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What is so special about Marseille?

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California
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What is so special about Marseille?

My husband and I will be in the Provence area in October for about three weeks. We've booked two homes in different parts of Provence - Luberon and the Var. We have about 4 extra days at the end of our stay and I've read (in the NYTimes and other publications) that Marseille is an up and coming, interesting City. My huband and friends we are traveling with aren't so sure. Can anyone advise me about what makes Marseille so special. Is it work 4 days? Thank you so much.

Vancouver, Canada
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1. Re: What is so special about Marseille?

Marseiile is one of the oldest cities in France, founded in about 600 BC, so I wouldn't really call it "up and coming." It is, however a city that is changing or "morphing." It has certainly has had it's days when it was pretty rough and raw, but it is becoming gentrified. I personally don't know if that is a really good thing.

It is very multi-cultural with a large North African influence. It is completely different than the Luberon, but it is a city of 1.5 million residents.

Marseille is "The European Capital of Culture" this year with lots of festivals and events. Marseille is not everyone's cup of tea, but I love spending time there.

Edited: 5:49 pm, May 23, 2013
California
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for Grasse
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2. Re: What is so special about Marseille?

I think two days would be fine for Marseille. However, I'd head to Nice instead.

Marseille
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3. Re: What is so special about Marseille?

For me, there are two good reasons why you should visit Marseille.

1) Marseille is quite unique and different to anywhere else in France (see some of the articles in the link below for more about why it is so different). Some people love it, some people don't, but if you don't visit it you will never know and you will never experience the same thing elsewhere.

2) This year Marseille is European Capital of Culture, and that will only happen once. You might be able to go back to Marseille again if you like it but there will never be as many events (many of them free) going on as there are now.

Is 4 days enough? I think 4 days is a good time to make a first visit - it will give you time to get to know the place but it is not too long if you decide you don't like it.

Finally, if you want to do a little more reading to help you decide, there is a collection of (factual / non-travel) newspaper articles about Marseille here:

http://goo.gl/dr9mY

Come and see what the city has to offer!

Marseille, France
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for Marseille, Aix-en-Provence
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4. Re: What is so special about Marseille?

It very much depends what you're looking for. If it's peaceful cobbled streets, picturesque craft markets and the traditional attractions of Provence, Marseille is not the place. However it is undoubtedly a happening city - there are major projects (including France's first national museum outside of Paris, the MuCEM) and amazing architecture springing up everywhere.

The city itself is vibrant and multicultural, and I would think that there is more than enough to interest you for four days if you include the immediately surrounding area (the must-see calanques, Cassis, Aix and the Pays d'Aix - Aix is an easy bus ride away and could be visited in a day trip) which would contrast interestingly with the Luberon and the Var. There's a lot more information about Marseille and Southern Provence here: http://www.marseille-provence.info/

California
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5. Re: What is so special about Marseille?

I so appreciate the responses back from my question. Very helpful and thoughtful. Thank you. Marseille will be one of our destination spots. Thank you.

Vancouver, Canada
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6. Re: What is so special about Marseille?

Enjoy! Make sure that you do a day trip to Cassis.

Guildford, England
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7. Re: What is so special about Marseille?

Another vote for this is the year to visit Marseille. I'm off for a week in 4 weeks time and cannot wait. Make sure you look up and google all the events that are going on in the region and visit the tourist office.

8. Re: What is so special about Marseille?

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