of If

The climate of Marseille is typically Mediterranean . The city enjoys an exceptional duration of sunshine, with more than 2,800 hours of sunshine per year, notably thanks to the mistral wind, cold and dry, which blows on average 93 days a year. There is an average of 515 mm of rainfall per year – they are the lowest in France within the Marseilles harbor, less than 300 mm per year on Pomègues Island 30 – and 57 days of rain (39 of which exceed 2, 5 mm ) mainly in autumn-winter. The average temperature in Marseille is 15.5 ° C .

Despite a generally mild climate, extreme episodes are recorded. Thus, the thermometer reached – 16.8 ° C on 12 February 1956 and + 39.7 ° C on 26 July 1983 at the Marseille – Provence airport station at Marignane ( 25 km inland) 31 but the heat record in downtown Marseille is 40.6 ° C during the same heat wave of July 1983 32 . On January 14, 1987 33 and January 7, 2009, more than 10 cm of snow was measured , which completely paralyzed the city. Note 4 , 34 with a layer reaching or exceeding 30 cm in certain peripheral communes as on the Marseille – Provence airport in Marignane , with 29 cm 35 . Diluvial precipitation can occur in the fall and cause record cumulations in a few hours, such as October 1, 1892 with its 221.5 mm in the morning 36 , 37 or more recently the double storm of 19 September 2000 with 191.4 Mm in only 6 h 38 or the stationary mega-storm during the night of 22 to 23 September 1993 on the north-western suburb of the city at Pennes-Mirabeau with 250 mm 39 . With 29 cm 35 . Diluvial precipitation can occur in the fall and cause record cumulations in a few hours, such as October 1, 1892 with its 221.5 mm in the morning 36 , 37or more recently the double storm of 19 September 2000 with 191.4 Mm in only 6 h 38 or the stationary mega-storm during the night of 22 to 23 September 1993 on the north-western suburb of the city at Pennes-Mirabeau with 250 mm 39 . With 29 cm 35 . Diluvial precipitation can occur in the fall and cause record cumulations in a few hours, such as October 1, 1892 with its 221.5 mm in the morning 36 , 37 or more recently the double storm of 19 September 2000 with 191.4 Mm in only 6 h 38 or the stationary mega-storm during the night of 22 to 23 September 1993 on the north-western suburb of the city at Pennes-Mirabeau with 250 mm 39 .

The meteorological records are made at Marseille-Provence airport in Marignane , 25 km from the city of Marseille inland.

Marseille – Provence Airport Weather Report
Month jan. feb. March April may June Jul. August sep. oct. nov. dec. year
Average minimum temperature ( ° C ) 2.9 3.6 6 9.1 13.1 16.5 19.1 18.7 15.7 12.4 7.2 3.9 10.8
Average temperature (° C) 7.2 8.1 11 13.9 18 21.9 24.8 24.4 20.6 16.7 11.2 8 15.5
Average Maximum Temperature (° C) 11.4 12.5 15.8 18.6 22.9 27.1 30.2 29.7 25.5 20.9 15.1 11.9 20.2
Record of cold (° C) -12.4 -16.8 -10 -2.4 0 5.4 7.8 8.1 1 -2.2 -5.8 -12.8 -16.8
Record of heat (° C) 19.9 22.1 25.4 29.6 34.9 37.6 39.7 39.2 34.3 30.4 25.2 20.3 39.7
Number of days with frost 9.1 5.7 1.8 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 2.1 7.1 25.8
Number of days with maximum temperature ≥ 25 ° C 0 0 0 1 8.7 21.5 29.5 29.1 18.2 3.4 0 0 111.4
Number of days with maximum temperature ≥ 30 ° C 0 0 0 0 0.6 6.5 17.3 14.9 1.7 0.1 0 0 41.1
Number of days with maximum temperature ≥ 35 ° C 0 0 0 0 0 0.2 0.9 0.9 0 0 0 0 2
Sunshine ( h ) 145.1 173.7 238.7 244.5 292.9 333.4 369.1 327.4 258.6 187.1 152.5 134.9 2,857.8
Record of wind (km / h) 130 122 130 119 101 115 112 162 137 119 112 119 162
Precipitation ( mm ) 48 31.4 30.4 54 41.1 24.5 9.2 31 77.1 67.2 55.7 45.8 515.4
Record of rain in 24 h (mm) 63 54.2 41.2 65.7 62 43 51.6 85.6 96 161.3 64 52.3 161.3
Including number of days with precipitation ≥ 1 mm 6.5 6 5.5 5.3 4.9 3.5 1.6 3 3.6 5.8 5.1 6 56.8
Including number of days with precipitation ≥ 5 mm 2.7 3.1 2.8 2.7 2.2 1.7 0.9 1.4 2.2 3.3 2.9 2.9 28.8
Relative humidity (%) 75 72 67 65 64 63 59 62 69 74 75 77 68.5
Number of days with snow 0.8 0.4 0.1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0.2 0.7 2.2
Number of storm days 0.6 0.9 1 1.2 2 2.6 1.7 2.9 2.7 2.5 1.5 0.7 20.3
Number of days with fog 2.1 1.4 0.9 0.3 0.2 0 0.1 0 0.7 1.3 1.7 2.3 11
Source: [1]  [ archive ] , [2]  [ archive ]
Climate chart
Averages: • Temp. Max and min ° C • Precipitation mm


Main articles: History of Marseille and Chronology of Marseille .


The human occupation of the site is ancient, as evidenced by the discovery, between 1985 and 1991, of the Cosquer cave , occupied between 27,000 and 19,000 before the present . Moreover, in June 2005 40 , excavations have uncovered the remains of a settlement Neolithic dating back to 6000 BC, near the Gare Saint-Charles , around the St. Bernard Wood 41 . Pottery fragments found on the south side of the Old Port attest to the human occupation of the site III E and II E centuries BC 42 .


Main article: Ancient Marseille .

Massalia, Greek city 

The first topography of the Greek city site is still widely perceived today, despite significant changes in the xix th  century. Promontory surrounded by the sea, the site is dominated by three successive mounds: the Butte Saint-Laurent ( 26 meters above sea level in 1840), the Butte des Moulins ( 42 meters ) and the Butte des Carmelites (about 40 meters ) 43 .

Foundation of the city: the legend of Gyptis and Protis
Main article: Myth founder of Marseille .

Greek colony in Marseille . Painting by Pierre Puvis de Chavannes (1868).

The foundation of Marseilles, which dates back to about 600 BC. BC , is the fact of Greek colonists from Phocaea 44 (now Foça in Turkey ); This settlement was particularly favored by the Phocians fleeing the Persian invasions in 546 BC. AD 44 . The date of -600 is given by different authors Note 5 , 44 antique with variants and archaeological finds Note 6 , 44 do not contradict it. The exact conditions of the foundation of the city are unknown,

According to Justin, the territory which now forms Marseilles was occupied by a tribe of the Ligures , that of the Segobriges , which would have settled towards the present Allauch . Two navarques Greek, Simos and Protis, arrived with their fleet to establish a commercial basis in the natural harbor of Lacydon and participate in trade in tin and amber. On the day of the arrival of the Greeks, the chief of the Ligurian tribe, Nanos, organized a feast during which his daughter Gyptis had to choose her husband by handing her a cup of water. The Greeks were invited to join the banquet and the young leader of these, Protis, was chosen, thus sealing the foundation of a new city,

Evolution of Massalia

Archaeological excavations revealed the remains of the first traces of the Greek habitat directly in contact with virgin soil on the most western part of the St. Lawrence Mound. Very soon the city grew and extended to the eastern slope of the Butte des Moulins. Finally, it includes the third hill (Carmelites) before the end of the vi th  century BC. AD . A final extension to the Hellenistic period allows it to reach an area of about 50 hectares, the city will exceed more before the xvii th  century.


The Garden of the Vestiges , discovered in 1967 during construction work of the Center Bourse on the site of the first port of the ancient city.

The Greek fortification of the late vi th  century BC. It was found in two parts of the city: in the Garden of the Vestiges and on the Butte des Carmes, during emergency excavations in the 1980s. A reconstruction took place in the Greek second half of the iv th  century BC. AD and the middle of the ii th  century BC. AD , the whole fortification is reconstructed into a large apparatus of pink limestone. This rampart is still visible in the garden Remains of 46 .

The interior of the city is cut into islands, with streets at right angles which constitute coherent ensembles, adapted to the natural topography of the site. Thus along the shore ways they have of changing axis, while hillocks hills are gridded regularly 47 .

Outside the walls, recent excavations have revealed a Cadastration prepared at the end of the vi th  century BC. As well as the quarrying of clay found abundantly in the geological substratum (site of the Alcazar); Thereafter grows at the same location a vineyard crop and probably other plantations 48 . The necropolis are known either by ancient discoveries or by the excavation, in 1990, of the park Sainte-Barbe 49 .

Greek Marseilles grew strongly and became a prosperous city, with strong commercial relations with Greece, Egypt, Asia Minor and then Rome . The city is independent and administered freely: it is governed by a directory of 15 “firsts” chosen from among 600 senators ( Strabo , IV, 1.5). Three of them had the pre-eminence and the essential part of the executive power.

Marseilles is the starting point for the diffusion of writing among the Gallic peoples , who have learned to transcribe their own language in Greek characters. It is also likely that in Marseilles are introduced the first vineyards in Gaul 50 .

Marseille and Rome

During the ii th  century BC. AD , Marseille finds itself confronted with the growing power of its Gallic neighbors, especially of Salyens . To face their threat, the city appealed to its ally Rome , now the great Mediterranean power.

Client of Julius Caesar and Pompey , Marseilles refuses in -49 to take part in the Civil War , while welcoming the emissaries of Pompey. Beaten at sea and besieged by three legions for two months by Caesar and then by his legate Gaius Trebonius , the city is taken ( Bellum Civile , Book I, 34-36, etc.), deprived of its colonies 51 and must submit to Rome . The Romans attached it to the Narbonnaise province .

At the time of Augustus , the city underwent another great phase of construction. The agora-forum is rebuilt as evidenced by the fragments of pavements discovered by Fernand Benoit to the south of the Caves of Saint-Sauveur. The forum is bordered to the west by another large building, theater, some steps have been preserved to this day inside the College of Old Port 52 . Bathhouses are installed along the harbor: the remains, reassembled on site Villeneuve-Bargemon , are now visible almost to their original location behind the town hall 53 .

During the High Empire , the harbor area was considerable 54  : it stretched along the northern shore of the Lacydon creek, following the horn of the harbor (Jardin des Vestiges), whose wharf was rebuilt during the Flavian period. Extends to the bottom of the current Old Port. In this area, the excavations at the Place Général-de-Gaulle have revealed a large stone-built esplanade, which may correspond to the salt-works. Many dolia warehouses are known; Part of one of them was preserved on the ground floor of the Roman Dock Museum .

Then, during the Low Empire , the city seems to decline slightly to the profit likely of Arles .

Late Antiquity

Marseille is growing again from the v th  century AD. Inside the city, the construction of a first large cathedral marks the power of the bishop, probably Proculus, who wants to compete with Arles. Two funerary basilicas were excavated 55 . One hypothetical one was searched for half in the right of way of the buildings of the Belsunce course by J. and Y. Rigoir in 1959 and by G. Bertucchi in the construction of the Center Bourse in 1974. The second is clearly attested by the excavation of M. Moliner, rue Malaval (2003-2004), with the discovery of an intact memoria under the chorus 56 .

On the horn of the harbor, filled up, a habitat is found, the trace of which can be found outside the walls, to the present library of the Alcazar (excavation M. Bouiron). On this site, direct continuity with the Roman constructions has been demonstrated; a group of buildings is gradually developing between the v th  century and the vii th  century, in a final state, a large warehouse type building. The buildings are abandoned in the early viii th  century 57 .

The vitality of the trade is perceptible by the discoveries of ceramic productions coming from all over the Mediterranean, privileged witnesses of the merchandise that flows to Marseille during the ostrogothic and Merovingian period. Then, taken in the eddies of the conflicts between Frankish kings, the city seems to lose its importance from the takeover of Provence by Charles Martel and the looting of the city that accompanies it.

Middle Ages

Top Middle Ages and Middle Ages central

Marseille was plundered by the Saracens in 838 and by the Greek pirates in 848 58 .

In 904, the abbey Saint-Victor is endowed with the south shore of the port by the king of Provence Louis the Blind . The period remains uncertain, with the quarrels of the last Carolingians entirely turned towards Italy and not hesitating to deal with the Saracens when their ambitions require it. The latter in 923 devastated the monastery of Saint-Victor and the territory of Marseilles. From the middle of the x th  century, the situation stabilizes. The Count of Provence chose a brother of Bishop Honoratus of Marseilles , son of Arlulf of Marseilles , and William, as Viscount of Marseilles .

The topography of the time is hardly noticeable 59 . There is a small fortification on the top of the hill of St. Lawrence, the Babon castle ( castrum Babonis ) text of the xii th  century. Babon The name refers to a bishop, mentioned about a polyptych lost abbey of Saint-Sauveur and which could have exercised during the ix th  century. The delimitation of the chamber is difficult because this fortification has already disappeared at the end of the xiv th  century and no vestige is known. It comprised part of the upper town belonging to the bishop and was to contain the area of ​​Fort Saint-Jean, At the Rue Fontaine-des-Vents, in the neighborhood of the present Place de Lenche . Mr. Bouiron has brought to light, in contact with this fortification, a second fortified ensemble centered around the Major, the village of the Major, which contains part of the Butte des Moulins .

Passed the year thousand , Marseille is again a flourishing port that participates in the Crusades . The Marseillais are present in North Africa and have a neighborhood in Saint-Jean d’Acre . If the capture of the latter puts an end to the adventure in the Holy Land , their presence is widely attested in the Mediterranean throughout the Middle Ages .

Numerous conflicts also surround the history between the counts of Provence and Marseilles, which enjoys a certain commercial independence:

  • 1209  : excommunication of Hugues Fer. The city is ”  forbidden  ” by the papal legate .
  • 1216  : the inhabitants of the lower town revolt against the bishop .
  • 1218  : new “ban” of the city and excommunication of its inhabitants.
  • 1229  : The lower city, after a new revolt against the bishop is “forbidden” and excommunicated. It recognizes the suzerainty of Raymond VII of Toulouse . She refuses that of Raimond Bérenger V .
  • 1252  : first peace agreements between Charles d’Anjou and Marseille, which submitted.

The economic and political independence of Marseille compared to France lasted until the end of the xv th  century and [ contradiction ] Charles I st of Anjou .

Lower Middle Ages


Marseille in 1575

The great plague penetrated Europe by the port of Marseilles in 1347 . In 1423 , the capture of the city by the Catalans and the ensuing destruction caused a profound decline at the end of the Middle Ages.

The 15 December 1437, The Count of Provence Rene of Anjou , who succeeded his brother Louis III of Anjou , as King of Sicily and Duke of Anjou , arrived at Marseilles and favored by privileges the raising of the city, which he considers As a strategic maritime base to reconquer his kingdom of Sicily .

The Marseillais, in return, undertake the rebuilding of the ramparts. The King René , who wishes to equip the port entrance of a solid defense, decided to build on the ruins of the ancient tower Maubert , a new larger tower. Jean Pardo, engineer, conceives the plans and Jehan Robert, mason of Tarascon , executes the works. This construction stretches from 1447 to 1453 . The king built the foundations of the pedestal, then the works were suspended for want of credits and it was finally thanks to the help of the inhabitants of Marseilles and especially the fishing corporation that they could take back. This tower, known as the tower of King Rene,

In 1516, François I er , on pilgrimage in the region, is attracted by curiosity to see a rhinoceros (this animal is a gift from the King of Portugal Emmanuel I st to Pope Leo X , the ship calling on the island of If ). François I er makes a visit to the city and used it to study the location and believes while lack of defense.

In 1524, the French army lost the last battle of Italy and fell back, pursued by its enemies and their allies. The army of the Holy Roman Empire pillaged the environs and besieged Marseilles. The city resisted and allowed the French army to reorganize and to force the army of the Holy Empire to return to its lands. The capture of the city is avoided by little and makes it even more evident the need to strengthen the defenses of the city. François I first ordered the construction of two royal forts, one on the island of If and the other to Our Lady of the Guard . He thus built the castle d ‘ If between 1526 and 1529 and erected a stone wall to Notre-Dame de la Garde . In 1536, the works of Notre-Dame de la Garde were completed, in time to defend the city against the troops of Charles V , who was also repulsed.

xvi th and xvii th  centuries: the rebellious city[ change | Change the code ]

Related articles: Charles de Casaulx and Dictatorship of Charles de Casaulx .


Charles de Casaulx , who controlled the town from 1591 to his assassination in 1596.


Marseille, engraving by Martin Martini 1602.

During the wars of religion , Marseilles first managed to stay away from conflicts and welcomed many refugees from the fighting. However, it joined the Catholic League in 1589 . On the death of Henri III , Marseilles refused to recognize his successor Henri de Navarre  : “a gigantic procession led by the consuls to the Reale gate” and erects a cross in sign of distrust of the “first [city] Christianity of the kingdom. » 60

In October 1591, The leader of the radical leaguers, Charles de Casaulx , was elected First Consul. In the autumn of 1592 , the Conseil de Ville rejected the authority of the Parliament of Aix and declared that it no longer obeyed except the authority of the Duke of Mayenne , leader of the League. Casaulx then took initiatives leading the city on the road to independence: building a fort at the entrance to the port, reestablishing a salt loft and freeing the gabelle , creating a printing house. InJuly 1593, Henry of Navarre abjured the Protestant faith; He was acknowledged king by the pope and then, inJanuary 1596By the Duke of Mayenne. Only Marseille refused to submit and Casaulx asked for the help of Philip II of Spain . The17 February 1596, French troops massed before the ramparts of the city; When he came to the spot, Casaulx was assassinated by Pierre de Libertat , who then opened the gates of the city. By learning the reduction of the city Henry would have said: “Now I’m the king of France 60 . ”

However, in the following years, Marseilles continued to contest the royal power. In 1615 , the population attacked the office of collection of the tax, killing the clerks and burning the registers. In 1634 , a riot of fishermen disputed the rise of salt. In 1635 and again in 1644 , residents revolted against new royal regulations concerning the currencies. In 1652 , taking advantage of the Fronde Aixoise , the Marseillais take the tolls of Bouc-Bel-Air , Aubagne and Pennes . In 1659 , an emissary of the king is attacked by the crowd and set parts 61 .

Louis XIV then went to the scene to put an end to the troubles. In 1660 , established in Aix , it announces that Marseille will be subjected to a military occupation and that the municipal institutions will be completely reformed. The Reale gate, before which the counts of Provence and then the kings of France had to swear to respect the liberties of the city before entering it, was defeated. To monitor the city, Fort Saint-Jean and Fort Saint-Nicolas are built at the entrance to the port. TheMarch 2, 1660Louis XIV symbolically entering Marseille by a breach in the walls, as if the city was conquered 61 .

xvii th and xviii th  centuries: trade expansion


Map of Marseille in 1720

If Marseille has virtually ignored the Renaissance , it is transformed from the xvii th  century between mind classical and baroque , especially under the influence of Pierre Puget 62 . After the submission of the city by Louis XIV , the expansion is decided. For the first time, Marseille extends beyond its medieval walls. The course (now Belsunce course and Saint Louis course ), is built in 1670 .

In March 1669, Jean-Baptiste Colbert makes Marseille a free port, suppressing almost all rights. In 1685 , an edict prohibited the goods of the Levant from entering the kingdom by a port other than Marseilles, which thus found itself in a situation of monopoly . The Chamber of Commerce , the oldest in France, founded in 1599 , receives the management of French trade with the Levant and Barbarie . These provisions attract new prosperity thanks to Mediterranean trade. Beginning in 1700 , Marseille embarked on ocean trade , first in the traffic of money with the ”

At the end of the xviii th  century, Marseille is the first port in the Mediterranean, to Genoa . If the plague of 1720 a severe blow to the demographics of the city ( 38 000 victims on 75000 inhabitants ) 64 , it recovers quickly and reaches its level before the plague from 1730 63 .

Outside the city, the Marseilles terroir , comprising some fifty villages and rich farming families, benefits from this prosperity. The main wealth of the land is the wine, which is sold in any foreign city where wine is permitted 63 .

Revolution and Empire


March of the Marseillois , sung in different theaters

It was not until the French Revolution and the standardization of French territory (language, currency, law) that Marseille loses that specificity which it has always tried to preserve. It is probably not for nothing that the revolutionary song of Rouget de Lisle pleases the Marseillais and is called the Marseillaise .

Revolted against the Convention , Marseille was officially renamed and designated January 6 to February 12, 1794 as the city “no name” 22 .

The Marseillaise

In 1792 , Rouget de Lisle , a young officer of the genius , composed in Strasbourg the War Song of the Army of the Rhine . This hymn, which was published, reaches Marseilles which welcomed the Revolution with enthusiasm. The city, sending 500 volunteers to Paris, offers them a banquet, during which a certain François Mireur sings the work coming from Alsace . It arouses enthusiasm and the audience resumes it in chorus. When they parade through the streets of Paris, their warm Southern voices, throwing the flaming strokes in the air, electrify the crowd. The new hymn immediately found its name: Is the Marseillaise . A commemorative plaque of Rouget de Lisle is visible on the Thubaneau street in the center of Marseille.

The xix th in the early xx th  century: Marseilles harbor colonies [ change | Change the code ]

From 1860 to the beginning of the First World War


Obligation of the City of Marseille dated 20. July 1894

The xix th  century, with its attendant industrial innovations (including the appearance of the steamboat), the end of the Barbary piracy and free trade treaties of the 1860s , the colonial conquests of France from 1830 Then the piercing of the Suez Canal in 1869 , stimulated the maritime trade and the prosperity of the city, which grew from about 300,000 inhabitants in 1870 to about 600,000 inhabitants in 1940 . The port area overflows from its historic perimeter (the Old Port) and extends from 1844 to the North shores. The current basins of the Joliette were opened in 1853 , those of Lazaret and Arenc in 1856 . The most famous bank in Marseille was the one created by Pierre Pascal II at the beginning of the Empire.

In 1870, Marseille ranks first port of continental Europe before being overtaken by Hamburg, Antwerp and Rotterdam at the end of the century 65 .

The economy of the city was based on trade and industry: production fats, oil and soap, sugar, semolina, chemistry, tile, ship repair and engineering 66 . If the end of the xix th  century is less thriving, the period before the First World War is the highlight of this system “industrial port” Marseilles: the year 1913 is when the port is the largest tonnage, including oilseeds . At that time develop small businesses started by newcomers (South of France, Italy , Ottoman Empire ) 67 and First specialized in the trading and processing of colonial products, then shipowners, traders, oil makers, sugar refiners and soap-makers, and even bankers. In this competitive system of market speculation, defined by industrial individualism, activity often relies on a family system. Very much attached to this liberal model, benefiting from a low-skilled foreign workforce, these Marseille employers are against any “Parisian” intervention of the type of investment of private capital or the implementation of public regulations 68 . Marseille celebrates this richness through the colonial exhibitions of 1906 and 1922 , which are very successful. Then shipowners, traders, oil makers, sugar refiners and soap-makers, and even bankers. In this competitive system of market speculation, defined by industrial individualism, activity often relies on a family system. Very much attached to this liberal model, benefiting from a low-skilled foreign workforce, these Marseille employers are against any “Parisian” intervention of the type of investment of private capital or the implementation of public regulations 68 . Marseille celebrates this richness through the colonial exhibitions of 1906 and 1922 , which are very successful. Then shipowners, traders, oil makers, sugar refiners and soap-makers, and even bankers. In this competitive system of market speculation, defined by industrial individualism, activity often relies on a family system. Very attached to this liberal model, benefiting from a low-skilled foreign workforce, these Marseille employers are against any “Parisian” intervention of the type of investment of private capital or the implementation of public regulations 68 . Marseille celebrates this richness through the colonial exhibitions of 1906 and 1922 , which are very successful. In this competitive system of market speculation, defined by industrial individualism, activity often relies on a family system. Very attached to this liberal model, benefiting from a low-skilled foreign workforce, these Marseille employers are against any “Parisian” intervention of the type of investment of private capital or the implementation of public regulations 68 . Marseille celebrates this richness through the colonial exhibitions of 1906 and 1922 , which are very successful. In this competitive system of market speculation, defined by industrial individualism, activity often relies on a family system. Very attached to this liberal model, benefiting from a low-skilled foreign workforce, these Marseille employers are against any “Parisian” intervention of the type of investment of private capital or the implementation of public regulations 68 . Marseille celebrates this richness through the colonial exhibitions of 1906 and 1922 , which are very successful. unskilled foreign labor, these Marseille bosses are against any intervention “Parisian” of private equity type of investment or implementation of government regulations 68 . Marseille celebrates this richness through the colonial exhibitions of 1906 and 1922 , which are very successful. unskilled foreign labor, these Marseille bosses are against any intervention “Parisian” of private equity type of investment or implementation of government regulations 68 . Marseille celebrates this richness through the colonial exhibitions of 1906 and 1922 , which are very successful.

Major worksites


The Quai de la Joliette and the Maritime Messageries in the 1890s.

The territorial and demographic growth of the city is at the origin of a major project: the adduction of the waters of the Durance , decided in 1834 by the Mayor Maximin Consolat . This measure is all the more necessary because a major drought and a cholera epidemic are raging in that year. The construction by 5,000 workers of the canal of Marseilles , length of 87 km , demands eleven years of works and the water of the Durance arrives on 8 July 1847 in Marseilles. In 1862, in order to commemorate this event, the architect of Nîmes origin Henry Espérandieu (1829-1874) is charged to realize a vast monument “to the glory of the water”; c ‘

The latter also built the basilica of Notre-Dame-de-la-Garde from 1853 (consecrated in 1864) and also intervened on the great construction site of the new cathedral of La Major , on the banks of the Joliette . He also realized from 1864 to 1874 the palace of the Arts located place Carli and participated in the construction of the monumental prefecture.

The other major project is, as everywhere in France at the time, the arrival of the railway. Marseille is connected to Avignon at the beginning of 1848 , in Lyon in 1854, in Paris in 1857 . The terminus station , established on the butte Saint-Charles , was the object of numerous rearrangements and arrangements until the end of the century 69 .

In 1871, during the uprising of the Commune of Paris , the city underwent a similar insurrection which lasted fifteen days. The prefecture was bombed and the leader of the insurgents, a moderate lawyer, Gaston Crémieux , shot six months later at the Pharo.

In 1884 a new epidemic of cholera was raging. In 1891, work began on a sewerage network leading to the construction of a large collector.

Early xx th  century


The New Galleries at the top of the Canebière and the old tramway of Marseilles in the years 1910 .

At the beginning of xx th  century, the outcome of the bourgeoisie negotiating industrialization has little presence in political positions. The between-family puts itself at a distance, with a few exceptions, local elites and state officials 70 . Similarly, in the city, instead of intervening in the center where the industrial and workers’ space is concentrated, these industrialists and local traders settle in the residential districts of the south, reinforcing a division of the city between popular neighborhoods in the north and Bourgeois in the south. This bourgeoisie does not pursue a policy of workers’ housing. The vast operation of the excavation of the rue de la République ,

The city is thus faced with a significant overcrowding, due to the low number of dwellings built between 1880 and 1914 and reinforced by the low impact of the law on cheap housing (HBM) due to the low investment of the local employers in these new bodies, contrary to what is realized at that time elsewhere in France 71 . The demographic growth of workers and immigrants makes urbanization scattered with a fragmentation of rural properties, urban fragmentation by subdivisions and an important phenomenon of self-construction of modest houses. This urban fragmentation in a municipality with such a large area makes its governance difficult: “The ratio between a population with relatively low incomes and an enormous surface to maintain, rehabilitate and equip, narrows and makes it virtually impossible municipal management ” 72 . However, the period also saw the rise of industrial and port infrastructures. Thus, to connect the quays of the Port and Rive Neuve, the bridge ferry of Marseille is built in nineteen months, between June 1904 and December 1905.

Chaos of the inter-war period

In 1938 , Marseilles experienced a terrible fire that completely destroyed the New Galleries store , causing the death of 73 people and damaging some buildings of the Canebière . Faced with the magnitude of the disaster, Marseille firefighters, poorly equipped and badly trained, were unable to extinguish the fire. Édouard Daladier, who is present for the Radical Party congress and lodged in the Noailles Hotel facing the New Galleries in flames, says: “Is there nobody to make order in this city? “. The Marseilles firefighters battalion , a military unit,

World War II

Detailed articles: Bombings of Marseille and Bataille de Marseille .

Destruction of the Old Port district January 1943


Blasting of the Old Port district in January 1943

The 1 st June 1940, A German bombardment killed 32 Marseillais and wounded some 60 others on the same day that the newly created battalion of fire-fighters left the temporary barracks in the rue de Lyon and took possession of that of the Boulevard de Lyon. Strasbourg 73 .

Following the American landing in North Africa on 11 November, German troops crossed the demarcation line and Marseilles was occupied on 12 November 1942 , like the rest of the Free Zone . The city suffers greatly from the occupation and in particular, during the Rafle of Marseilles , the district of the Basket north of the Old port called “quarter criminal” by the Nazis. On the night of 22-23 January 1943 , several thousand people were arrested and two days later, on 24 January, General SS Oberg , assisted by Prefect René Bousquet , ordered residents of the Old Port district Evacuate their home within two hours, with 30 kg of luggage. 30,000 people are expelled. Within two weeks, 1,500 buildings are dynamited, leaving a field of ruins until the Liberation. Marseille also undergoes several aerial alerts. The US bombing of27 May 1944is particularly devastating and causes the death of over 2000 people , injuring about 000. Nearly 3 400 German occupation troops also were killed 73 .

On 15 August 1944 the landing in Provence took place . On this occasion, the occupant blew up the port facilities: more than 200 ships were sunk and the famous Marseille ferry bridge destroyed 74 .

The Marseille FFI (and among them Gaston Defferre ) are preparing for the liberation of the city . On August 21 they launched the insurrection, accompanied by a slogan of a general strike. But poorly armed and few, their position is critical until the arrival of the Algerian skirmishers of General de Monsabert and the Moroccan goumiers of General Augustin Guillaume who enter Marseille on the 23rd. The fighting with the German army continues several days , Until the capitulation of General Hans Schaefer on 28 August. On the 29th, General de Lattre de Tassigny attended the parade of the Army of France,

From the 1950s to the 1980s: the difficulties

After the war, the urbanization of the city accelerated. Large ensembles are built in the northern districts and a large square is left to motor traffic through the construction of motorways to the heart of the city.

But from the 1970s and 1980s, the progressive independence of the French colonies undermined the economy of the city. Marseilles also suffers from a bad reputation linked to the insecurity and the affairs of great banditism ( French Connection , assassination of Judge Michel , etc.).

In 1962 , Marseille was the transit point for the majority of the Blackfoot fleeing independent Algeria . Many then settled in the city and its region.

In 1973 , in the context of tensions surrounding immigration and after the assassination of a bus driver by an Algerian , unbalanced according to the embassy of Algeria, the city is the scene of racist violence .

In 1977 the subway is put into service .

Since the 1990s

In the 1990s , the Euroméditerranée project for economic development and urban regeneration was launched. Many new infrastructures and renovations are carried out in the years 2000 and 2010  : the tramway , the renovation of Hôtel-Dieu in a luxury hotel, Le Silo , the expansion of the Vélodrome Stadium , the CMA CGM tower , the Musée des civilizations Europe and the Mediterranean (MuCEM) and the Villa Méditerranée . In 2013 , Marseille is the European Capital of Culture .

The OECD noted that the city is currently experiencing an economic dynamism in the development of its urban area but the report still points the importance of social inequality and economic divide between the south of the city and the North District 76 .

Politics and Administration

Main article: List of mayors of Marseille .

Political Trends

Political landscape


Gaston Defferre in 1959.

An industrial city, Marseilles was very early on a territory for the implantation of socialism in France  : Clovis Hugues was elected first deputy of a workers’ party in France in 1881 and Siméon Flaissières , the first socialist mayor of the city, was elected in 1892 .

During most of the xx th  century, Marseille is acquired at the left . After the Liberation , the SFIO and the Communist Party are the two main political forces of the city and the socialist Gaston Defferre allies for a time to the right against the communists to conquer the town hall . He occupied it until his death in 1986 .

The domination of the Left faded gradually from the 1980s . In the 1983 elections , Gaston Defferre received fewer votes than his right – wing opponent Jean-Claude Gaudin and was re-elected only in favor of the electoral division . Robert Vigouroux succeeds Gaston Defferre after his death; He was widely elected in the 1989 elections , winning all sectors as a socialist dissident . In 1995 , Jean-Claude Gaudin was elected mayor and turned the city to the right for the first time since 1953 . He was re-elected in 2001 , 2008 and 2014 77 . This shift also occurs in national elections: the right-wing candidate leads in Marseille in the second round of the presidential elections in 1995 , 2002 and 2007 .

The ballots in Marseille are also characterized by a strong protest vote: in 1981 , Georges Marchais arrives at the top in the first round, as well as Jean-Marie Le Pen in 1995 and 2002 . Jean-Luc Mélenchon arrives at the top of the first round in 2017 .

Electoral geography


The outcome of the 2014 elections by sector

The vote in Marseille is geographically divided.

The north of the city ( 2 E , 3 E , 13 th , 14 th , 15 th and 16 th  arrondissements ) is generally acquired at the left . Communist strongholds , such as Belle de Mai , were gradually replaced by the socialist vote in the 1990s and 2000s .

South, conversely, is dominated by the right ( 6 th , 8 th , 9 th and 10 th  districts ). The neighborhoods ( 11 th and 12 th  districts ) long Socialists have recently switched to the right in favor of de-industrialization of the Valley of Huveaune and sociological changes.

The big city center ( 1 st , 4 th , 5 th and 7 th  arrondissements ) is currently the subject of the tightest electoral battles, as in the last municipal and legislative elections .

The National Front makes its best scores in the east of the city and North Districts , including 13 th and 14 th  districts (where the National Front Stéphane Ravier is needed in the second round of municipal elections in 2014 ).


Detailed articles: Sectors and districts of Marseille and Quartiers of Marseille .


The division of districts and districts of Marseille

Marseille is the object of the PML law and, like Paris and Lyon , is divided into districts . There are 16 of them and they are grouped in two in eight sectors. Each sector has its council and its sector mayor .

Each sector therefore elects its councilors (303 in all), of whom one third also sits on the municipal council and elect the mayor of the city:

Number of councilors elected by sector
Area Advisors 22 16 22 thirty thirty 26 32 24 202
Councillors 11 8 11 15 15 13 16 12 101
Total number of elected 33 24 33 45 45 39 48 36 303

Marseilles is also divided into 12 cantons and seven constituencies .

Local Finance

Marseille is the most indebted major French city with 1.806 billion euros of debt in 2013, a debt of 2,103 euros per capita (against 1080 euros per capita average for large cities in France) 78 .


Marseille is the seat of a high court , a district court , a commercial court , a police court , an industrial tribunal , a tribunal and An Administrative Court of Appeal of Marseilles . The Court of Appeal is located in Aix-en-Provence .

Marseille is home to the Baumettes prison , built in 1934 . In 2006 , the living conditions of prison history were considered shocking 79 and in 2012 the Comptroller General of places of deprivation of liberty denounces “a serious violation of human rights of detainees 80  .”

Security and Crime

Grand banditism

Main article: Medium marseillais .


L’Évêché , the City Police Hotel

Linked to the imagination of the city for almost a century, the Marseille milieu really appeared in the 1930s with the sponsors François Spirito and Paul Carbone . The Marseilles midfielder knows its hour of glory in the 1960s with the rise of the French Connection , whereas the city is at the heart of an international traffic of heroin to the United States finally dismantled by the authorities.

Today, the environment appears disorganized as it has been at other times in its history, making violent confrontations in a ”  war of all against all  ” traditional sponsors, especially Corso-Marseille, and the ” Neo-godparents of the cities “whose main source of enrichment is the trafficking of cannabis in the most disadvantaged cities of the city. This explains the resurgence of settling since the early 2000s 81 .

There was never a mafia in the original meaning of the term in Marseille 82 , 83 . It prefers the terms “underworld” at the beginning of the xx th  century, or “middle” and “organized crime” today.


The strong presence in national news media news items in Marseille, especially settling, is accused of giving a bad image of the city and led some to speak of disinformation 84 , 85 . Two other factors explain the over-mediation of settlements in Marseille: the fact that suburbs are administratively part of the city of Marseilles, and the fact that settlements are generally over-mediated, whereas they account for only 10% of homicides committed in France each year 85 . If the city of Marseille knows a murder rate related to drug proportionately almost as high as that of New York 86 including the robbery and pickpocketing that exceed the national average, the public security division of Marseille Rating 7 has only the 13 th  highest rate of delinquency (over 400 metropolitan districts ) in 2008 , behind Nice, Avignon and Cannes, with a delinquency rate of 114.04 per 1,000 inhabitants , Ie two thirds of the national average 87 , 88 . Nice 89 , for example,

The feeling of insecurity 92 nevertheless prompted the government in 2012 to endow the Bouches-du-Rhone with a full-fledged Police Prefecture , the only one in France with Paris .


Marseille is the headquarters of the headquarters of the zone of defense and security South , the zonal staff of the National Gendarmerie and the mobile gendarmerie squadron 11/6. Y are stationed, in 2016, the staff of the 3 th Division , the 1 st Foreign Regiment Cavalry (at camp Carpiagne ), the Navy command in Marseille and the support group of the Defense Base Marseille . Marseille is also home to the Laveran Armed Forces Training Hospital . On the other hand, the maritime prefecture of the Mediterranean is located in Toulon .

The 72 th  Marine Infantry Battalion was disbanded in 2009, while the 4 th  regiment of dragoons was dissolved in 2014.

The Firefighters Battalion is the municipal fire brigade of Marseilles. Commanded by a general naval officer, it is a unit of the Navy with a staff of 2,400 . It was created in 1939 following the fire of the New Galleries , replacing the Municipal Fire Brigade , dissolved as a result of this disaster. The Marseilles firemen have the particularity of being the only military unit of the French army to act according to the orders and directives of a mayor.

Twinning and partnerships

Marseille is twinned with thirteen towns 93 and also signed pacts of friendship and cooperation with twenty-nine cities around the world 94 .


All cities with which Marseille is twinned (except for Marrakesh and Glasgow) are important port cities.

Year City Country
1958 Abidjan Flag of the Ivory Coast  Ivory Coast
1958 Antwerp Flag of Belgium  Belgium
1958 Copenhagen Flag of Denmark  Denmark
1958 Genoa Flag of Italy  Italy
1958 Haifa Flag of Israel  Israel
1958 Hamburg Flag of Germany  Germany
1961 Kobe Flag of Japan  Japan
1968 Dakar Flag of Senegal  Senegal
1972 Odessa Flag of Ukraine  Ukraine
1984 Naples Flag of Italy  Italy
1984 The Piraeus Flag of Greece  Greece
1987 Shanghai Flag of the People's Republic of China  China
2004 Marrakech Flag of Morocco  Morocco
2006 Glasgow Flag: United Kingdom  UK

Cooperation Agreements

City Country
Agadir Flag of Morocco  Morocco
Alexandria Flag of Egypt  Egypt
Alger Flag of Algeria  Algeria
Bamako Flag of Mali  Mali
Barcelona Flag of Spain  Spain
Beirut Flag of Lebanon  Lebanon
The cap Flag of South Africa  South Africa
Casablanca Flag of Morocco  Morocco
Yerevan Flag of Armenia  Armenia
Gdansk Flag of Poland  Poland

City Country
Istanbul Flag of Turkey  Turkey
Izmit Flag of Turkey  Turkey
Jerusalem Flag of Israel  Israel
Limassol Flag of Cyprus  Cyprus
Lome Flag of Togo  Togo
Lyon Flag of France  la France
Meknes Flag of Morocco  Morocco
Montevideo Flag of Uruguay  Uruguay
N’Djamena Flag of Chad  Chad
Nice Flag of France  la France

City Country
Nimes Flag of France  la France
Rabat Flag of Morocco  Morocco
Sarajevo Flag of Bosnia-Herzegovina  Bosnia and Herzegovina
Sousse Flag of Tunisia  Tunisia
Thessaloniki Flag of Greece  Greece
Tirana Flag of Albania  Albania
Tripoli Flag of Lebanon  Lebanon
Tunis Flag of Tunisia  Tunisia
Varna Flag of Bulgaria  Bulgaria


Marseille is home to a number of international research and development organizations such as the Research Institute for Development (IRD), the Mediterranean Commission of United Cities and Local Governments (UCLG) or the World Water Council . There is also a local office of the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), a branch of the World Bank , an office of the International Organization for Migration .

70 consulates are established in Marseille, the second consular representation of France after Paris 95 .

The 9 September 2011, The finance ministers of the G7 gathered at the Palais du Pharo .

Population and society


Demographic trends

After a severe crisis in the 1970s and 1980s that saw the population increase from over 900,000 to less than 800,000 inhabitants (despite a fairly positive natural balance), the population increases again from the year 2000 96 .

With over 850,000 inhabitants , Marseille is 2 e  town France . Its urban unit is the 3 rd of the country (after Paris and Lyon ) with 1 560 921 inhabitants (2011), including Aix-en-Provence in the north, Istres , Martigues and Vitrolles in the west and Aubagne in the east. The urban area of ​​Marseille is the 3 rd of France after that of Paris and that of Lyon . The Has recently absorbed the commune of Saint-Zacharie , which is part of the Var. On the other hand, La Ciotat , part of Marseille-Provence territory , was absorbed by the urban unit of Toulon .

The evolution of the number of inhabitants is known through the population censuses carried out in the commune since 1793. From1 st January 2009, The legal populations of the communes are published annually in the framework of a census which is now based on an annual information gathering, successively covering all the communal territories over a period of five years. For municipalities with more than 10 000 inhabitants, censuses take place each year following a sample survey of a sample of addresses representing 8% of their dwellings, unlike the other municipalities which have a real census every year Five years 97 , Note 8 .

By 2014, the commune had 858,120 inhabitants, an increase of 0.88% compared with 2009 ( Bouches-du-RhÃ’ne  : 1.93%, France excluding Mayotte  : 2.49%).


           Evolution of population   [ edit ]


1793 1800 1806 1821 1831 1836 1841 1846 1851
108,374 96 413 99 169 109,483 145 115 146 239 154,035 183 186 195,258


           Evolution of the population   [ modify ] , following (1)


1856 1861 1866 1872 1876 1881 1886 1891 1896
233,817 260 910 300 131 312 864 318 868 360 099 376 143 403,749 442 239


           Evolution of the population   [ modify ] , suite (2)


1901 1906 1911 1921 1926 1931 1936 1946 1954
491,161 517,498 550,619 586 341 652 196 800 881 914 232 636 264 661 407


           Evolution of the population   [ modify ] , suite (3)


1962 1968 1975 1982 1990 1999 2006 2011 2014
778,071 889,029 908,600 874 436 800 550 795,518 839,043 850 636 858,120


From 1962 to 1999: population without double counting  ; For the following dates: municipal population .
(Sources: Ldh / EHESS / Cassini until 1999 98 and then Insee as of 2006 99 ).

Histogram of demographic change

Pyramid of the ages

In 2009 100  :

In number of individuals

Men Age class Women


90 more  




75 to 89  



51 230

60 to 74  





83 874



30 to 44  



84 949

15 to 29  




0 to 14  


An inegalitarian city


La Castellane , one of the many cities in the northern districts of Marseille

With a Gini coefficient of 0.436, Marseilles is one of the most unequal cities of France 101 , a part of its population being very poor while the great fortunes there are also many. The average income of the richest 20% and is 5.4 times the average income of the 20% poorest 102 .

The sociologist André Donzel also speaks of Marseille as a “dual city” near urban settings in developing countries where the rich rub shoulders as the poorest 103 .

The town knew a poverty rate of 25% in 2011, which even exceeded 40% in the northern districts of the city 104 . In comparison, this first figure is identical to that of Lille or Montpellier , but higher than that of Lyon (15%). This is to some extent explained by the fact that a large part of the poor suburbs of the agglomeration are administratively located within the commune, unlike other large cities in France. The suburbs of Paris, Lyon or Lille have similar poverty. Conversely, the 8 thand 12 th  districts in the South and the East of the city, knew in 2011 the poverty rate (10% and 9) similar to those of the richest boroughs of Paris or Lyon 105 . In addition, around 3,200 taxpayers in Marseilles are subject to the solidarity tax on wealth with an average patrimony of 2.56 million euros, making it the second city outside Île – de – France and the fifth largest city in France. France in number of liabilities to the ISF 106 , 107 . In the same way, fifteen Marseille families were included in 2011 in the 500 largest professional fortunes in France according to the magazine Challenges 103 . knew in 2011 the poverty rate (10% and 9) similar to those of the richest boroughs of Paris or Lyon 105 . In addition, approximately 3,200 taxpayers in Marseilles are subject to the solidarity tax on wealth with an average patrimony of 2.56 million euros, making it the second city outside Île – de – France and the fifth largest city in France. France in number of liabilities to the ISF 106 , 107 . In the same way, fifteen Marseille families were included in 2011 in the 500 largest professional fortunes in France according to the magazine Challenges 103 . knew in 2011 the poverty rate (10% and 9) similar to those of the richest boroughs of Paris or Lyon 105 . In addition, around 3,200 taxpayers in Marseilles are subject to the solidarity tax on wealth with an average patrimony of 2.56 million euros, making it the second city outside Île – de – France and the fifth largest city in France. France in number of liabilities to the ISF 106 , 107 . In the same way, fifteen Marseille families were included in 2011 in the 500 largest professional fortunes in France according to the magazine Challenges 103 . Around 3,200 taxpayers in Marseilles are subject to solidarity tax on wealth with an average patrimony of 2.56 million euros, making it the second city outside Île – de – France and the fifth largest city in France Of taxable persons to the ISF 106 , 107 . In the same way, fifteen Marseille families were included in 2011 in the 500 largest professional fortunes in France according to the magazine Challenges 103 . Around 3,200 taxpayers in Marseilles are subject to solidarity tax on wealth with an average patrimony of 2.56 million euros, making it the second city outside Île – de – France and the fifth largest city in France Of taxable persons to the ISF 106 , 107 . In the same way, fifteen Marseille families were included in 2011 in the 500 largest professional fortunes in France according to the magazine Challenges 103 . Making it the second city outside Île-de-France and the fifth largest city in France in terms of number of taxpayers at the ISF 106 , 107 . In the same way, fifteen Marseille families were included in 2011 in the 500 largest professional fortunes in France according to the magazine Challenges 103 . Making it the second city outside Île-de-France and the fifth largest city in France in terms of number of taxpayers at the ISF 106 , 107 . In the same way, fifteen Marseille families were included in 2011 in the 500 largest professional fortunes in France according to the magazine Challenges 103 .

The social divide is also space, the city is roughly divided between north Neighborhoods poorest and richest South 108 .

Thus in 2012, the poverty rate exceeded 20% in the north ( 3 th , 13 th , 14 th , 15 th and 16 th  arrondissements) – it even reached 55% in the 3 th  district in 2011 109 – While the south and east ( 7 th , 8 th , 9 th and 12 th  districts), it did not reach more than 14%. These contrasts are reflected in the rate of non-graduates: in 2006 it stands at 25.27% for the city (19,

These inequalities appear to have worsened recently: while in 2000 the income scale was 1 to 10, it is 1 to 14 in 2012 111 . The gap between the median incomes of the poorest neighborhoods and those of the richest rose from 2,500 to 3,000 euros between 2000 and 2008. Between Cadenelle and Kalliste, the richest and poorest neighborhood, Between the rate of higher graduates was 33 points in 1990 whereas it is 46 today 112 .

In some areas, however, urban rehabilitation has made it possible to modify the socio-economic situation. The 2 th  district for example, in the heart of the operation Euroméditerranée , saw its unemployment rate from 30 to 20% between 1990 and 2011 113 .

A city of immigrants

Main article: Migrations in Marseille .


The family of Yves Montand , who came from Italy , immigrated to Marseille when he was two years old.

Marseille is a city whose population is built on successive large waves of migrants, the three most important being those of the Italians at the end of the xix th century, the Armenians and the Corsicans in the early xx th  century, and in the Maghreb the second half of the xx th  century 65 . But before being a city of immigration, Marseilles is always through its port a city of transit, arrival and departure, a stop for many travelers leaving Europe or refugees fleeing the persecutions. So it is a “hub city” ,

Before the xix th  century

During the xviii th  century, the importance that takes the trading port brought many European traders 115 . Many Swiss 116 , of Italians , of Germans , of English to Dutch and Greeks 6 are present in economic activity 115 .

At the end of the xviii th  century Michel Vovelle believes that Italians are already 5-6 000 for a total population of 100 000 . They then represent 70% of foreign residents in the city 117 . However, it was not until the second half of the next century that their numbers exploded.

xix th  century, the early waves of migration

Related articles: Italian Diaspora in France , Greek Diaspora in France , Massacre de Chios and Vespers in Marseilles .

From the Restoration emerges a real Greek community in Marseille. Many merchant families, mostly from Constantinople , Chios and Smyrna, came to join the ranks of a population already present in the preceding century. This is called a real “commercial aristocracy” Greek Marseille to xviii th  century xix th  century 6 .

From the middle of the xix th  century, with the decline of traditional industries, a new industry is concentrated around the city. The explosion of port activities and the construction of the railway line of the PLM require an important workforce that Haute-Provence, the immigration center and the traditional human reservoir of the city, can no longer supply. Marseille The growth is driven from the moment by external immigration and foreign 65 .

The city then sees many Italians coming to occupy industrial jobs at the expense of the French whose population growth is much lower. Sometimes badly welcomed by the local workers, they are the victim of violence in 1881, Vespers marseillaises . From 1850 until the interwar years , Italian immigration grew dramatically and in 1934 there were 127,000 in the city, where they accounted for about two – thirds of the foreign population. From this period, the anti-migration policy Fascist government new power significantly slows the movement 117 .

Historians Émile Témime and Renée Lopez speak for “Italian invasion” between 1850 and 1914 as their immigration is important in the town 118 . Today there are 300,000 people of Italian origin in Marseille, about 35% of the population, which would Italians the first foreign community of the city 119 .

The first half of the xx th  century


Many of the Armenian refugees fleeing the genocide arrived in Marseille at the beginning of the 20th century .

Related articles: Armenian Diaspora in France and Armenian Genocide .

In 1930 , a further increase of the number of foreigners and a renewal of the population that enhances the cosmopolitan character of the city observed 114 . Thus, in 1935, although the Italian population remained large (15% of the total and 60% of foreigners), it was down compared with the last decades. Indeed, at the beginning of xx th  century three newcomers groups succeed him, the Armenians , the Spanish and the Corsicans .

The Armenians mostly arrive between 1923 and 1928, leaving the countries neighboring Turkey today in which they were temporarily refugees fleeing the genocide . With the exception of the period of war that has just ended, the city has never received so many refugees in such a short time. It is estimated that 60,000 Armenian immigrants will land, although not all of them will settle in Marseille. They first lived in makeshift camps before rapidly integrating into the socio-economic life 120 and forming village nuclei in the districts of Beaumont , Saint-Loup or Sainte-Marguerite , among others.

Today, an estimated live between 80 000 and 100 000 descendants of Armenians in Marseilles 123 . Another source confirms this magnitude speaking 10% of the current population 124 .

At the beginning of xx th  century , fleeing the economic crisis from one island to agro-pastoral dominant, many Corsicans settled in the traditional immigration neighborhoods around the Old Port 114 . After the Second World War and destruction of part of Old Neighborhoods they lived, they disperse in all the city and experience a visible social progress: many have become officials, lawyers or doctors 120 . A number of Corsicans, on the other hand, were part of the Marseille area . In 1965, it was estimated that more than 100,000 Corsicans lived in Marseille,

Since the 1950s

Related articles: Algerian Diaspora , Moroccan Diaspora , Tunisian Diaspora , Diaspora in France Comoros , Exodus Blackfoot , Jews in Marseille and War of Algeria .

If North African immigration is present from the beginning of the xx th  century, from the years 1950 it actually explodes. At the 1975 census, 60% of foreigners are of Maghreb origin. The economic recovery, the encouragement of the French government to the arrival of Algerian workers and the repercussions of decolonization favor their arrival. Most of them are Algerians who migrate for work or to flee the events of the Algerian War . This immigration is far from homogeneous: alongside the Arab Algerian , Moroccan and Tunisian s’

The Maghreb people often settle in the city center, where they replace the previous migratory waves, but also in slums north of the city. These are then replaced by cities originally intended to be only temporary, before being abandoned by the government and where many families of immigrant origin still live 126 . North African Arabs and their descendants now represent 200,000 people (23 per cent of the total), 119 which would make them the second-largest foreign community in the city after the Italians.

The Blackfoot at the moment of Algerian independence a population of about one million people 120 . In a few months in 1962, 450,000 of them earn Marseille, including around 100 000 127 would have remained. They face a certain hostility of the government and part of the population 128 .

The Jews represented 130,000 people in 1948 in Algeria and many of them left France for France alongside the Blackfoot. If some transiting Marseille before leaving for Israel , a majority it finalizes 120 . The arrival of Jews Sephardic of Algeria also modifies greatly the Jewish community of Marseilles, which now amount to 80 000 people 129 , the third Jewish community in Europe, after those in Paris and London 130 .

Following the independence of the Comoros in 1975 and in a difficult political and socio-economic context on the 131 archipelago , a large Comorian community also settled in the city, in proportions making Marseille the ” Comoros “in front of the capital Moroni , with a population of 50 000 to 100 000 according to estimates of 2004, ie almost 10% of the Marseilles population 132 , 133 , 134 .

A multicultural city

If it remains a city of Western culture, Marseille becomes the xix th  century a meeting point between East often mystified, wealth and abundance source and a West transformed by rapid industrialization requiring a large foreign workforce. So even if immigration from the Middle East and Africa starts significantly with the arrival of Armenians in the early xx th  century and in the 1960s with North African immigration, Lebanese and Comorian 135 , the successive migratory waves have built the identity of the city, Defining its population as a “plural people” 136 [ref. Insufficient] . Third Armenian city in the world, first Corsican town, first town Comorian third Jewish city in Europe and with significant Arab and Italian communities, Marseille is considered by Jean-Claude Juan as the most cosmopolitan city of the Mediterranean 137 . Neighborhoods such as Noailles , Belsunce and the Basket , which many of these new entrants have occupied at any time, have remained multicultural in essence, with their Italian , Corsican , Algerian , Moroccan , Tunisian , Lebanese , etc. 138 .

For many observers, relations between communities are less contentious in Marseilles than in the rest of France 139 , 140 , 141 . According to the historian Yvan Gastaut , “despite the socio-cultural specificities of each and the strong attachment of some of these communities to their traditions, the city has always managed to absorb the new arrivals smoothly, showing great tolerance, regarding the practice of religion, “although ” integrated minorities remained highly structured around their successive references 142 . ”


Main article: Sport in Marseille .

Marseille has 200,000 licensed 143 as well as a few clubs of international stature.

Sports facilities


Giant Tifo at the Vélodrome stadium just before the Classic of 5 April 2015.

The stadium Vélodrome , built in 1937 , has since 2014 a capacity of 67 000 spectators , making it the biggest football stadium in France after the Stade de France . His resident football club is Olympique de Marseille . The stadium Velodrome hosted the world cup football in 1938 and 1998 , the World Cup of Rugby in 2007 and Euro 2016 .

The Marseille Sports Palace , inaugurated in 1989 , is a sports hall with a capacity of 7,400 seats, each year hosting the Marseille Tennis Tournament , Massalia Gymnastics Trophy or Callenge Jeanty Women’s Foil.

The Palais Omnisport Marseille Grand Est , inaugurated in 2009 , contains two skating rinks , including the largest in France 144 and a skatepark with the largest ramp in Europe 145 . It has hosted the 2010 French figure skating championships and is the home of the Massilia Hockey Club .

Marseille is home to the Marseille Bowl , one of the most famous skateparks in the world in the 1990s 146 , 147 .

There are 172 tennis courts, 124 municipal gymnasiums, 22 swimming pools, 72 municipal stadiums, 139 bowling alleys, 30 tennis clubs, 3 golf courses, 3 nautical bases, 8 dojos, 4 skateparks, 3 shooting ranges, 2 racetracks, 5 equestrian centers, 2 climbing walls and a pediment of Basque pelota. The city also has fifty diving sites 148 .

Main clubs and sports personalities


Zinedine Zidane , former footballer born in Marseille.

The Olympique de Marseille is in Ligue 1 and has one of the most important French football championships: 9 French championships , 10 French football championships and a Champions League acquired in 1993. The club has seen players evolve Such as Josip Skoblar , Roger Magnusson , Marius Trésor , Abedi Pele , Didier Deschamps , Chris Waddle , Basil Boli , Jean-Pierre Papin , Mamadou Niang or Franck Ribery .

The Marseille Swimmers’ Club , the city’s main swimming club, also has a significant track record. Swimmer Camille Lacourt , a member of the club since 2008, holds a total of four gold medals during the 2011 , 2013 and 2015 World Championships . Florent Manaudou is the gold medalist at the London 2012 Olympic Games , has won four gold medals at the 2011 , 2013 and 2015 World Championships , and four gold medals in the European Championships Swimming 2014 . Frédérick Bousquet has won four gold medals during the 2010 and 2012 European Championships . Finally, Fabien Gilot is a gold medalist at the London 2012 Olympic Games and a three-time gold medalist at the 2013 and 2015 World Championships .

Zinedine Zidane , considered one of the greatest players of all time, grew up in La Castellane , a neighborhood in the north of Marseille. Eric Cantona , known for his qualities as a footballer and for his extra-sport escapades, is named one of the best players who played in Manchester United and in the English league.

Jean Bouin , Samir Nasri , Rolland Courbis , Mathieu Flamini , Franck Lebœuf , Jean-Luc Ettori and Sébastien Grosjean are among the other well-known sports personalities .

Name Sport Current Division Stadium / Hall Foundation prize list
Olympic Marseille Soccer League 1 Stade Velodrome 1899 9 Championships , 10 Cups of France , 1 Champions League (1993)
Consolat Sports Group Soccer National Stade La Martine 1964
Union sportive Marseille Endoume Catalans Soccer Division of Honor Francis Di Giovanni Stadium 1925
Circle of swimmers of Marseille Swimming Olympics , World Swimming Championships , European Swimming Championships Swimming pool Jean Alezard 1921 12 French Interclub championships, 2 Olympic gold medals
Circle of swimmers of Marseille Water Polo Division 1 Swimming pool Jean Alezard 1921 35 Championships
Marseille Beach Team Beach Football National Beach Soccer 2012 1 Championship
Bonneveine Beach Soccer Beach Football National Beach Soccer 2010 2 Championships
Marseille XII beach-soccer Beach Football National Beach Soccer 2010 1 Championship
Stade Marseillais University Club Omnisport Stade Jean Bouin 1923 15 149
Marseille XIII Future Rugby League National 1 Stade Roger Couderc 1946 1 Championship (1949), 5 Cups
Rugby Club Phocaean Stadium Rugby League Promotion of honor – Provence-Côte d’azur Stade Delort 2000
Provence Rugby Rugby League Pro D2 Stadium Maurice David (Aix) 1970
Massilia Hockey Club Ice Hockey Division 2 Marseille Grand Est Sports Hall 2012
Blue-Stars from Marseille Football Helmet of Gold (D2) Stade Saint Jérôme Stadium Pierre-Delort 1994
AMSCAS RollerSoccer 2006 6 Club World Cups
Olympique de Marseille Vitrolles (disappeared) Handball 1991 – 1996 1 European Cup Winners’ Cup , 2 Championships , 2 French Cups

Sports Events

The Open 13 is a men’s tennis tournament of the ATP World Tour . The tournament hosts 32 participants: 25 direct entrants, 4 players from qualifying and 3 players with a wild card .

The city hosts the Marseille-Cassis semi-marathon every year since 1979. It brings together 15 000 runners each year .

The Mondial la Marseillaise de Pétanque is an annual bouliste competition organized by the newspaper La Marseillaise . This contest of pétanque, created in 1962 by Paul Ricard , is contested every year over 5 days, starting from the first weekend of July. The tournament is outside official competition, the most prestigious tournament in the world 150 .

In addition, the city also hosts the World Series 13 of beach volleyball , the Triathlon International de Marseille hosted the Tour de France cycling 12 times since 1947 , hosts the annual Tour de France à la voile , the Sosh Freestyle Cup with One of the two European stages of the AIS World Cup skateboard, and finally the Athletics Meeting in Marseille .

The city was promoted European Capital of Sport in 2017 and is included in the device of the Paris bid to host the Summer Olympic Games 2024 for testing sailing and some matches Football 151 .


Marseille is a very important regional and national health center. The Assistance Publique – Hôpitaux de Marseille (AP-HM) is the regional hospital in Marseille and manages five public hospitals in the city:

  • the Hospital of Timone
  • The Conception Hospital
  • The South hospitals (Ste Marguerite and Salvator)
  • The North Hospital .

The AP-HM is the third university hospital of France 152 , it employs 14,000 people including 1,885 physicians 153 .

Another public hospital, Laveran is an army training hospital .

The main private hospitals are the Paoli – Calmettes Institute ( regional center for the fight against cancer ), the Saint – Joseph hospital and the European Hospital .

According to a ranking established by the magazine Capital , among the top 150 healthcare professionals surveyed in France, 10 practice in Marseille 154 .

Marseille is also a spa resort with the resort of Camoins-les-Bains .


The higher education institutions in the region are located in Marseilles, where the teaching is traditionally focused on the exact sciences and medicine , and Aix-en-Provence , devoted to the humanities , letters and law . Marseille were in 2011-2012, 51,578 students 155 .

The University of Aix – Marseille was created on1 st January 2012By the merger of the three previous universities. Its main Marseille campuses in Luminy (Science and Sport), St. Charles (Science and Letters), St. Jerome (Science), Château-Gombert (Science), La Timone (health), Canebière (Law and Economics) and Colbert (economy). The university hosts Polytech Marseille and the School of Journalism and Communication of Aix-Marseille .

Among the other institutions of higher education and research in Marseilles are the Ecole Centrale , the Ecole Nationale Supérieure d’Architecture , the Ecole des Beaux-Arts , the École Nationale Supérieure Maritime , the Kedge Business School and a cluster Regional level of the EHESS .

Several high schools in Marseilles host higher education, BTS or preparatory classes , notably the Lycée Marie-Curie , the Lycée Saint-Charles , the Lycée Jean-Perrin , the Lycée Saint-Exupéry and the Lycée Thiers , the oldest high school in the city .

The dilapidated state of some primary schools has been criticized, including the presence of asbestos and lack of maintenance of the premises by the municipality 156 , 157 .



The media center of the Belle de Mai , a place dedicated to media professions.

Main article: Media in Marseille .

Marseilles is home to the headquarters of France 3 Provence-Alpes , TV Sud Provence , local news television, and OM TV , the official channel of Olympique de Marseille .

France Bleu Provence , the regional radio Radio France is the 3 th  radio number of listeners and 2 e in audience share with 98,100 listeners in Marseille (9.9% of total audience and 10.2 % Of audience share). Local radio stations include Radio Grenouille , RCF Dialogue or Radio Star .

The main regional daily broadcast in Marseille is La Provence , owned since 2013 by the Hersant group and Bernard Tapie . The city has numerous newspapers and local information sites: La Marseillaise (founded in 1943 by the Communist Party ), Le Ravi ( satirical newspaper ), CQFD , Marsactu (online newspaper).

The Belle de Mai Media Center is dedicated to the activities of image, sound and multimedia.



Related article: List of bishops and archbishops of Marseilles .


Saint-Victor abbey, a place of Christianity for 1,500 years .


The Cathedral of Major .

Christianity was introduced in the city in i st  century by Eastern Christians. Among the converts is Victor de Marseille , a Roman officer killed for his faith and buried on a hill where his grave was later transformed into a place of worship by Jean Cassien  : the abbey of Saint Victor . It is the oldest Catholic sanctuary in France and Saint-Victor quickly becomes the emblem of the Christianity of Marseilles. A place of Catholicism in Provence for 1,500 years , it was until the Middle Ages the most important Christian necropolis in Europe. At the end of Antiquity,

Marseille is one of the three French dioceses of the Armenian Apostolic Church . The Armenian cult has the Cathedral of the Saints-Translators of Marseilles as well as seven churches. At the Church of Saint Cannat , the liturgy is celebrated by the Romanian Orthodox Church . The Church of the Dormition of the Mother of God-Marseille , Greek Orthodox Church built in 1845, contains a remarkable collection of nearly forty icons from the xviii th  century to the xx th  century.

Marseilles has four parishes of the Protestant United Church of France 159  : the Grignan temple , inaugurated in 1825 , and those of Marseille – Provence, Marseille – North and Marseille – Sud – Est.


Because of the trade of the city with the Levant and North Africa, contacts with Islam are very ancient in Marseille 160  : for example, reports the presence of a “graveyard of the Turks” from the xviii th  century 161 But the Egyptian Rifa’a al-Tahtawi indicates in 1826 that “in this city live many Egyptian and Syrian Christians who left Egypt at the same time as the French. But it is difficult to find Muslims there. ” 162 and the population Muslim Marseille remains low until the end of the xix th  century.

Most of the Muslims of Marseille came from the migratory waves of the 1960s and 1970s from the Maghreb , then from Lebanon and the Comoros . According to a study in 2011, “in light of all other major French cities, Marseille is distinguished by the size of its population having a link with Islam 163 . ” According to various studies and estimates, Muslims account for between 20 and 40% of the inhabitants of the city 163 , 164 . Marseille Muslims seem to face “great inequities in education, employment and housing” 163 ,

The city has half a dozen mosques and some 60 prayer rooms. The project to build a large mosque has been recurrent for several decades in Marseille. As early as 1937, Gaston Castel designed the plans for an Islamic center. In 2006, the municipal council authorized the construction of a Great Mosque in the Saint-Louis district . But the project is still suspended today due to lack of financial transparency 166 . The remains seen as those of the mosque of the arsenal of galleys are actually derived from an Oriental building, built in the XIX th century near a house destroyed in the 1920 167 .


Related articles: Jews in Marseille and History of the Jews in Provence and Languedoc .


The Great Synagogue of Marseilles.

The presence of the Jews in Marseilles is very old. It is attested from the vi th  century, Grégoire de Tours reports that the Jew Priscus, king of the servant Chilperic I st , married his son to a Jewish town of 168 . According to Augustin Fabre , Marseille was long one of the most suitable cities for the Israelites through the “contact so many men origins, customs and creeds without cease by close relations trade 169 . ”

Marseille’s Jews had to xiii th  century the same rights as Christians and municipal statutes of the city arrested in 1236 decreed that all inhabitants of the city had the same franchises, regardless of denomination 170 . In 1257, Jews are even qualified citizens of Marseille 171 .

Beginning in 1498, however, the Jewish population in Marseilles declined appreciably when Louis XII expelled the Jews from France. They were tolerated again later and a few years before the 1789 revolution, they were allowed to have a temple Street Bridge 169 .

In January 1943, during the raid in Marseille , the Germans seized 4,000 Jews near the Vieux-Port before expelling and destroying part of the historic center. Following the decolonization of the country Maghreb in the 1950s and 1960s, many Sephardic Jews settled in the city and are fattening the Jewish population of the city before becoming majority 172 .

Today, there are 39 synagogues in Marseille 173 , including the Great Synagogue located on rue Breteuil, built in 1864.

According to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees , the city would host the second Jewish population of France with 80,000 Jews , more than 9% of the population 129 , Note 9 . This would be the third Jewish community in Europe, after those in Paris and London 130 .

Other cults

There is a Marseille Pagoda Buddhist in the 15 th  district and another in the 11 th . The town also has a temple belonging to the antoinist cult , located 32 crossing of Tiboulen and which has been in function since October 18, 1959.

Personalities related to Marseille

Main article: List of people born in Marseille .


Between 2000 and 2012, the urban area of ​​Marseille recorded the second highest employment growth in OECD European metropolitan areas with +2.1% per year. The city of Aix-Marseille is according to the OECD’s 40 th  most innovative city in the world out of 445 174 .

Between 2000 and 2012, unemployment rose from 14.3% to 10.1% in the urban area, but it is still 2 points higher than in France, and the city has an estimated 62,000 compared with the average for comparable French metropolises 76 . Economic inequalities are still marked with a youth unemployment rate of 50% in some neighborhoods where more than a third of the population did not graduate 175 .

Port Exchanges


The port of Marseille seen from Notre-Dame-de-la-Garde .

Marseille has always been a city turned towards the sea and the port has played and still plays a leading role in the economy of the city.


Headquarters of the CMA-CGM in the Marseille business district in progress.

In the xix th  century, the city is a key location for trade between France and its colonies: it is at the crossroads of trade routes linking Europe to Africa, the Middle East but also in Asia from the opening of the Suez canal in 1869. port traffic explodes, from 600,000 tons exported in 1820 to more than seven million in 1900 176 . The extension of port activities, hitherto concentrated in the present Old Port , is then necessary to cope with this growing flow of merchandise: during the Second Empire ,

The port was again enlarged in xx th  century, but to the west, outside the city. In 2013, the Marseille-Fos Port , which extends from Marseille to Fos-sur-Mer , processes 85 million tonnes of goods, mainly hydrocarbons (60% of traffic) 177 . It is thus the first French port, the second in the Mediterranean behind Algeciras 178 and the fifth in Europe 179 . Growth in container traffic since 1990 has been very low compared to the main Mediterranean competitors, with the market share of the port of Marseille rising from 18.6% in 1989 to 5,


Between the xvii th and the xx th  century , Marseille was an important industrial city, producing including soap , tiles and ceramics, food products (oils or pasta), shipbuilding.

However, decolonization and the crisis of French industry have greatly affected the industrial sector of Marseille. In March 2009, the closure of the Naval Union Marseille probably marks the end of the ship repair sector in Marseilles, which employed more than 6,000 people thirty years ago 182 . In September 2016, the shape of the reopening of 10 project 183 , broader form of ship repair the Mediterranean, the port aims to revitalize this sector that employs this date about 750 people 184 .

Marseille has two sites classified Seveso 185 .

Commercial and tourist areas

The Center Bourse, as well as rue Saint-Ferréol, rue de la République , rue de Rome and the bottom of the rue Paradis, are the commercial heart of Marseille with clothing, shoes and fashion boutiques. Marseille has three important shopping centers at Valentine , Grand Littoral , Joliette  ; several more are in work Capelette and the Prado for allowing the city to capture the consumer is done hitherto Area territories 186 . Since 2012, shops in the city center are allowed to open on Sunday 187 . This authorization,

The Old Port , the Cours Julien and the surroundings of the beaches of Prado concentrate many restaurants.

Marseille is one of the most visited cities in France: about five million visitors visited it in 2013, compared with 2.8 million in 1996 75 , notably thanks to the European Capital of Culture 189 . Marseille is also the second congress city in France and the 74 th worldwide 190 .

Marseille has recently become one of the top ten cruise ports in the world, with 1.45 million cruise passengers welcomed in 2015, up 10.7%. The city has doubled its traffic in five years but remains far from Barcelona ( 2.5 million passengers), Rome ( 2.27 million ) and ports of the Balearic Islands ( 1.99 million ) 191 .


The port of Estaque .

Marseille is also one of the top three leisure complexes in Europe and boasts four major marinas:

  • The Old Port ( 3,200 berths with 6 meters of draft),
  • The Pointe Rouge ( 1,200 berths with a draft of 4 to 6 meters ),
  • The Friuli ( 650 berths of which 150 rings reserved for the boaters of passage),
  • L’Estaque ( 1,500 seats, including 145 for yachting).

Fisheries and Agriculture

Marseille est un des principaux ports de pêche de la côte méditerranéenne française. Cependant, les pêcheurs se sont raréfiés ces dernières décennies. En effet, en 2012, pour tout le quartier maritime de Marseille, on ne comptait plus que 235 marins pour 138 navires pratiquant une pêche traditionnelle192.

Mode et textile[modifier | modifier le code]

À partir du xvie siècle, Marseille accueille les étoffes que les marchands persans et indiens importent en Europe. La ville développe alors sa propre industrie textile et des centaines d’ateliers et de manufactures fleurissent jusqu’au xviiie siècle. Des entrepreneurs français et étrangers investissent alors dans ce secteur, à l’image de l’industriel suisse Jean-Rodolphe Wetter dont la manufacture, créée à Marseille en 1744 et spécialisée dans les étoffes indiennes, comptait parmi les plus importantes de France193.

Au début du xxe siècle, les immigrants arméniens installent des petits ateliers artisanaux dans le quartier de Saint-Jérôme dont un nombre important subsistent aujourd’hui et se muent parfois en succès commercial, comme les marques Karine Arabian ou K. Jacques Saint Tropez. Dans les années 1970 et 1980, les entrepreneurs maghrébins, spécialisés dans l’importation de textile, s’installent dans le quartier de Belsunce. Laurent Emsellem, fils d’un négociant du quartier, est le fondateur de la marque Kaporal, qui possède en 2013 50 boutiques193.

Contrairement aux autres aires urbaines françaises qui connaissent des baisses importantes de leur activité textile, le secteur de l’habillement progresse à Marseille où il représente 400 entreprises pour 9400 salariés en 2013193. Depuis les années 1970, trois vagues successives de créateurs sont à l’origine de nombreuses marques à succès : Sun Valley, Parakian, Jezequel ou Sugar dans les années 1970-80 ; Sessùn, Kulte, Kaporal, Le Temps des cerises ou American Vintage dans les années 1990-2000 ; Jayko, Zoé la fée ou Les Midinettes dans les années 2000-2010193.

Recherche[modifier | modifier le code]

La délégation Provence et Corse est le second pôle régional du CNRS après l’Île-de-France. Elle emploie près de 1 900 personnes dont 856 chercheurs auquel il faut ajouter le personnel de l’université d’Aix-Marseille et des autres organismes de recherche tels qu’INSERM ou l’INRA194.

Ville portuaire, souvent confrontées aux épidémies, Marseille concentre depuis longtemps des compétences en termes de lutte contre les infections : la ville produit en 2015 le tiers des publications scientifiques françaises en infectiologie et se place dans le Top 5 des pôles de compétences mondiaux. En 2013 et 2014, 24 brevets avaient été déposés par des chercheurs marseillais, soit autant que de 1994 à 2013195.

Un « Infectiopôle » est actuellement construit par la Fondation Méditerranée Infection sur le site de l’hôpital de la Timone195.

Marché du travail[modifier | modifier le code]


Le quartier d’affaires de la Joliette.

En 2008, sur les 300 831 Marseillais ayant un emploi, 257 794 travaillaient dans la commune, 36 929 dans une autre commune du département, 2 693 dans une autre commune de la région, 3 086 dans le reste de la France métropolitaine196.

Parmi ceux qui détenaient un emploi à temps complet à Marseille en 2008, 75,7 % avaient un contrat à durée indéterminée (y compris les titulaires de la fonction publique), 9,4 % étaient en contrat à durée déterminée, 6,3 % travailleurs indépendants, 3,8 % étaient employeurs, 1,6 % étaient apprentis, 1,5 % étaient intérimaires, 1,1 % en autres contrats aidés, 0,5 % stagiaires rémunérés197.

The number of jobs in the municipality increased from 297 830 in 1999 to 338 530 in 2008 198 , of which 80 736 were occupied by workers living outside the municipality.

Marseille is the headquarters of the Marseille-Provence Chamber of Commerce and Industry (member of the Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur-Corsica Regional Chamber of Commerce and Industry ) which manages Marseille-Provence airport in Marignane 199 .



View of part of the city center.

Main article: Urban planning in Marseille .

Morphologie urbaine[modifier | modifier le code]

Nearly half of the communal area is in inconstructible natural territory and the city spreads over an extremely vast territory, a legacy of the Phocaean colonization which organized the city between a center (the shores of Lacydon) and its terroir (the rest of the Territory bordered by the hills surrounding Marseilles): Marseille covers more than 240.62 km 2 , making it the fifth commune of metropolitan France by its area (2.5 times larger than Paris, 5 times larger That Lyon). Its density ( 3,536 inhabitants per square kilometer) is much lower than fully urbanized cities such as Lyon ( 10,118 inhab. / Km 2 ) or Paris ( 21 229 inhabitants / km 2 ), comparable to that of Toulouse ( 3 735 inhabitants / km 2 ); However, if only its habitable area ( 150 km 2 ) is taken into account , its density is 5 672 inhabitants / km 2 , which is comparable to Lille ( 6 533 inhabitants / km 2 ).

Marseille is a very hilly city, with streets sometimes very steep: the highest district of Marseille, Les Trois-Lucs ( 12 th  arrondissement ), rises to 242 meters above sea level. The highest point of the territory of Marseilles is the summit of the Star at 652 m in the massif of the same name 200 .

Long confined to the north of the current Old Port , the city has undergone a first expansion in the xvii th  century and develops xix th  century with the economic development of the port .

Development projects and works in progress

Main article: Euroméditerranée .


The rue de la République rehabilitated.

Since 1995, the districts of Arenc and La Joliette , marked by their industrial past, as well as Le Panier and the Porte d’Aix , are the subject of one of the most important urban renovations in Europe.

Among the major operations, Euroméditerrannée enabled the renovation of the Rue de la République , the Docks , the construction of a future park around the Porte d’Aix , future skyscrapers at the Quays d’Arenc , the CMA tower -CGM and MUCEM .

The operation was recently extended to another sector called Euroméditerranée 2 to the Crottes and Le Canet districts . It envisages the construction of a North Corniche over the coast, a multimodal transport hub at Capitaine Gèze and a park along the Aygalades brook 201 .


Marseille has the features to be the most congested city of France (and the 18 th World) and host the main French cruise port.

Road Infrastructure


Access to Marseille.

Three highways enter Marseille:

  • The North motorway ( A7 ) crosses the northern districts and ends near the city center, at the Porte d’Aix . It is the southern end point of the large north-south cross-section of the A1 , A6 and A7 motorways linking Lille to Marseille via Paris and Lyon . The A7 also connects Marseille to Nimes (via the A9 and A54 ) and Aix-en-Provence (via the A51 ).
  • The Autoroute du Littoral ( A55 ) from Martigues crosses the 16th arrondissement and then takes a walkway to walk along the harbor area before crossing the Joliette in a tunnel and ending at the northwest end of the Old Port .
  • The motorway east ( A50 ) from Toulon crosses the eastern quarters and emerges at the Capelette . It connects Marseille to Aubagne via the A52 .

The A50 and the A55 are connected by the tunnels of the Old Port and Prado-Carénage , allowing a crossing of the city almost without interruption. The A507 , or L2 bypass, is a semi-peripheral that must connect the A7 to the A50 and whose section is open since 2016 .

The old national roads 8 (road of Marseille) and 113 which reached Marseilles from the north have only a local interest and have been decommissioned in departmental. Three other roads radiate from the town: the D568 (formerly N568 , Rove road) to the northwest, D908 (ex-N8bis) to the northeast and D559 (formerly N559 , route de la Gineste ). All three are winding and have a rugged profile, but are widely used for commuting to commuters in the suburbs ( Blue Coast , Valdonne-Fuveau Basin, Cassis ).

Road traffic is a major problem and Marseille is the French bottled city (and the 18 th World) 2015 202 .

Urban Transport

Main articles: Authority Metropolitan Transportation , Metro Marseille , Bus Marseille , Marseille tramway , Line ferry boat , maritime shuttle from Marseille and the bike (bike sharing) .


The new tramway , commissioned in 2007 .


An underground train at Saint-Barnabé station .

The Metropolitan Transport Authority (RTM), a public authority, manages urban transport within Transmétropole of the Marseille-Provence territory .

Marseille has 119 bus lines serving the entire city, including Allauch , Plan-de-Cuques and Septèmes-les-Vallons on a 950 km network . The routes and the numbering of the bus lines still largely resume those of the network of the old tramway of Marseille almost completely suppressed from the 1960s . The trolley circulated in Marseille until 2004 , when they were replaced by conventional buses.

Due to the size of the city and traffic difficulties, Marseille’s average bus speed is relatively slow at 12 km / h . A videoverbuilding device is set up to free bus lanes from the parking lot and improve the flow of bus traffic 203 .

The metro network comprises two lines representing 21.5 km and 30 stations. The first line was opened in 1977 , the last extension dating from 2010 . An additional station ( Capitaine Gèze ) is under construction on line 2, after the current Bougainville terminus, which extends the line beyond Arenc.

The tramway has three lines totaling 15.8 km and 40 stops. The network was opened in 2007 .

Three high-level bus lines were commissioned in 2014 and another is scheduled for 204 .


The ferry boat .

De mars à septembre, un service de navette maritime est mis en place entre le Vieux-Port, la Pointe Rouge, Les Goudes et le Vieux-Port et L’Estaque. Le ferry boat permet de traverser le Vieux-Port de l’Hôtel de ville à la place aux Huiles. Mis en service en 1880, c’est aujourd’hui principalement une ligne touristique.

Le système de vélopartage « Le vélo » a été mis en place en 2007. Il comporte 130 stations et 1 000 vélos, situées principalement en centre-ville et au sud-ouest, il fonctionne 24h/24 depuis 2013. La ville s’est toutefois vu décerner par la Fédération des usagers de la bicyclettes le prix du « Clou Rouillé » en 2013 qui épingle les communes pour les initiatives à ne pas faire en termes d’aménagements cyclables.

Marseille’s main bus station is located in Saint-Charles . It is operated by the RTM and hosts most of the coaches serving the Bouches-du-Rhône ( Cartreize ), the PACA region ( LER ) or Europe ( Eurolines and IDBUS ) as well as an airport shuttle .

Railway service

Main articles: Marseille-Saint-Charles station and Marseille-Blancarde station .


The facade of the station of Marseille-Saint-Charles .

The Marseille-Saint-Charles station , the culmination of the Paris-Lyon-Marseille line , was inaugurated in 1848 . The station then becomes and for a long time the obligatory point of passage of the travelers towards Africa or the Middle East . The electrification of the line was completed in 1962 . The opening of the South-East high-speed line in 1981 marked the arrival of the TGV . The line was extended in 2001 by the LGV Méditerranée , which puts Paris three hours from Marseille. Also, since the 1 st May 2015,

Saint-Charles station is also the terminus of the line from Marseilles to Ventimiglia and hosts TGV traffic to the west and north of France, as well as that of Intercités of the southwest via Montpellier and towards the Savoie and the Switzerland via Grenoble . It is also the heart of the network of regional express transport of Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur (TER) which line to Aix-en-Provence has been renovated recently and that to Toulon is being tripled.

As part of the new Provence-Côte-d’Azur project to connect Nice to Marseille, Marseille-Saint-Charles station is to be the subject of work to build a new underground station. On this occasion, the station of La Blancarde should also be refurbished to accommodate a TGV station and a tunnel should be built between the two stations.

Marseilles is also served by eleven other stations , the most important of which are those of Blancarde and L’Estaque .

Air Service

Main article: Marseille-Provence airport .

The Marseille-Provence international airport is located 25 kilometers from the center of Marseille, in the town of Marignane , on the banks of the Etang de Berre. It is the third largest airport in France outside Île-de-France 205 .

Its traffic is mainly oriented towards Paris , Corsica , Europe, and North Africa . The opening inOctober 2006Of the MP2 terminal dedicated entirely to low-cost airlines has enabled the development of the number of passengers and destinations, in particular to Europe.

In addition to the connections to Montreal and Toronto , a link to New York was opened in 2013.

The airport is served by bus shuttles that connect it to the Saint-Charles train station and the station TGV Aix-en-Provence and, since 2008 , the station of Vitrolles-Aéroport-Marseille-Provence .

Marine Transportation

Main article: Large maritime port of Marseille .

There are 220 regular maritime links, half to the Mediterranean, Africa and the Middle East. They connect the port of Marseille with 400 ports of 120 different countries. Marseille is one of the main points of access to Corsica within the framework of territorial continuity .

  • The Old Port , seen from the park of Pharo.

  • Panoramic view of the Old Port.

Local culture and heritage

Related article: List of historical monuments of Marseille .

Architecture and Remarkable Monuments

Prehistory and Antiquity


Painting of human hand in the Cosquer cave , dated 27 000 years before our era.

Located in the south of the city, the Cosquer cave , discovered in 1992 , is a Palaeolithic ornate cave , frequented between 27,000 and 19,000 before the present , whose entry under the sea makes access difficult.

Few traces still exist of the Greek or Roman city. The most visible are the ancient harbor, northeast of the present Vieux-Port , in the Jardin des Vestiges in the heart of the Marseille History Museum . There are remains of the Greek fortifications, the defensive tower, the Roman road, the fresh water basin or the funerary terraces.

  • Ancient Remains

Middle Ages

La ville s’étant toujours reconstruite sur elle-même au fil de l’urbanisation, Marseille médiévale est, selon l’expression de Thierry Pécout, une « ville de papier » que seuls historiens et archéologues peuvent faire revivre compte tenu de la disparition de nombreux bâtiments médiévaux et du remodelage de la ville aux époques modernes et contemporaines206.

L’abbaye Saint-Victor, dont les parties les plus anciennes datent du xie siècle, a été construite sur ce qui est peut-être le lieu de culte chrétien le plus ancien de France. La chapelle Notre-Dame de la Galline aurait été construite sur un lieu de culte datant 1042207.

La Vieille Major, l’ancienne cathédrale de la ville, a été édifiée à partir du xiie siècle à l’emplacement d’une première église datant de la fin de l’Antiquité.

L’église Saint-Laurent, bâtie au xiiie siècle dans un style roman provençal, est la paroisse des pêcheurs de Marseille.

  • Édifices du Moyen-Âge