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Marseille Travel Guide

Marseille History and Culture: Information Tourism

Aaron Ellis
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Marseille History and Culture. Information Tourism. Vacation Packages. Marseille’s population, drawn from all parts of the Mediterranean and from elsewhere in Europe and Africa, has always been mixed, so that it has never been possible to talk of a “typical” Marseillais. In 1880, for example, more than one in six of the inhabitants of the city was foreign. New residents have created a diverse pattern, sometimes concentrated in certain districts, such as the Muslim quarter that grew up during the 1970s north of La Canebière, and sometimes specializing in particular trades or professions. Certain groups Jews, Greeks, Armenians have their own community leaderships, which have semiofficial recognition. Former colonials have had a strong impact on the community, and Marseille has always attracted Corsicans (including the Bonaparte family during the French Revolution). Manual labour is increasingly performed by North Africans or Africans who arrive from former colonies. There are marked social contrasts within the city. La Canebière forms an approximate dividing line between the working-class, often run-down areas of the north and the more affluent and salubrious districts of the south.