The cosmopolitan port of Marseille (sometimes known as 'Marseilles') is not only France's oldest city but one of its proudest. From its groundbreaking rap music to its ubiquitous football team, from its ancient traditions to its modern and dynamic cultural life, this is truly a city like no other.
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InterContinental Marseille - Hotel Dieu is perfectly located overlooking the Vieux Port, adjacent to the Panier, the oldest district in Marseille. The hotel's 172 rooms and 22 suites, many with magnificent views of the Vieux Port, are decorated in a sty...
Since its founding 26 centuries ago by the Greeks of Phocaea, Marseille has always been proud of being different. One of the city's greatest assets is the wild natural beauty that surrounds it: shaggy islands, countless beaches, a superb marine life and eerily beautiful chalky fjords.
Divers will find the turquoise waters that lap at Les Calanques almost impossible to resist, or for more genteel fun you can hire a boat. For landlubbers, there are some spectacular hiking trails in the hills around the city, and the more adventurous can climb the sheer limestone cliffs.
In February, the Black Virgin is carried in procession for the Chandeleur or Candlemas pilgrimage to the Saint-Victor Abbey. It is one of France's largest pilgrimages, attracting thousands of the faithful. In March, Marseille celebrates its city Carnaval. In June at Château Gombert, a suburb north of Marseille, there is a festival for Saint Éloi, the patron saint of goldsmiths, smiths, mule drivers, farmers and their livestock. The festival for the city's Panier quartier occurs in the same month.
In July, the world's biggest and oldest boule (bowls) competition, organised by La Provence, the regional newspaper, is an event not to be missed. In August, the Feast of the Assumption features a procession to Notre Dame de la Garde and the Major cathedral. In October, the Fiesta des Suds is held every weekend at the Dock des Suds; this is the city's big musical, artistic and festive celebration. At around the same time, there is also a Festival of Sacred Music of the Mediterranean. From the last weekend in November until the end of December, some forty artists who make the famous carved Nativity figures known as santons exhibit their wares in the Meilhan area during the Foire des Santons. Finally, Marseille celebrates Christmas in a very special way. The traditional Christmas Eve Réveillon is known as the gros souper, and the meatless repast concludes with the famous thirteen desserts, including the famous pompe à l'huile, which is a pastry created especially for the occasion.
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