|Marseille from the church of Notre Dame le Garde on an outcrop above the city|
It continued to thrive during the Middle Ages, despite setbacks when it was attacked by the Saracens and by Spain. It’s also thought that Marseille was the first place in France to suffer an outbreak of bubonic plague in 1348, which later spread throughout Europe.
|Le Vieux Port - The Old Port|
By the end of the Middle Ages, Marseille was incorporated into France, and continued to play an important trading and naval role. Various forts were built around the port which can still be seen today.
|Fort Saint Jean at the north entrance to the harbour|
|Fort Saint Nicholas on the south side|
You can also take a boat trip out to the Chateau d’If, made famous by the Alexandre Dumas novel, The Count of Monte Cristo.
The local people supported the French Revolution and in 1792, the city sent 500 volunteers to Paris to help defend the revolutionary government. On their march northwards to Paris, they sang their rallying call, which came to be known as La Marseillaise, and is now France’s national anthem.
In modern times, Marseille has continued as a trading and commercial centre, and industry has expanded, with petroleum refining and shipbuilding being the main industries. It also attracts millions of tourists, including the Mediterranean cruise ships. Last year it was designated as European Capital of Culture. Its main cultural attraction is the Opera House, originally built in the 18th century.
The city is also renowned for its food, especially bouillabaisse, a kind of fish stew containing at least three types of fresh local fish, and served with rouille (mayonnaise) on toasted bread.