The city was first established by the Greeks, as Massalia, in about 600 BC, and was one of the major trading ports of the ancient world.
Today, Marseille is known as a seaport, as a seaside vacation spot, and for its history, architecture, and arts scene.
People Born in Marseille
Marseille in People's Lives
Gustave Flaubert: I set off for a voyage to "the Orient," or, the Middle East and Egypt, from this city in 1849, at the age of 27. I said an emotional goodbye to my mother at the docks.
Joseph Conrad: I was sent here by my uncle in October of 1874, at the age of 16, for a planned career at sea. I was quite excited, having been dreaming of becoming a sailor for years. Though I had not completed secondary school and had never been a particularly great student, the studies and intellectual accomplishments that I had completed were enough to impress maritime employers and earn me a decent job. I spoke fluent French, and comprehensive Greek, Latin and German, and displayed knowledge in history, geography, physics, and literature. I was posted on various ships under various different captains, quickly learning the way of the sea. However, I was unaware, as was my uncle, when I came here, that as a result of my living in France, I would not be allowed to return to my native Poland for years, as I was officially a Russian citizen who had never been legally granted rights to live abroad. In 1878, I had fallen into heavy debt and became severely depressed. I attempted suicide in March, shooting myself in the chest with a revolver, but made a full recovery. My uncle and I worked, through letters back and forth to each other, toward me gaining citizenship elsewhere. The ultimate prize was considered to be Britain, as I wanted to join the British merchant marines. My uncle and I never considered French citizenship, as it would require a mandatory military service. I sought to be made a citizen in Switzerland, or the United States. I was finally made a British citizen in 1886, and moved to London.
Keira Knightley: I married by my husband James just outside this city in May of 2013, at a very small private ceremony of only 11 people. I wore a simple white gown with a Chanel jacket, and a flower garland.
Liam Neeson: I traveled here in 2002 to film scenes of the movie Love Actually.
Mary Todd Lincoln: I visited this city in 1877, on my second European trip.
Walt Disney: After a magical year in France, a country that I had fallen in love with, I decided in August 1919 to put in my discharge, and awaited my ship home from this city. However, France didn't seem ready to let go of me yet, and there was a dock-strike right before my ship was scheduled to sail, leaving me delayed and still in France for another 23 days. I took advantage of the time by taking streetcars from this city to nearby towns daily and sketching.