Marseille is described as the most important Mediterranean port of France. However, Marseille is more like a partisan city. The city has many ethnic populations especially from North America. Historically, its characteristics of low profile and multi ethnicity since 2500 years have turned Marseille into a famous trading centre.
From a 154 meters high hill, Notre Dame de la Garde dominates the city and the famous old port, known as the Vieux Port. The 1853 Roman Byzantine style basilica with its bell tower and the dome is really amazing. The bell tower is capped with a lovely golden statue of Virgin Mary.
The past Vieux Port presently has become the place where tourists and visitors rent boats for fishing and cruising. The entrance of Vieux Port is safeguarded by the Bas Fort St Nicholas, which was built by the Knights Templar in 13th century.
Through Vieux Port, tourists can discover the La Canabiere, a district of tourist shops, cheap hotels, seedy bars and lots of restaurants. The more people go to the port, the livelier the environment becomes.
Due to its strong cultural elements, Marseille has many museums scattered around the city such as Musee d’Histoire de Marseille, Musee de la Faience (for porcelains), Musee De Beaux Arts (which is housed in the unbelievable Palais Lonchamps), Musee Grobet Labadie (Objects and royal furniture d’art), and Musee Cantini (mainly focused on modern arts).
The reputation of Marseille as a disgraceful violent place arises mostly from its nightlife and liberal attitude. However, Marseille is a lively and fascinating place where the French locals are friendly.