City Style: Marseille
Saying that Marseille is undergoing a reinvention is a patent understatement. The seaport, founded by Greeks in about 600 BC, has labored under a gritty, roustabout reputation for centuries, an impression furthered by its famous landmark Château d’If, the ominous 16th-century island prison immortalized in The Count of Monte Cristo. But Marseille’s blue-collar, melting-pot history as a gateway to Europe makes the city all the more interesting. The announcement in 2009 that it had been chosen as a European Capital of Culture for 2013 kicked off an unprecedented transformation that is still ongoing. The Euroméditerranée development operation was formed to mastermind the $7.6 billion alteration of much of the city core, bringing in some of the world’s foremost architects and reimagining what the port could be for its inhabitants and visitors. Impressive new complexes for artists, businesses, residents, and shops—not to mention 300 days of annual sunshine—make Marseille a worthy place for exploring, and for studying urban renewal.
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