Marseille (/mɑːrˈseɪ/; French: [maʁsɛj] (listen), locally [mɑχˈsɛjə]; English alternative spelling: Marseilles; Provençal: Marselha [maʀˈsejɔ, -ˈsijɔ]) is the second-largest city of France. The main city of the historical province of Provence, it nowadays is the prefecture of the department of Bouches-du-Rhône and region of Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur. It is located on France's south coast near the mouth of the Rhône river. The city covers an area of 241 km2 (93 sq mi) and had a population of 852,516 in 2012. Its metropolitan area, which extends over 3,173 km2 (1,225 sq mi) is the third-largest in France after Paris and Lyon, with a population of 1,831,500 as of 2010.
Known to the ancient Greeks and Romans as Massalia (Greek: Μασσαλία, Massalía), Marseille was an important European trading centre and remains the main commercial port of the French Republic. Marseille is now France's largest city on the Mediterranean coast and the largest port for commerce, freight and cruise ships. The city was European Capital of Culture in 2013 and European Capital of Sport in 2017; it hosted matches at the 1998 World Cup and Euro 2016. It is home to Aix-Marseille University.
Actibus immensis urbs fulget massiliensis
"The city of Marseille shines from its great achievements"
Location of Marseille
|• Mayor (since 1995)||Jean-Claude Gaudin (LR)|
|240.62 km2 (92.90 sq mi)|
| • Urban|
|1,731.91 km2 (668.69 sq mi)|
| • Metro|
|3,173.51 km2 (1,225.30 sq mi)|
|• Rank||2nd after Paris|
|• Density||3,600/km2 (9,400/sq mi)|
| • Urban|
| • Metro|
|Time zone||UTC+01:00 (CET)|
|• Summer (DST)||UTC+02:00 (CEST)|
|Dialling codes||0491 or 0496|
|1 French Land Register data, which excludes lakes, ponds, glaciers > 1 km2 (0.386 sq mi or 247 acres) and river estuaries. 2 Population without double counting: residents of multiple communes (e.g., students and military personnel) only counted once.|
Marseille is the second-largest city in France after Paris and the centre of the third-largest metropolitan area in France after Paris and Lyon. To the east, starting in the small fishing village of Callelongue on the outskirts of Marseille and stretching as far as Cassis, are the Calanques, a rugged coastal area interspersed with small fjord-like inlets. Farther east still are the Sainte-Baume (a 1,147 m (3,763 ft) mountain ridge rising from a forest of deciduous trees), the city of Toulon and the French Riviera. To the north of Marseille, beyond the low Garlaban and Etoile mountain ranges, is the 1,011 m (3,317 ft) Mont Sainte Victoire. To the west of Marseille is the former artists' colony of l'Estaque; farther west are the Côte Bleue, the Gulf of Lion and the Camargue region in the Rhône delta. The airport lies to the north west of the city at Marignane on the Étang de Berre.
The city's main thoroughfare (the wide boulevard called the Canebière) stretches eastward from the Old Port to the Réformés quarter. Two large forts flank the entrance to the Old Port—Fort Saint-Nicolas on the south side and Fort Saint-Jean on the north. Farther out in the Bay of Marseille is the Frioul archipelago which comprises four islands, one of which, If, is the location of Château d'If, made famous by the Dumas novel The Count of Monte Cristo. The main commercial centre of the city intersects with the Canebière at Rue St Ferréol and the Centre Bourse (one of the city's main shopping malls). The centre of Marseille has several pedestrianised zones, most notably Rue St Ferréol, Cours Julien near the Music Conservatory, the Cours Honoré-d'Estienne-d'Orves off the Old Port and the area around the Hôtel de Ville. To the south east of central Marseille in the 6th arrondissement are the Prefecture and the monumental fountain of Place Castellane, an important bus and metro interchange. To the south west are the hills of the 7th and 8th arrondissements, dominated by the basilica of Notre-Dame de la Garde. Marseille's main railway station—Gare de Marseille Saint-Charles—is north of the Centre Bourse in the 1st arrondissement; it is linked by the Boulevard d'Athènes to the Canebière.
Marseille has a hot Mediterranean climate (Köppen Csa) with mild, humid winters and warm to hot, mostly dry summers. December, January, and February are the coldest months, averaging temperatures of around 12 °C (54 °F) during the day and 4 °C (39 °F) at night. July and August are the hottest months, averaging temperatures of around 28–30 °C (82–86 °F) during the day and 19 °C (66 °F) at night in the Marignane airport (35 km (22 mi) from Marseille) but in the city near the sea the average high temperature is 27 °C (81 °F) in July.
Marseille is officially the sunniest major city in France with over 2,900 hours of sunshine while the average sunshine in France is around 1,950 hours. It is also the driest major city with only 512 mm (20 in) of precipitation annually, especially thanks to the Mistral, a cold, dry wind originating in the Rhône Valley that occurs mostly in winter and spring and which generally brings clear skies and sunny weather to the region. Less frequent is the Sirocco, a hot, sand-bearing wind, coming from the Sahara Desert. Snowfalls are infrequent; over 50% of years do not experience a single snowfall.
The hottest temperature was 40.6 °C (105.1 °F) on 26 July 1983 during a great heat wave, the lowest temperature was −14.3 °C (6.3 °F) on 13 February 1929 during a strong cold wave.
|Climate data for Marignane (Aéroport Marseille Provence) (1981–2010 averages, record highs and lows 1921–present)|
|Record high °C (°F)||19.9
|Average high °C (°F)||11.4
|Daily mean °C (°F)||7.1
|Average low °C (°F)||2.9
|Record low °C (°F)||−12.4
|Average precipitation mm (inches)||48.0
|Average precipitation days (≥ 1.0 mm)||5.3||4.5||3.9||6.1||4.5||3.0||1.3||2.7||4.5||6.1||5.9||5.5||53.2|
|Average snowy days||0.9||0.4||0.1||0.0||0.0||0.0||0.0||0.0||0.0||0.0||0.2||0.2||1.7|
|Average relative humidity (%)||75||72||67||65||64||63||59||62||69||74||75||77||68.5|
|Mean monthly sunshine hours||145.1||173.7||238.7||244.5||292.9||333.4||369.1||327.4||258.6||187.1||152.5||134.9||2,857.8|
|Source #1: Météo France|
|Source #2: Infoclimat.fr (humidity 1961–1990)|
|Climate data for Marseille (Longchamp observatory) (1981–2003 averages, record highs and lows 1868–2003)|
|Record high °C (°F)||21.2
|Average high °C (°F)||11.8
|Daily mean °C (°F)||8.4
|Average low °C (°F)||4.9
|Record low °C (°F)||−10.5
|Average precipitation mm (inches)||51.1
|Average precipitation days (≥ 1.0 mm)||5.5||4.5||4.0||6.1||4.3||2.5||1.3||2.4||4.1||6.1||6.1||5.8||52.6|
|Source #1: Météo France|
|Source #2: Infoclimat.fr|
Marseille was originally founded circa 600 BC as the Greek colony of Massalia and populated by settlers from Phocaea (modern Foça, Turkey). It became the preeminent Greek polis in the Hellenized region of southern Gaul. The city-state sided with the Roman Republic against Carthage during the Second Punic War (218-201 BC), retaining its independence and commercial empire throughout the western Mediterranean even as Rome expanded into Western Europe and North Africa. However, the city lost its independence following the Roman Siege of Massilia in 49 BC, during Caesar's Civil War, in which Massalia sided with the exiled faction at war with Julius Caesar.
Marseille continued to prosper as a Roman city, becoming an early center of Christianity during the Western Roman Empire. The city maintained its position as a premier maritime trading hub even after its capture by the Visigoths in the 5th century AD, although the city went into decline following the sack of 739 AD by the forces of Charles Martel. It became part of the County of Provence during the 10th century, although its renewed prosperity was curtailed by the Black Death of the 14th century and sack of the city by the Crown of Aragon in 1423. The city's fortunes rebounded with the ambitious building projects of René of Anjou, Count of Provence, who strengthened the city's fortifications during the mid-15th century. During the 16th century the city hosted a naval fleet with the combined forces of the Franco-Ottoman alliance, which threatened the ports and navies of Genoa and the Holy Roman Empire.
Marseille lost a significant portion of its population during the Great Plague of Marseille in 1720, but the population had recovered by mid century. In 1792 the city became a focal point of the French Revolution and was the birthplace of France's national anthem, La Marseillaise. The Industrial Revolution and establishment of the French Empire during the 19th century allowed for further expansion of the city, although it was occupied by the German Wehrmacht in November 1942 and subsequently heavily damaged during World War II. The city has since become a major center for immigrant communities from former French colonies, such as French Algeria.
Marseille is a major French centre for trade and industry, with excellent transportation infrastructure (roads, sea port and airport). Marseille Provence Airport, is the fourth largest in France. In May 2005, the French financial magazine L'Expansion named Marseille the most dynamic of France's large cities, citing figures showing that 7,200 companies had been created in the city since 2000. Marseille is also France's second largest research centre with 3,000 research scientists within Aix Marseille University. As of 2014, the Marseille metropolitan area had a GDP amounting to $60.3 billion, or $36,127 per capita (purchasing power parity).
Historically, the economy of Marseille was dominated by its role as a port of the French Empire, linking the North African colonies of Algeria, Morocco and Tunisia with Metropolitan France. The Old Port was replaced as the main port for trade by the Port de la Joliette during the Second Empire and now contains restaurants, offices, bars and hotels and functions mostly as a private marina. The majority of the port and docks, which experienced decline in the 1970s after the oil crisis, have been recently redeveloped with funds from the European Union. Fishing remains important in Marseille and the food economy of Marseille is fed by the local catch; a daily fish market is still held on the Quai des Belges of the Old Port.
The economy of Marseille and its region is still linked to its commercial port, the first French port and the fifth European port by cargo tonnage, which lies north of the Old Port and eastern in Fos-sur-Mer. Some 45,000 jobs are linked to the port activities and it represents 4 billion euros added value to the regional economy. 100 million tons of freight pass annually through the port, 60% of which is petroleum, making it number one in France and the Mediterranean and number three in Europe. However, in the early 2000s, the growth in container traffic was being stifled by the constant strikes and social upheaval. The port is among the 20th firsts in Europe for container traffic with 1,062,408 TEU and new infrastructures have already raised the capacity to 2M TEU. Petroleum refining and shipbuilding are the principal industries, but chemicals, soap, glass, sugar, building materials, plastics, textiles, olive oil, and processed foods are also important products. Marseille is connected with the Rhône via a canal and thus has access to the extensive waterway network of France. Petroleum is shipped northward to the Paris basin by pipeline. The city also serves as France's leading centre of oil refining.
In recent years, the city has also experienced a large growth in service sector employment and a switch from light manufacturing to a cultural, high-tech economy. The Marseille region is home to thousands of companies, 90% of which are small and medium enterprises with less than 500 employees. Among the most famous ones are CMA CGM, container-shipping giant; Compagnie maritime d'expertises (Comex), world leader in sub-sea engineering and hydraulic systems; Airbus Helicopters, an Airbus division; Azur Promotel, an active real estate development company; La Provence, the local daily newspaper; RTM, Marseille's public transport company; and Société Nationale Maritime Corse Méditerranée (SNCM), a major operator in passenger, vehicle and freight transportation in the Western Mediterranean. The urban operation Euroméditerranée has developed a large offer of offices and thus Marseille hosts one of the main business district in France.
Marseille is the home of three main technopoles: Château-Gombert (technological innovations), Luminy (biotechnology) and La Belle de Mai (17,000 sq.m. of offices dedicated to multimedia activities).
The port is also an important arrival base for millions of people each year, with 2.4 million including 890,100 from cruise ships. With its beaches, history, architecture and culture (24 museums and 42 theatres), Marseille is one of the most visited cities in France, with 4.1 million visitors in 2012. Marseille is ranked 86th in the world for business tourism and events, advancing from the 150th spot one year before. The number of congress days hosted on its territory increased from 109,000 in 1996 to almost 300,000 in 2011.
They take place in three main sites, the Palais du Pharo, Palais des Congrès et des Expositions (Parc Chanot) and World Trade Center. In 2012 Marseille hosted the World Water Forum. Several urban projects have been developed to make Marseille attractive. Thus new parks, museums, public spaces and real estate projects aim to improve the city's quality of life (Parc du 26e Centenaire, Old Port of Marseille, numerous places in Euroméditerranée) to attract firms and people. Marseille municipality acts to develop Marseille as a regional nexus for entertainment in the south of France with high concentration of museums, cinemas, theatres, clubs, bars, restaurants, fashion shops, hotels, and art galleries.
Unemployment in the economy fell from 20% in 1995 to 14% in 2004. However, Marseille unemployment rate remains higher than the national average. In some parts of Marseille, youth unemployment is reported to be as high as 40%.
The city of Marseille is divided into 16 municipal arrondissements, which are themselves informally divided into 111 neighbourhoods (French: quartiers). The arrondissements are regrouped in pairs, into 8 sectors, each with a mayor and council (like the arrondissements in Paris and Lyon). Municipal elections are held every six years and are carried out by sector. There are 303 councilmembers in total, two-thirds sitting in the sector councils and one third in the city council.
The 9th arrondissement of Marseille is the largest in terms of area because it comprises parts of Calanques National Park. With a population of 89,316 (2007), the 13th arrondissement of Marseille is the most populous one.
From 1950 to the mid-1990s, Marseille was a Socialist (PS) and Communist (PCF) stronghold. Gaston Defferre (PS) was consecutively reelected six times as Mayor of Marseille from 1953 until his death in 1986. He was succeeded by Robert Vigouroux of the European Democratic and Social Rally (RDSE). Jean-Claude Gaudin of the right-wing UMP was elected Mayor of Marseille in 1995. Gaudin was reelected in 2001, 2008 and 2014.
In recent years, the Communist Party has lost most of its strength in the northern boroughs of the city, whereas the National Front has received significant support. At the last municipal election in 2014, Marseille was divided between the northern arrondissements dominated by the left (PS) and far-right (FN) and the southern part of town dominated by the right-wing (UMP). Marseille is also divided in twelve cantons, each of them sending two members to the Departmental Council of the Bouches-du-Rhône department.
|Mayor||Term start||Term end||Party|
|Jean-Baptiste-Amable Chanot||1902||1908||Progressive Republican|
|Emmanuel Allard||1908||1910||Progressive Republican|
|Jean-Baptiste-Amable Chanot||1912||1914||Progressive Republican|
|Eugène Pierre||1914||1919||Republican Independents|
|Simon Sabiani||1931||1931||Republican Independents|
|Gaston Defferre||1953||1986||SFIO, PS|
|Jean-Claude Gaudin||1995||incumbent||DL, UMP|
Because of its pre-eminence as a Mediterranean port, Marseille has always been one of the main gateways into France. This has attracted many immigrants and made Marseille a cosmopolitan melting pot. By the end of the 18th century about half the population originated from elsewhere in Provence mostly and also from southern France.
Economic conditions and political unrest in Europe and the rest of the world brought several other waves of immigrants during the 20th century: Greeks and Italians started arriving at the end of the 19th century and in the first half of the 20th century, up to 40% of the city's population was of Italian origin; Russians in 1917; Armenians in 1915 and 1923; Vietnamese in the 1920s, 1954 and after 1975; Corsicans during the 1920s and 1930s; Spanish after 1936; North Africans (both Arab and Berber) in the inter-war period; Sub-Saharan Africans after 1945; the pieds-noirs from the former French Algeria in 1962; and then from Comoros. In 2006, it was reported that 70,000 city residents were considered to be of Maghrebi origin, mostly from Algeria. The second largest group in Marseille in terms of single nationalities were from the Comoros, amounting to some 45,000 people.
Currently, over one third of the population of Marseille can trace their roots back to Italy. Marseille also has the second-largest Corsican and Armenian populations of France. Other significant communities include Maghrebis, Turks, Comorians, Chinese, and Vietnamese.
In 1999, in several arrondissements, about 40% of the young people under 18 were of Maghrebi origin (at least one immigrant parent).
Since 2013 immigrants from Eastern Europe travel to work in the city of Marseille, attracted by better job opportunities and the good climate of this Mediterranean city. The main nationalities are Romanians and Poles.
|Largest groups of foreign residents|
Major religious communities in Marseille include:
Marseille is a city that has its own unique culture and is proud of its differences from the rest of France. Today it is a regional centre for culture and entertainment with an important opera house, historical and maritime museums, five art galleries and numerous cinemas, clubs, bars and restaurants.
Marseille has a large number of theatres, including La Criée, Le Gymnase and the Théâtre Toursky. There is also an extensive arts centre in La Friche, a former match factory behind the Saint-Charles station. The Alcazar, until the 1960s a well known music hall and variety theatre, has recently been completely remodelled behind its original façade and now houses the central municipal library. Other music venues in Marseille include Le Silo (also a theatre) and GRIM.
Marseille has also been important in the arts. It has been the birthplace and home of many French writers and poets, including Victor Gélu, Valère Bernard, Pierre Bertas, Edmond Rostand and André Roussin. The small port of l'Estaque on the far end of the Bay of Marseille became a favourite haunt for artists, including Auguste Renoir, Paul Cézanne (who frequently visited from his home in Aix), Georges Braque and Raoul Dufy.
Marseille served as the European Capital of Culture for 2013 along with Košice. Marseille-Provence 2013 (MP2013) featured more than 900 cultural events held throughout Marseille and the surrounding communities. These cultural events generated more than 11 million visits. The European Capital of Culture was also the occasion to unveil more than 600 million euros in new cultural infrastructure in Marseille and its environs, including the iconic MuCEM designed by Rudy Ricciotti.
The most commonly used tarot deck takes its name from the city; it has been called the Tarot de Marseille since the 1930s—a name coined for commercial use by the French cardmaker and cartomancer Paul Marteau, owner of B–P Grimaud. Previously this deck was called Tarot italien (Italian Tarot) and even earlier it was simply called Tarot. Before being de Marseille, it was used to play the local variant of tarocchi before it became used in cartomancy at the end of the 18th century, following the trend set by Antoine Court de Gébelin. The name Tarot de Marseille (Marteau used the name ancien Tarot de Marseille) was used by contrast to other types of Tarots such as Tarot de Besançon; those names were simply associated with cities where there were many cardmakers in the 18th century (previously several cities in France were involved in cardmaking).
Another local tradition is the making of santons, small hand-crafted figurines for the traditional Provençal Christmas creche. Since 1803, starting on the last Sunday of November, there has been a Santon Fair in Marseille; it is currently held in the Cours d'Estienne d'Orves, a large square off the Vieux-Port.
Marseille's main cultural attraction was, since its creation at the end of the 18th century and until the late 1970s, the Opéra. Located near the Old Port and the Canebière, at the very heart of the city, its architectural style was comparable to the classical trend found in other opera houses built at the same time in Lyon and Bordeaux. In 1919, a fire almost completely destroyed the house, leaving only the stone colonnade and peristyle from the original façade. The classical façade was restored and the opera house reconstructed in a predominantly Art Deco style, as the result of a major competition. Currently the Opéra de Marseille stages six or seven operas each year.
There are several popular festivals in different neighborhoods, with concerts, animations, and outdoor bars, like the Fête du Panier in June. On 21 June, there are dozens of free concerts in the city as part of France's Fête de la Musique, featuring music from all over the world. Being free events, many Marseille residents attend.
Marseille hosts a Gay Pride event in early July. In 2013, Marseille hosted Europride, an international LGBT event, 10 July–20. At the beginning of July, there is the International Documentary Festival. At the end of September, the electronic music festival Marsatac takes place. In October, the Fiesta des Suds offers many concerts of world music.
Marseille is also well known in France for its hip hop music. Bands like IAM originated from Marseille and initiated the rap phenomenon in France. Other known groups include Fonky Family, Psy 4 de la Rime (including rappers Soprano and Alonzo), and Keny Arkana. In a slightly different way, ragga music is represented by Massilia Sound System.
Marseille has been the setting for many films.
The Netflix series Marseille is set in the city in the 2010s.
Marseille is listed as a major centre of art and history. The city has many museums and galleries and there are many ancient buildings and churches of historical interest.
In addition to the two in the Centre de la Vieille Charité, described above, the main museums are:
The main attractions outside the city centre include:
A number of the faculties of the three universities that comprise Aix-Marseille University are located in Marseille:
In addition Marseille has four grandes écoles:
The main French research bodies including the CNRS, INSERM and INRA are all well represented in Marseille. Scientific research is concentrated at several sites across the city, including Luminy, where there are institutes in developmental biology (the IBDML), immunology (CIML), marine sciences and neurobiology (INMED), at the CNRS Joseph Aiguier campus (a world-renowned institute of molecular and environmental microbiology) and at the Timone hospital site (known for work in medical microbiology). Marseille is also home to the headquarters of the IRD, which promotes research into questions affecting developing countries.
The city is served by an international airport, Marseille Provence Airport, located in Marignane. The airport is the fifth busiest French airport, and known the 4th most important European traffic growth in 2012. An extensive network of motorways connects Marseille to the north and west (A7), Aix-en-Provence in the north (A51), Toulon (A50) and the French Riviera (A8) to the east.
Gare de Marseille Saint-Charles is Marseille's main railway station. It operates direct regional services to Aix-en-Provence, Briançon, Toulon, Avignon, Nice, Montpellier, Toulouse, Bordeaux, Nantes, etc. Gare Saint-Charles is also one of the main terminal stations for the TGV in the south of France making Marseille reachable in three hours from Paris (a distance of over 750 km) and just over one and a half hours from Lyon. There are also direct TGV lines to Lille, Brussels, Nantes, Geneva, Strasbourg and Frankfurt as well as Eurostar services to London. In addition, the night train (Intercités de Nuit) from Luxembourg and Strasbourg stops here on its way to Nice, whereas the night train from Paris to Nice serves the Gare de Marseille-Blancarde.
There is a new long distance bus station adjacent to new modern extension to the Gare Saint-Charles with destinations mostly to other Bouches-du-Rhône towns, including buses to Aix-en-Provence, Cassis, La Ciotat and Aubagne. The city is also served with 11 other regional trains stations in the east and the north of the city.
Marseille is connected by the Marseille Métro train system operated by the Régie des transports de Marseille (RTM). It consists of two lines: Line 1 (blue) between Castellane and La Rose opened in 1977 and Line 2 (red) between Sainte-Marguerite-Dromel and Bougainville opened between 1984 and 1987. An extension of the Line 1 from Castellane to La Timone was completed in 1992, another extension from La Timone to La Fourragère (2.5 km (1.6 mi) and 4 new stations) was opened in May 2010. The Métro system operates on a turnstile system, with tickets purchased at the nearby adjacent automated booths. Both lines of the Métro intersect at Gare Saint-Charles and Castellane. Three bus rapid transit lines are under construction to better connect the Métro to farther places (Castellane -> Luminy ; Capitaine Gèze – La Cabucelle -> Vallon des Tuves ; La Rose -> Château Gombert – Saint Jérome).
As in many other French cities, a bike-sharing service nicknamed "Le vélo", free for trips of less than half an hour, was introduced by the city council in 2007.
A free ferry service operates between the two opposite quays of the Old Port. From 2011 ferry shuttle services operate between the Old Port and Pointe Rouge; in spring 2013 it will also run to l'Estaque. There are also ferry services and boat trips available from the Old Port to Frioul, the Calanques and Cassis.
The city boasts a wide variety of sports facilities and teams. The most popular team is the city's football club, Olympique de Marseille, which was the finalist of the UEFA Champions League in 1991, before winning the competition in 1993. The club also became finalists of the UEFA Europa League in 1999, 2004 and 2018. The club had a history of success under then-owner Bernard Tapie. The club's home, the Stade Vélodrome, which can seat around 67,000 people, also functions for other local sports, as well as the national rugby team. Stade Velodrome hosted a number of games during the 1998 FIFA World Cup, 2007 Rugby World Cup, and UEFA Euro 2016. The local rugby teams are Marseille XIII and Marseille Vitrolles Rugby. Marseille is famous for its important pétanque activity, it is even renowned as the pétanque capitale. In 2012 Marseille hosted the Pétanque World Championship and the city hosts every year the Mondial la Marseillaise de pétanque, the main pétanque competition.
Sailing is a major sport in Marseille. The wind conditions allow regattas in the warm waters of the Mediterranean. Throughout most seasons of the year it can be windy while the sea remains smooth enough to allow sailing. Marseille has been the host of 8 (2010) Match Race France events which are part of the World Match Racing Tour. The event draws the world's best sailing teams to Marseille. The identical supplied boats (J Boats J-80 racing yachts) are raced two at a time in an on the water dogfight which tests the sailors and skippers to the limits of their physical abilities. Points accrued count towards the World Match Racing Tour and a place in the final event, with the overall winner taking the title ISAF World Match Racing Tour Champion. Match racing is an ideal sport for spectators in Marseille, as racing in close proximity to the shore provides excellent views. The city was also considered as a possible venue for 2007 America's Cup.
Marseille is also a place for other water sports such as windsurfing and powerboating. Marseille has three golf courses. The city has dozens of gyms and several public swimming pools. Running is also popular in many of Marseille's parks such as Le Pharo and Le Jardin Pierre Puget. An annual footrace is held between the city and neighbouring Cassis: the Marseille-Cassis Classique Internationale.
Marseille was the birthplace of:
The following personalities died in Marseille:
In addition, Marseille has signed various types of formal agreements of cooperation with 27 cities all over the world:
panisso, made either of chick-pea or maize flour, boiled into a sort of mush, then allowed to cool and become more solid, when it is fried.
The 1992–93 UEFA Champions League was the 38th European Cup, the premier European club football tournament, and the first season with the UEFA Champions League logo (originally adopted only in the group stage).
It was the second season of the competition in which the eight second round winners would be split into two groups, with the winner of each one meeting in the final. In addition, a preliminary round was required as this was the first season after the break-up of the Soviet Union and Yugoslavia, resulting in a large number of new countries eligible to enter the champions of their own leagues into the competition. Israel and the Faroe Islands were also represented for the first time.
The tournament was won for the first time by Marseille, defeating Milan in the final. However, soon after Marseille's victory allegations of match fixing were levelled at them and their president Bernard Tapie. This involved a league game where Marseille, it emerged, had fixed their title-clinching Division 1 game against Valenciennes so they could concentrate on the Milan tie. It is believed that Tapie bribed Valenciennes to lose so that Marseille would win the French league earlier, giving them more time to prepare for the European Cup final. This resulted in Marseille being stripped of their league title by the French Football Federation (although not the European Cup, as the match in question was not in that competition). They were banned from defending their European title in the 1993–94 season, and contesting the Intercontinental Cup and Super Cup. In 1994, Marseille were also relegated to the Division 2.
Barcelona, the defending champions, were eliminated in the second round by CSKA Moscow.1993 UEFA Champions League Final
The 1993 UEFA Champions League Final was a football match between French club Marseille and Italian club Milan, played on 26 May 1993 at the Olympiastadion in Munich.
The final, which followed the second-ever UEFA Champions League group stage, saw Ivorian-born Marseille defender Basile Boli score the only goal of the match in the 43rd minute with a header to give l'OM their first European Cup title. It was the first time a French team had won the European Cup. No French side – apart from Monaco-based AS Monaco, which played in French league system – has gone to the final since, let alone won the trophy.
Marseille and their club president Bernard Tapie would later be found to have been involved in a match-fixing scandal during the 1992–93 season (in which Marseille allegedly paid Valenciennes to lose a match), which saw them relegated to Division 2 and banned from participation in European football for the following season. As the scandal affected only French league matches, Marseille's status as 1993 European champion was not affected.Aix-Marseille University
Aix-Marseille University (AMU; French: Aix-Marseille Université; formally incorporated as Université d'Aix-Marseille) is a public research university located in Provence, southern France. It was founded in 1409 when Louis II of Anjou, Count of Provence, petitioned the Pisan Antipope Alexander V to establish the University of Provence. The university as it is today was formed by the merger of the University of Provence, the University of the Mediterranean and Paul Cézanne University. The merger became effective on 1 January 2012, resulting in the creation of the largest university in the French-speaking world, with about 74,000 students. AMU has the largest budget of any academic institution in the Francophone world, standing at €750 million.The university is organized around five main campuses situated in Aix-en-Provence and Marseille. Apart from its major campuses, AMU owns and operates facilities in Arles, Aubagne, Avignon, Digne-les-Bains, Gap, La Ciotat, Lambesc and Salon-de-Provence. The university is headquartered at the Pharo, Marseille.AMU has produced many notable alumni in the fields of law, politics, business, science, academia, and arts. To date, there have been four Nobel Prize laureates amongst its alumni and faculty, as well as a two-time recipient of the Pulitzer Prize, four César Award winners, multiple heads of state or government, parliamentary speakers, government ministers, ambassadors and members of the constituent academies of the Institut de France.
AMU has hundreds of research and teaching partnerships, including close collaboration with the French National Centre for Scientific Research (CNRS) and the French Alternative Energies and Atomic Energy Commission (CEA). AMU is a member of numerous academic organisations including the European University Association (EUA) and the Mediterranean Universities Union (UNIMED).Didier Deschamps
Didier Claude Deschamps (French pronunciation: [didje deʃɑ̃]; born 15 October 1968) is a French retired footballer who has been manager of the France national team since 2012. He played as a defensive midfielder for several clubs, in France, Italy, England and Spain, such as Marseille, Juventus, Chelsea and Valencia, as well as Nantes and Bordeaux. Nicknamed "the water-carrier" by former France teammate Eric Cantona, Deschamps was an intelligent and hard-working defensive midfielder who excelled at winning back possession and subsequently starting attacking plays, and also stood out for his leadership throughout his career. As a French international, he was capped on 103 occasions and took part at three UEFA European Football Championships and one FIFA World Cup, captaining his nation to victories in the 1998 World Cup and Euro 2000.
In addition to winning two Ligue 1 titles in 1991 and 1992, Deschamps was part of the Marseille squad that became the first, and so far only, French club to win the UEFA Champions League, a feat which the team achieved in 1993; with the Champions League victory, Deschamps became the youngest captain ever to lead his team to win the title. With Juventus he played three Champions League finals in a row between 1996 and 1998, winning the title in 1996. With the Turin side, he also won the UEFA Super Cup and the Intercontinental Cup, as well as three Serie A titles, among other trophies. With Chelsea, he won the 1999–2000 FA Cup, and also reached another Champions League final with Valencia in 2001, before retiring later that season. After Franz Beckenbauer and followed by Iker Casillas, he was only the second captain in the history of football to have lifted the Champions League trophy, the World Cup trophy, and the European Championship trophy.As a manager, Deschamps began his career with Monaco, and helped the club to win the Coupe de la Ligue in 2003, and reached the 2004 UEFA Champions League Final, being named Ligue 1 Manager of the Year in 2004. During the 2006–07 season, he helped his former club Juventus win the Serie B title and return to Serie A following their relegation due to their involvement in the 2006 Calciopoli Scandal the previous season. He subsequently managed another one of his former clubs, Marseille, where he won the Ligue 1 title during the 2009–10 season, as well as three consecutive Coupe de la Ligue titles between 2010 and 2012, and consecutive Trophée des Champions titles in 2010 and 2011. On 8 July 2012, Deschamps was named as the new manager of the French national team, leading the team to the quarter-finals of the 2014 FIFA World Cup, the final of UEFA Euro 2016, and he won the final of 2018 FIFA World Cup beating Croatia 4–2. After France's victory at the 2018 FIFA World Cup, Deschamps became the third man to win the World Cup as both a player and a manager; alongside Mário Zagallo and Franz Beckenbauer, following Beckenbauer as only the second to do so as captain.Dimitri Payet
Dimitri Payet (French pronunciation: [dimitʁi pajɛt]; born 29 March 1987) is a French professional footballer who plays for Ligue 1 club Olympique de Marseille and the France national team. A set-piece specialist, known for his accurate, bending free kicks, he primarily plays as an attacking midfielder, and is described as a player who is "blessed with terrific technique and dribbling skills".Payet was born on the French island of Réunion in the Indian Ocean, where he began his career playing for local clubs Saint-Philippe and Saint-Pierroise. In 1999, he moved to metropolitan France, joining Le Havre. Payet spent four years at the club before returning home to spend two years playing for AS Excelsior in the Réunion Premier League. In 2005, he joined FC Nantes and, after a successful 2006–07 season, joined AS Saint-Étienne on a four-year contract. With Saint-Étienne, Payet played in European competition for the first time after featuring in the 2008–09 edition of the UEFA Europa League. In the 2010–11 season, he won the UNFP Player of the Month award for September after scoring three goals and helping Saint-Étienne reach first place in the league table. Following the season, in June 2011, Payet joined the defending champions Lille signing a four-year contract. He had two years there and a further two at Olympique de Marseille before moving abroad to join West Ham United. In 2017 he moved back to France to join his old team, Marseille.
Payet is a French international. From 2007 to 2008, he represented his country at under-21 level, making eleven appearances and scoring four goals. In 2010, he was called up to the senior team by manager Laurent Blanc for the first time. Payet made his international debut on 9 October 2010 in a UEFA Euro 2012 qualifying match against Romania, appearing as a substitute. He was a member of the French squad that reached the final of UEFA Euro 2016.Franck Ribéry
Franck Henry Pierre Ribéry (French pronunciation: [fʁɑ̃k ʁibeʁi]; born 7 April 1983) is a French professional footballer who plays for German club Bayern Munich. He is a former France national team player. He primarily plays as a winger, preferably on the left side although being right-footed, and is known for pace, energy, skill and precise passing. Ribéry is described as a player who is fast, tricky and an excellent dribbler, who has great control with the ball at his feet. Since joining Bayern, he has been recognised on the world stage as one of the best French players of his generation. The previous talisman of the French national team, Zinedine Zidane, has called Ribéry the "jewel of French football".Ribéry's career began in 1989 as a youth player for local hometown club Conti Boulogne. He left the club after seven years to join professional outfit Lille, but departed the club after three years after having difficulties adjusting. In 1999, Ribéry joined US Boulogne, where he played for two years. After spending two more years in the amateur divisions with two clubs (Alès and Brest), in 2004, Ribéry earned a move to Ligue 1 club FC Metz. After six months with the club, Ribéry moved to Turkey in January 2005 to join Galatasaray, where he won the Turkish Cup. After six months at Galatasaray, he departed the club in controversial fashion in order to return to France to join Marseille. Ribéry spent two seasons at the club, helping the Marseillais reach the final of the Coupe de France in back-to-back seasons. In 2007, Ribéry joined German club Bayern Munich for a then club-record fee of €25 million. With Bayern, he has won eight Bundesliga titles, five DFB-Pokal, one UEFA Champions League and one FIFA Club World Cup, which include four doubles and one treble. His form for Bayern in the club's 2012–13 treble winning season saw him nominated alongside Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo on the three-man shortlist for the 2013 FIFA Ballon d'Or.
Between 2006 and 2014, Ribéry represented the France national football team 81 times. Ribéry has represented his nation at two FIFA World Cups (2006, 2010) and two UEFA European Championships (2008, 2012). He made his international debut in May 2006 against Mexico. At the 2006 World Cup, Ribéry scored his first international goal against Spain and played in the final match against Italy.
Individually, Ribéry is a three-time winner of the French Player of the Year award and has also won the German Footballer of the Year becoming the first player to hold both honours. He has also been named to the UEFA Team of the Year and declared the Young Player of the Year in France. In 2013, Ribéry won the UEFA Best Player in Europe Award. In 2013, he was also ranked fourth in The Guardian's list of the best players in the world.Hans-Joachim Marseille
Hans-Joachim Walter Rudolf Siegfried Marseille (13 December 1919 – 30 September 1942) was a German fighter pilot during World War II. A flying ace, he is noted for his aerial battles during the North African Campaign. All but seven of his 158 claimed victories were against the British Desert Air Force over North Africa. No other pilot claimed as many Western Allied aircraft as Marseille.Marseille joined the Luftwaffe, in 1938. At the age of 20 he participated in the Battle of Britain, without notable success. As a result of poor discipline, he was transferred to another unit (JG 27), which relocated to North Africa in April 1941.
Under the guidance of his new commander, Marseille quickly developed his abilities as a fighter pilot. He reached the zenith of his career on 1 September 1942, when during the course of three combat sorties he claimed 17 Allied aircraft. For this he received the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves, Swords and Diamonds. A month later, Marseille was killed in a flying accident after his aircraft suffered engine failure. Forced to abandon his fighter, Marseille struck its vertical stabiliser and was either killed instantly or incapacitated and unable to open his parachute.Hatem Ben Arfa
Hatem Ben Arfa (Arabic: حاتم بن عرفة, French pronunciation: [atɛm bɛnaʁfa]; born 7 March 1987) is a French footballer who plays as a winger and an attacking midfielder, for Ligue 1 club Rennes and the France national team. Known for his dribbling ability, he has been described as "one of the best-rated talents in France", but has been criticised by the media and players alike for lacking discipline.Ben Arfa's career started in the Île-de-France region, where he trained at AC Boulogne-Billancourt and Versailles. In 1999, he was selected to attend the Clairefontaine academy. He spent three years there before leaving for Lyon, where he won four Ligue 1 titles. In his early career at Lyon, he played as a centre forward, but moved into a winger role during the 2007–08 season. In the summer of 2008, Ben Arfa signed with rivals Marseille for €11 million in a move that required the intervention of the Ligue de Football Professionnel. With Marseille, he won the 2009–10 league title, his fifth overall, as well as the Coupe de la Ligue in 2010. After two years at Marseille, Ben Arfa joined English club Newcastle United on loan for the 2010–11 season. The deal was made permanent later in the season.Ben Arfa spent four years at Newcastle, with a loan spell at Hull City in his final season at the club. He signed for Nice in January 2015, but was unable to make his debut until August, having already represented Newcastle United Reserves and Hull City the previous season. He scored seventeen goals in thirty-two league appearances for Nice, attracting the interest of several European clubs, and signed for Paris Saint-Germain on 1 July 2016.
Ben Arfa is a former French youth international and has played at all levels for France. At the under-17 level, he was a part of the team that won the 2004 UEFA European Under-17 Championship. Ben Arfa was called up to the senior team for the first time in October 2007 for a UEFA Euro 2008 qualifying match against the Faroe Islands. He has made fifteen appearances for France, scoring twice.La Marseillaise
"La Marseillaise" (French pronunciation: [la maʁsɛjɛːz]) is the national anthem of France. The song was written in 1792 by Claude Joseph Rouget de Lisle in Strasbourg after the declaration of war by France against Austria, and was originally titled "Chant de guerre pour l'Armée du Rhin" ("War Song for the Rhine Army").
The French National Convention adopted it as the Republic's anthem in 1795. The song acquired its nickname after being sung in Paris by volunteers from Marseille marching to the capital. The song is the first example of the "European march" anthemic style. The anthem's evocative melody and lyrics have led to its widespread use as a song of revolution and its incorporation into many pieces of classical and popular music.Ligue 1
Ligue 1 , also called Ligue 1 Conforama for sponsorship reasons with Conforama, is a French professional league for men's association football clubs. At the top of the French football league system, it is the country's primary football competition. Administrated by the Ligue de Football Professionnel, Ligue 1 is contested by 20 clubs and operates on a system of promotion and relegation with Ligue 2.
Seasons run from August to May. Teams play 38 matches each (playing each team in the league twice, home and away), totaling 38 matches in the season. Most games are played on Saturdays and Sundays, with a few games played during weekday evenings. Play is regularly suspended the last weekend before Christmas for two weeks before returning in the second week of January. Ligue 1 is one of the top national leagues, currently ranked fifth in Europe behind Spain's La Liga, England's Premier League, Italy's Serie A and Germany's Bundesliga.Ligue 1 was inaugurated on 11 September 1932 under the name National before switching to Division 1 after a year of existence. The name lasted until 2002 before switching to its current name. AS Saint-Étienne is the most successful club with ten league titles in France while Olympique Lyonnais is the club that has won the most consecutive titles (seven between 2002 and 2008). With the presence of 69 seasons in Ligue 1, Olympique de Marseille hold the record for most seasons among the elite, while Paris Saint-Germain hold the league record for longevity with 45 consecutive seasons (from 1974 until at least 2019). The current champions are Paris Saint-Germain, who won their seventh title in the 2017–18 season. The league has been won on multiple occasions by foreign-based club AS Monaco, which makes the league a cross-border competition.Marcelo Bielsa
Marcelo Alberto Bielsa Caldera (Spanish pronunciation: [maɾˈselo alˈβeɾto ˈβjelsa], nicknamed Loco Bielsa [ˈloko ˈβjelsa], English: Madman Bielsa; born 21 July 1955) is an Argentine football manager, currently in charge of English side Leeds United.Bielsa has managed several football clubs and also the national teams of Argentina and Chile. He developed his career as coach of Newell's Old Boys, leading that team to several wins in the early 1990s, then moved to Mexico in 1992, briefly coaching Club Atlas and Club América. Bielsa returned to Argentina in 1997 to manage Vélez Sarsfield. With Chile, he achieved cult status due to the improved results of the national team under his leadership. His personality and gestures during his stint in Chile captured the attention of media and unleashed a series of minor controversies both in sports and politics. He had a two year-spell in Spain at Athletic Bilbao between 2011 and 2013, leading them to domestic and continental cup finals in the first season, though losing both. On 8 August 2015, Bielsa resigned as coach of Marseille after just over a year at the French club.
On 15 June 2018 he was appointed manager of Leeds United.Marseille-en-Beauvaisis
Marseille-en-Beauvaisis is a commune in the Oise department in northern France.Marseille Provence Airport
Marseille Provence Airport or Aéroport de Marseille Provence (IATA: MRS, ICAO: LFML) is an international airport located 27 km (17 miles) northwest of Marseille, on the territory of Marignane, both communes of the Bouches-du-Rhône département in the Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur région of France. The airport's hinterland goes from Gap to Arles and from Toulon to Avignon.
It is the fifth busiest French airport by passenger traffic and third largest for cargo traffic. In 2012 the airport achieved the fourth highest European passenger traffic growth, at 12.7% with 8,295,479 passengers. Marseille Provence Airport serves as a focus city for Air France. In summer 2013, the airport served 132 regular destinations, the largest offer in France after the Parisian airports.Michy Batshuayi
Michy Batshuayi-Atunga (French pronunciation: [mi(t)ʃi batʃu.a.(j)i]; born 2 October 1993) is a Belgian professional footballer who plays as a striker for La Liga club Valencia on loan from Chelsea, and for the Belgium national team.
He began his professional career at Standard Liège in 2011, scoring 44 goals in 120 games across all competitions. His 21 goals in the 2013–14 Belgian Pro League made him the second-highest scorer and contributed to his Ebony Shoe Award. He then transferred to Marseille for £4.5 million, helping them reach the 2016 Coupe de France Final. In July 2016, he was signed by Chelsea for £33 million, and scored the goal that won the Premier League title in his debut season.
Batshuayi scored in his international debut for Belgium against Cyprus in March 2015. He was part of their side that reached the quarter-finals of UEFA Euro 2016 and third place at the 2018 FIFA World Cup.Olympique de Marseille
Olympique de Marseille (French pronunciation: [ɔlɛ̃pik də maʁsɛj], locally [ɔlɛ̃pikə də mɑχsɛjə]), also known as OM (IPA: [o.ɛm], locally [o.ɛmə]) or simply Marseille, is a French football club in Marseille.
Founded in 1899, the club play in Ligue 1 and have spent most of their history in the top tier of French football. The club has won ten official league titles (nine times in Ligue 1), ten Coupes de France and three Coupes de la Ligue. In 1993, coach Raymond Goethals led the team to become the first and only French club to win the UEFA Champions League, defeating AC Milan 1–0 in the final. In 2010, Marseille won its first Ligue 1 title in 18 years under the managing of former club captain Didier Deschamps.Marseille's home ground is the 67,000-capacity Stade Vélodrome in the southern part of the city, where they have played since 1937. The club has a large fan-base, having regularly averaged the highest attendance in French football. Marseille's average home gate for the 2008–09 season was 52,276, the highest in Ligue 1. The stadium underwent renovation in 2011, going from its previous capacity of 60,031 to 42,000. Following completion in August 2014, the final capacity increased to 67,000 ahead of France's hosting of UEFA Euro 2016. In 2015, the club was ranked 23rd globally in terms of annual revenue, generating €130.5 million.In 1997, Marseille was purchased by Franco-Swiss businessman Robert Louis-Dreyfus. Following his death in 2009, his widow Margarita became the club's majority shareholder in 2010. In 2016, American businessman Frank McCourt bought the club from her, and appointed businessman Jacques-Henri Eyraud as the club president, with Rudi Garcia appointed as the manager of the club's first team.Provence
Provence (, US: ; French: [pʁɔvɑ̃s]; Provençal: Provença in classical norm or Prouvènço in Mistralian norm, pronounced [pʀuˈvɛnsɔ]) is a geographical region and historical province of southeastern France, which extends from the left bank of the lower Rhône River to the west to the Italian border to the east, and is bordered by the Mediterranean Sea to the south. It largely corresponds with the modern administrative région of Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur, and includes the départements of Var, Bouches-du-Rhône, Alpes-de-Haute-Provence and parts of Alpes-Maritimes and Vaucluse. The largest city of the region is Marseille.
The Romans made the region the first Roman province beyond the Alps and called it Provincia Romana, which evolved into the present name. Until 1481 it was ruled by the Counts of Provence from their capital in Aix-en-Provence, then became a province of the Kings of France. While it has been part of France for more than five hundred years, it still retains a distinct cultural and linguistic identity, particularly in the interior of the region.Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur
Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur (French pronunciation: [pʁɔvɑ̃s alp kot dazyʁ]; Occitan: Provença-Aups-Còsta d'Azur; Italian: Provenza-Alpi-Costa Azzurra; PACA) is one of the 18 administrative regions of France. Its capital is Marseille. The region is roughly coterminous with the former French province of Provence, with the addition of the following adjacent areas: the former papal territory of Avignon, known as Comtat Venaissin; the former Sardinian-Piedmontese county of Nice, whose coastline is known in English as the French Riviera, and in French as the Côte d'Azur; and the southeastern part of the former French province of Dauphiné, in the French Alps. 4,935,576 people live in the region according to the 2012 census.
It encompasses six departments in Southeastern France: Alpes-de-Haute-Provence, Alpes-Maritimes, Bouches-du-Rhône, Hautes-Alpes, Var and Vaucluse. It is bounded to the east by the France-Italy border, to the south by the Mediterranean Sea and by the Principality of Monaco, to the north by Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes, and to the west by Occitanie, with the Rhône river marking its westernmost border.
The region logotype displays the coat of arms created in the 1990s and which combines the coats of arms of the old provinces making up Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur. Economically the region is the third most important in France, just behind Île-de-France and Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes. Its GDP in 2012 was €142.4 billion (US $183.1 billion) while its per capita GDP was €28,861 ($US 37,121).Samir Nasri
Samir Nasri (born 26 June 1987) is a French professional footballer who plays for Premier League club West Ham United. He primarily plays as an attacking midfielder and a winger, although he has also been deployed in central midfield. He was suspended from football for eighteen months until January 2019 following a doping violation.
Nasri is known for his dribbling, ball control and passing ability. He is described as a player whose "vision and imagination make him an unpredictable opponent". His playing style, ability and cultural background have drawn comparisons to French legend Zinedine Zidane.Nasri began his football career playing for local youth clubs in his hometown Marseille. At age nine, he joined professional club Olympique de Marseille and spent the next seven years developing in the club's youth academy at La Commanderie, the club's training centre. In the 2004–05 season, he made his professional debut in September 2004 at age 17 against Sochaux. In the following season, he became a regular starter in the team and also participated in European competition for the first time after playing in the 2005–06 edition of the UEFA Cup. In the 2006–07 campaign, Nasri won the National Union of Professional Footballers (UNFP) Young Player of the Year award and was also named to the Team of the Year. He finished his career with Marseille amassing over 160 appearances. He played in the teams that reached back-to-back Coupe de France finals in 2006 and 2007.
In June 2008, Nasri joined Premier League club Arsenal on a four-year contract. He reached prominence with the team in his third season winning the Professional Footballers' Association (PFA) Fans' Player of the Month award on three occasions and being named to the association's Team of the Year. In December 2010, he was named the French Player of the Year for his performances during the calendar year. In August 2011, after three seasons with Arsenal, Nasri joined Manchester City on a four-year contract. In his first season with the club, he won his first major honour as a player as the club won the 2011–12 Premier League.
Nasri is a former France youth international and has represented his nation at every level for which he was eligible. Prior to playing for the senior team, he played on the under-17 team that won the 2004 UEFA European Under-17 Championship. Nasri made his senior international debut in March 2007 in a friendly match against Austria. Two months later, he scored his first senior international goal in a 1–0 UEFA Euro 2008 qualifying win over Georgia. Nasri has represented France at two major international tournaments: UEFA Euro 2008 and Euro 2012.Stade Vélodrome
The Stade Vélodrome (French pronunciation: [stad velɔdʁom]), known for sponsorship reasons as the Orange Vélodrome, is a multi-purpose stadium in Marseille, France. It is home to the Olympique de Marseille football club of Ligue 1 since it opened in 1937, and was a venue in the 1998 FIFA World Cup, the 2007 Rugby World Cup and the UEFA Euro 2016. It occasionally hosts RC Toulon rugby club of the Top 14. It is the largest club football ground in France, with a capacity of 67,344 spectators. The stadium is also used regularly by the France national rugby union team.
The record attendance for a club game before renovation at the Stade Vélodrome was 58,897 (for a UEFA Cup semi-final against Newcastle United in 2004). Since expansion to 67,394, the record attendance at the ground now stands at 65,252 for the match vs rivals PSG that occurred on February 26, 2017. The stadium was also featured as a FIFA World Cup venue when the 1938 finals were held in France. The first-ever match to be played was between Marseille and Torino in 1937.
The French rugby union team began an impressive run of victories at the stadium in the early 2000s. They defeated New Zealand 42–33 in November 2000, and in 2001 defeated Australia by one point. They beat South Africa in 2002, followed by a win over England in 2003. However, their run of luck was broken in 2004 when they lost 14–24 to Argentina. The venue was used by France for a game against New Zealand in November 2009. In 2018, the stadium hosted its first Six Nations match with France hosting Italy.
France is not the only rugby team to have used the Vélodrome in recent years. On 18 April 2009, Toulon took their home fixture in the Top 14 against Toulouse to the Vélodrome, drawing 57,039 spectators to see a 14–6 Toulon win which played a key role in the Toulonnais' successful fight against relegation in the 2008–09 season. Toulon has taken two home matches to the Vélodrome in each of the succeeding two seasons. The Vélodrome was also the venue for both semi-finals in the 2010–11 Top 14 season, and was used for the Toulon v Munster semi-final of the 2013–14 Heineken Cup.