The city of Marseille is arguably one of the most intriguing places in my European community. Being the second largest city in France, Marseille has the best and inevitable geography, culture, art, science, weather and a heritage that would definitely leave any person visiting with memories to remember and live for. There is always something new to discover everyday and refreshing lessons to take home every other day.
The geography in Marseille is not only scenic but is also breathtaking. The Mediterranean coastal city is sandwiched between the magnificent blue sea and rocky hills towering high in the sky. The Mediterranean climate complements the scenery all year round. The summers here are mostly warm and the humid winters are mild and not as cold as in other parts of the world. Highest temperatures are, however, experienced in the months of July and August while January and February remain the coldest months of the year (Jarrett 34).
The first most beautiful thing to learn about Marseille is that it is an ancient city. It is actually the most ancient city in France. It was founded about 2,600 years ago or around 600 BC by the Phoenicians who were later conquered by the Greeks. The Romans eventually took over control from the Greeks almost two millennia ago. However, the Phoenicians were not the first to live here as the Ligurians had already settled much earlier. It is this rich and ancient history that makes Marseille a must visit place.
The different communities that lived in Marseille over the centuries it has existed have left an indelible culture and heritage that is closely observed to this day. Any expedition round the city can never be enough to unearth the cultural treasures left behind by these early settlers and visitors are left to put together pieces of its history in a bid to reconstruct its culture. The culture here is deep and profound and is represented by the ancient architecture, music, local cuisine and entertainment (Jarrett 49).
The food in Marseille will not only arouse one’s appetite, but it will also leave him craving for more. The most famous dishes are those of seafood that is easy to be found in local eateries and restaurants. Seafood varieties served in these food joints are renowned all over the world for their flavor. These include the Bouillabaisse du Ravi and the Pecheur. The Bouillabaisse du Ravi is the most popular meal for lunch as it is light and uniquely prepared from a variety of six fish types (Young). Fish and other seafood are not the only delicacies on offer in the local restaurants. Marseille is also home to various tastes and varieties of bread and pastry. The most sought after pastry must be the navette which resembles a baked boat. Its preparation embraces a lot of culture and history, and it is normally taken to remember the visit to Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer by Mary and Lazarus. The navette has been baked since the 18th century. Seafood and bread cannot be complete without wine. White and red wine are both part of the cuisine in Marseille. A local variant of white wine known as the cassis is mostly taken to complement the seafood. It is made in the eastern part of Marseille in the region of Cassis (Young 12).
Music and art have made this city vibrant at all times. A lot of renowned music pieces have been composed right here in Marseille. For instance, France’s national hymn was developed here during the French revolution. Other notable songs include the war song which was composed by a junior officer for the Army of the Rhine. The song has since gained popularity and is christened as La Marseillaise. The city is also a musical point of focus and attracts international music festivals such as the Five Continent Festival of Jazz Music and the Festival of Sacred Music. The city is also a haven for all forms of arts, among them are visual and theater arts. There is also a great deal of unique artwork preserved in museums all over the city. Because of the appreciation of art and music, Marseille is expected to become the European city centered on culture by the year 2013. This will see all disciplines related to culture and art taught at the centre. There will also be dance performances throughout the year 2013 (Young 57).
Cinema and theatrics are not new to Marseille. After Paris, it is the most popular destination for film making. It is the intimate mix of diverse culture, history, and geography that has attracted filmmakers and other lovers of theatre. Cinema is now appreciated here more than before. The Plus Belle La Vie is one of the most popular film series in France and the world that was shot in Marseille.
Sports enthusiasts can always look forward to the various sporting events in this great city. The world’s famous cycling event, Tour de France, can be traced right back to Marseille. The city lies on the route used by the cyclists and the advent of the third stage of the event took place here. Hiking has also reached maturity in the city. Breathtaking hiking destinations include the Calanques which is a steep rocky inlet located south of the city, about eight kilometers away and is easily accessible by road. Hikers can also enjoy a view of the sea as the Calanques is just adjacent to the sea (Jarrett 59).
Marseille bears all that there is to offer. From culture and art to scenery and expeditions, there is always something new and refreshing to discover and to learn at the same time. Its rich historical and cultural background is the epitome of its existence.