Presumably, Marseille was founded in 600 BC by Greek merchants. The Greek's leader married the local chief's daughter. The girl's father donated them land on which Massalia (Marseille's original name ) was build. Marseille is not only the most important port but also the oldest, largest city in France. The center of the city emerged around the old port. (le Vieux Port) Soon, Marseille became a thriving, commercial town. Trading activities were promoted by the Crusades.
Through competition from the Italian ports and Montpellier, the era of prosperity came to an end. In the 15th century, the Provence became part of France and the port of Marseile flourished yet again. In the 17th century, it became a Free Port. New workplaces were established to manufacture sugar, textiles and soap (Marseille soap).
Marseille heavily suffered during World War II. The oldest part of the city was destroyed in 1943, but a few old buildings were spared. During the reconstruction of the city, a Roman theater, remains of a Greek fortress wall, and harbor works were found.
Exploring Marseille and visiting the most important points of interest, will take at least half a day.
Popular ports for an excursion to Marseille are: