Marseille-Provence 2013

Marseille-Provence 2013 or MP2013 [1] was the year-long series of cultural events that took place in Marseille , France and the surrounding area to celebrate the territory’s designation as the European Capital of Culture for 2013. In total, there were more than 900 different cultural events that attracted more 11 million visits. [2] Marseille-Provence 2013 was an operating budget of approximately 100 million euros and more than 600 million euros in new cultural infrastructure was unveiled in 2013 [3] including the MuCEM designed by Rudy Ricciotti and the Mediterranean Sea conference center designed by Stefano Boeri. MP2013 was a key part of a larger, decades-long, multibillion-dollar development effort to revitalize the city. [4]

History and organization


The official designation of European Capital of Culture was created in 1985 with the goal of building the European Union by celebrating the diversity of European culture and its common history and values. The event is also considered an opportunity for a city or region and its international profile. [5] Thus far, more than 40 cities have received the European Capital of Culture designation. [6]


The city of Marseille launched its candidacy to host the European Capital of Culture in March 2004 and later expanded its bid to include neighboring cities in Provence. [7] A French jury selected Marseille as its choice in September 2008. In May 2009, the European Council officially announced that Marseille would be the European Capital of Culture in 2013 in parallel with the city of Košice in Slovakia . [8]

Marseille-Provence 2013 association

In 2006, the official Marseille-Provence 2013 association was created under French laws for non-profit organizations. It Brought together members of Both the public and private Sectors and Was first directed by Bernard LatarjetAnd Then Jean-François Chougnet. The association is led by Jacques Pfister, President of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry for Marseille and Provence.

Budget and financing

The association had an initial budget of 91 million euros, 84% of which was provided via public financing (the European Union and various levels of French government). [9] The rest of the budget came from the private sector. The final budget for the association was 101 million euros, a sum that included the cost of running the ticket and other initiatives.


The territory for the European Capital of Culture Marseilles-Provence 2013 included close to 100 communities surrounding Marseille. Among the major communities were:

  • Marseille Provence Metropolis
  • Pays d’Aix
  • Agglopole Provence
  • Pays d’Aubagne
  • Arles
  • Country of Martigues

Other notable jurisdictions included Istres , Gardanne , and Salon-de-Provence .

The community of Toulon withdrew from the project in 2011. The president of the Community of the Country of Aix also threatened to withdraw from the headquarters of the newly formed Aix-Marseille University were placed in Marseille instead of Aix-en-Provence, but she to stay in the community.

Cultural program

Major events

Opening weekend in Marseille

Opening weekend

The opening ceremony of MP2013 was celebrated January 12 and 13, 2013 in the cities of Marseille, Aix-en-Provence, and Arles. The ceremony was attended by Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault , European Commission President José Manuel Barros , and French Minister of Culture Aurélie Filipetti. There were various major events in the art market in Aix-en-Provence and a pyrotechnical performance by Groupe F on the banks of the Rhôneriver in Arles. In Marseille, the center has been held, including the dropping of several tones of feathers as part of the ‘Place of Angels’ performance. The MP2013 association estimated that 600,000 people took part in activities as part of the opening ceremony. [10]

Between Flames and Waves

As part of the unveiling of the newly refurbished Old Port , the Carabosse company has created an artistic installation involving the artist. [11] The official estimate of the crowd was 400.00 people. [12]


The tradition of transhumance , or moving vast numbers of livestock, is the inspiration for one of the highlights of MP2013. More than 3000 sheep were moved to the MP2013 territory in May and June with a triumphant entry into downtown Marseille on Sunday, June 9. [13] The project was organized by Theater du Centaure and was seen by more than 300,000 people. [14]

Industrial Night

As part of an effort to integrate art into non-traditional spaces, MP2013 organizes massive installations and projections in the iconic factories and industrial spaces of the cities of Martigues and Port-de-Bouc . [15]

Closing ceremony

The closing ceremony in Marseille was organized by the pyrotechnics artists Groupe F [16] on the Vieux Port .

Major exhibitions

Two exhibitions were organized at the newly renovated J1 shed in the heart of the port of Marseille. The Corridor, the history of the Mediterranean and their relationship to the sea and their cities, the second look at the architect Le Corbusier , his links to Marseille and his role in the Brutalist architecture movement. [17] The J1 shed was opened to the public exclusively for the year of the European Capital of Culture.

Another prime exhibition was the Grand Atelier du Midi which was organized at the Museum of Fine Arts in Marseille and the Granet Museum in Aix-en-Provence and featured iconic paintings of Provence by Paul Cezanne , Vincent van Gogh , Pierre Bonnard , and many others. It generated 460,000 visits. [18]

The city of Aubagne also hosted two major exhibitions, one featuring the ceramic work of Picasso , [19] the other a mobile exhibition of work from the Center Pompidou . [20]

The Camp des Milles , a World War II internment site near the city of Aix, was renovated and opened as a cultural and memorial site for MP2013. It featured a remarkable exhibition of work by artists and writers who had been detained at the camp during the war. [21]

GR 2013

The road for the GR2013

A new hiking trail that was opened to coincide withMP2013: The GR2013 is a 365 km trail around the Marseille area that has a number of different areas, including metropolis and the seaside cliffs. [22] This project was the result of the collaboration between the GR and the French National Hiking Federation, the regional hiking associations, and Bouches-du-Rhone Tourisme.

Creative Urban Projects

This was a participative project that places artists in developing urban areas with local residents. The program was run with both government and social services groups.

This program was developed with the help of a large number of investors, and they were held in a position of sustainability. [23]

Resident associations also denounced the project for being a tool for urban development programs that were actually rejected by many locals and the source of political conflict. There were also some cultural groups that were involved in these programs.

The Off

For the first time in the history of the European Capital of Culture, there was also an Off Festival. It was organized by the association M2K13. This group is actually in the field of “Marseilles 2013” and registered the trademark “Marseille 2013” in early 2004. The group has received more than 150 proposals for projects.

However, in 2009, the official MP2013 association decided not to collaborate with M2K13 so this group created the Off Festival. It was able to raise 465,000 euros in the fund, with 65% coming from the private sector, notably the Provencal People’s Bank and Corsican. Among the notable projects featured in the Off was Yes We Camp, an urban campsite in the northern part of Marseille, and the Klaxon series of exhibitions.

Some artist groups are accused of being institutionalized, which then leads to the Alter Off being organized. This group is an idea of ​​egalitarianism and accepted every project that has been proposed.


Pavilion M

Pavilion M

This site has been set up in the Bargemon Place and is open to the official welcome center for MP2013. The building included 3,000 m2 of renovated space and 1,200 m2 of temporary space. It cost 5 million euros and was not part of the budget MP2013. It closed on December 31st, 2013 and the temporary structure was dismantled.

MuCEM (Museum of Civilizations of Europe and the Mediterranean)

The Museum of European and Mediterranean Civilizations in Marseille

The MuCEM was the first national museum opened outside the Paris region. The museum was built on the J4 quay beside Fort Saint-Jean overlooking the Mediterranean. It was designed by the architect Rudy Ricciotti . The museum is now home to the collection of the National Museum of Popular Arts and Traditions that was closed in 2005. The museum opened on June 7, 2013 and received more than 1.9 million visitors in the first eight months.


The J1 shed is situated along the harbor’s waterfront near the Joliette square. It was renovated for 2013 by Catherine Bonte and Michael Munteanu. It hosted two exhibitions associated with MP2013 but its future is uncertain.

Darius Milhaud Conservatory

Designed by the Japanese architect Kengo Kuma , the conservatory was built to welcome world-class musicians and the best music students to the south of France. It opened in September 2013.

Museum Regards de Provence

The Regards de Provence Foundation created a museum in the water treatment plant located beside the main cathedral on the port of Marseille. This project is the largest single private investment in MP203. It opened in February 2013.

Mediterranean Villa

The Villa Méditerranée at night

Also located on the J4 Quay, not far from the MuCEM, the Mediterranean Villa is “an international center for Mediterranean dialogue and exchange” that was created by the regional government of Provence-Alpes-Côtes d’Azur. The building was designed by Stefano Boeri in the shape of an inverse “L” with a prominent overhang over a pool of water.

Regional Contemporary Art Fund

The building for the Regional Contemporary Art Fund (FRAC) was designed by the architect Kengo Kuma and is part of the new Joliette business quarter. It opened in March 2013.

Renovations or extensions

The Wasteland of the Belle de Mai

The Friche is a massive cultural complex located in an old tobacco factory. It opened in 1992 but was expanded in 2013 with the notable addition of the Panorama Tour dedicated to contemporary arts.

Marseille History Museum

Opened in 1993, the Marseille History Museum is located in the Belsunce neighborhood beside the Jardin des Vestiges, the ruins of the original Greek port. The museum was renovated for MP2013 and re-opened in September 2013. It features the largest collection of ancient ships in the world.

Museum of Decorative Arts

The 18th century estate Borély Castle was transformed into a museum to house the collections of the fashion museum and pottery, china, and ceramics museum. It opened in June 2013.

Renovation of the Old Port

The Old Port in Marseilles has been entirely reorganized to make it easier to travel to Europe. It also features Norman Foster’s pergola with a mirrored ceiling that was designed by the architect .


The Marseille area had a long history of being a French filmmaker, the epitomized by the film The French Connection about the heroin trade in Marseille in the 1970s and continued into the 21st century by a series of high-profile crimes and a penchant for “Marseille-bashing “in the Paris-based media. [24] MP2013 was seen as an opportunity to shine the spotlight on the new Marseille and rejuvenate its international image.


The European Capital of Culture was a popular success with more than 10 million visits recorded for the various events. It also generated a significant increase in tourism with the Chamber of Commerce and Industry for Marseille and Provence reporting that there were almost 2 million additional visitors in 2013, roughly half of the tourists and other half-day or trippers. [25]

Economic effects

The Chamber of Commerce and Industry for Marseilles and Provence determined that the additional tourism and related expenses of MP2013 500 million euros in economic benefits. MP2013 was responsible for generating 2,800 jobs (full-time equivalencies) in 2013. [26]


MP2013 also led to international media recognition and greatly improved the image of the city of Marseille. [27] The New York Times cited Marseille as number two in the aftermarket in 2013 after Rio . [28] Marseille also won the award for Best City in 2014 from Wallpaper magazine (along with San Francisco ). [29]


Marseille was named ‘European City of the Year 2014’ by The Academy of Urbanism in London, a professional association of more than 500 British designers. [30]


Albert Camus exhibition

An exhibition based on the Albert Camus archives was presumed to be organized in Aix-en-Provence by the sociologist and historian Benjamin Stora . [31] However, Stora was removed from the project by the French Ministry of Culture to withdraw its financing. The exhibition was then put in the hands of Michel Onfray , but he later decided to leave the project. [32] The exhibition was finally removed from the official MP2013 program and a smaller version was organized at the Cité du Livre in Aix-en-Provence.

Involvement of residents

One of the goals of MP2013 was to integrate art and public spaces. One of the main projects to bring creativity to neighborhoods has been creative neighborhoods, but this program is one of a gentrification plan. [33] The Marseille rapper Keny Arkana wrote a song Capital of the break that denounced the European Capital of Culture for pushing traditional residents to the side and trying to make Marseille just another “nice city on the Cote d’Azur”. [34]

The sociologist Sylvia Girel also published a report noting that many people were not involved in MP2013, including those in the poorer northern neighborhoods of Marseille or the rural regions of Provence. [35]

David Guetta concert

In March 2013 Marsactu revealed that the City of Marseille was providing a 400,000 euro subsidy for a concert at Parc Borély in Marseille by the internationally renowned DJ David Guetta . This subsidy for a successful international artist has been tested in the past. [36] The Borély Park concert was canceled and David Guetta played a non-subsidized concert instead.

Absence of rap

Marseille is known for its vibrant rap scene so it was massive criticism of MP2013 for not including more local rap artists in its official program. Among others, the Marseille rapper Akhenaton publicly denounced the lack of rap programming. [37] In May 2012, the European Committee oversees the European Capital of Culture program, which MP2013 noted to have an over-representation of ‘high culture’. [38]


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  36. Jump up^ “Guetta to Borely? 44 euros instead, 400,000 public money” . Retrieved 1 October 2014 .
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