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Posted by motoman 04/13/2009 @ 11:15

Tags : marseille, france, europe, world

News headlines
French title race decided in final game - USA Today
By Jerome Pugmire, AP Sports Writer PARIS — The French title race between Bordeaux and Marseille is down to the final game and could be decided by Caen striker Steve Savidan, whose team needs to beat the leader Bordeaux on Saturday to ensure it stays...
Olympique Marseille Want To Get Rid Of Djibril Cisse -
The latest comments from Olympique Marseille sporting director Jose Anigo suggest they would be all too happy to offload Djibril Cisse once and for all. The French international striker has never been shy to admit that he has ambitions beyond OM,...
Blackburn Favourites To Sign Olympique Marseille's Modeste M'Bami -
A deal is in the works between Modeste M'Bami and Blackburn Rovers, according to the Olympique Marseille star's agent. After three impressive seasons at Olympique de Marseille, the 26-year-old Cameroonian defensive midfielder is expected to take...
Marseille Coach Erik Gerets Hails Barcelona -
The manner in which Barcelona dispatched Manchester United in Wednesday evening's Champions League final has won great acclaim from many corner, and Olympique de Marseille head coach Erik Gerets was also keen to add his voice in praising la Blaugrana...
Cisse welcome at Marseille - SkySports
Anigo insists that would not be a problem, with Marseille happy to bring him into their fold. "He will be welcome here, as he should be," he told Aujourd'hui Sport. "He has a position within the squad. We never forced him out and he could come back...
Allardyce plans summer business - SkySports
Allardyce is keen to start putting plans in place as quickly as possible and is already planning a triple raid on French outfit Marseille. The Rovers boss is keen to turn centre-back Gael Givet's loan move into a permanent deal, while he is also...
Werder Bremen's Naldo To Consider Marseille Offer- Report -
A report in Germany today claims that Werder Bremen centre-back Naldo is a target for French club Olympique Marseille and that a firm offer for the Brazilian defender is on the table. According to the Kreiszeitung Syke, the Southern French outfit have...
Juventus president considers Trezeguet sale - ESPN
The 31-year-old former France international has been linked with a return to his homeland to join Marseille or Lyon, and Cobolli Gigli has done little to quash such speculation. He said today: "If an interesting offer came along we could sell him....
Olympique de Marseille's Laurent Bonnart Focusing On Rennes Rather ... -
The epic finale of the Ligue 1 season is set to take place on Saturday, and Marseille's right-back has stated that his mind will be firmly fixed on his side's fixture against Stade Rennais rather than what league leaders Girondins de Bordeaux are doing...
Taye Taiwo Confirms He'll Stay At Marseille -
Taye Taiwo has confirmed that he will remain with Olympique de Marseille next season, spurning the offer of lucrative moves abroad that were likely to come from the English Premier League, where Manchester City were expected to show an interest in the...


Coat of arms of Marseille

Marseille (English alt. Marseilles IPA: /mɑrˈseɪ/; French: ''; locally ; Classical Provençal: Marselha, ; Mistralian Provençal: Marsiho, ), formerly known as Massalia (from Greek: Μασσαλία), is the second-largest city of France. It forms the third-largest metropolitan area, after those of Paris and Lyon, with a population recorded to be 1,516,340 at the 1999 census and estimated to be 1,605,000 in 2007. Located on the south east coast of France on the Mediterranean, Marseille is France's largest commercial port. Marseille is the administrative capital (préfecture de région) of the Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur region, as well as the administrative capital (préfecture départementale) of the Bouches-du-Rhône department. Its inhabitants are called Marseillais.

Marseille is the most populous commune in France after Paris and is the centre of the third largest metropolitan area in France. 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 fjords. Further east still are the Sainte-Baume, a 1,147 m (3,763 ft) mountain ridge rising from a forest of deciduous trees, the town 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; further 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 Etang de Berre.

The city's main thoroughfare, the wide boulevard called the Canebière, stretches eastward from the Old Port (Vieux Port) to the Réformés quarter. Two large forts flank the entrance to the Old Port - Fort St Nicholas on the south side and Fort St Jean on the north. Further out in the Bay of Marseille is the Frioul archipelago which comprises four islands, one of which, If, is the location of Chateau 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 Ferreol and the Centre Bourse (the main shopping mall). The centre of Marseille has several pedestrianized zones, most notably rue St Ferreol, Cours Julien near the Music Conservatory, the Cours Honoré-d'Estienne-d'Orves off the Old Port and the area around the Hotel 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 arrondissement, dominated by the basilica of Notre-Dame-de-la-Garde. The 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.

Humans have inhabited Marseille and its environs for almost 30,000 years: palaeolithic cave paintings in the underwater Cosquer cave near the calanque of Morgiou date back to between 27,000 and 19,000 BC; and very recent excavations near the railway station have unearthed neolithic brick habitations from around 6,000 BC.

Marseille, the oldest city of France, was founded in 600 BC by Greeks from Phocaea (as mentioned by Thucydides Bk1,13) as a trading port under the name Μασσαλία (Massalia; see also List of traditional Greek place names). The precise circumstances and date of founding remain obscure, but nevertheless a legend survives. Protis, while exploring for a new trading outpost or emporion for Phocaea, discovered the Mediterranean cove of the Lacydon, fed by a freshwater stream and protected by two rocky promontories. Protis was invited inland to a banquet held by the chief of the local Ligurian tribe for suitors seeking the hand of his daughter Gyptis in marriage. At the end of the banquet, Gyptis presented the ceremonial cup of wine to Protis, indicating her unequivocal choice. Following their marriage, they moved to the hill just to the north of the Lacydon; and from this settlement grew Massalia.

Massalia was one of the first Greek ports in Western Europe, growing to a population of over 1000. It was the first settlement given city status in France. Facing an opposing alliance of the Etruscans, Carthage and the Celts, the Greek colony allied itself with the expanding Roman Republic for protection. This protectionist association brought aid in the event of future attacks, and perhaps equally important it also brought the people of Massalia into the complex Roman market. The city thrived by acting as a link between inland Gaul, hungry for Roman goods and wine (which Massalia was steadily exporting by 500 BC), and Rome's insatiable need for new products and slaves. Under this arrangement the city maintained its independence until the rise of Julius Caesar, when it joined the losing side (Pompey and the optimates) in civil war, and lost its independence in 49 BC.

It was the site of a siege and naval battle, after which the fleet was confiscated by the Roman authorities. During the Roman times the city was called Massilia. It was the home port of Pytheas. Most of the archaeological remnants of the original Greek settlement were replaced by later Roman additions.

Marseille adapted well to its new status under Rome. During the Roman era, the city was controlled by a directory of 15 selected "first" among 600 senators. Three of them had the preeminence and the essence of the executive power. The city's laws amongst other things forbade the drinking of wine by women and allowed by vote of the 600, assistance to allow a person to commit suicide.

It was during this time that Christianity first appeared in Marseille, as evidenced by catacombs above the harbor and records of Roman martyrs. According to provencal tradition, Mary Magdalen evangelised Marseille with her brother Lazarus. The diocese of Marseille was set up in the first century (it became the Archdiocese of Marseille in 1948).

With the decline of the Roman Empire, the town fell into the hands of the Visigoths. Eventually Frankish kings succeeded in taking the town in the mid 6th century. Emperor Charlemagne and the Carolingian dynasty granted civic power to Marseille, which remained a major French trading port until the medieval period. The city regained much of its wealth and trading power when it was revived in the 10th century by the counts of Provence. In 1262, the city revolted under Bonifaci VI de Castellana and Hugues des Baux, cousin of Barral des Baux, against the rule of the Angevins but was put down by Charles I. In 1348, the city suffered terribly from the bubonic plague, which continued to strike intermittently until 1361. As a major port, it is believed Marseille was one of the first places in France to encounter the epidemic, and some 15,000 people died in a city that had a population of 25,000 during its period of economic prosperity in the previous century. The city's fortunes declined still further when it was sacked and pillaged by the Aragonese in 1423.

Marseille's population and trading status soon recovered and in 1437, the Count of Provence René of Anjou, who succeeded his father Louis II of Anjou as King of Sicily and Duke of Anjou, arrived in Marseille and established it as France's most fortified settlement outside of Paris. He helped raise the status of the town to a city and allowed certain privileges to be granted to it. Marseille was then used by Duke of Anjou as a strategic maritime base to reconquer his kingdom of Sicily. King René, who wished to equip the entrance of the port with a solid defense, decided to build on the ruins of the old Maubert tower and to establish a series of ramparts guarding the harbor. Jean Pardo, engineer, conceived the plans and Jehan Robert, mason of Tarascon, carried out the work. The construction of the new city defenses took place between 1447 and 1453. The trading in Marseille also flourished in this term as the Guild began to establish a position of power within the merchants of the city. Notably, René also founded the Corporation of Fisherman.

Marseille was united with Provence in 1481 and then incorporated in France the following year, but soon acquired a reputation for rebelling against the central government. Some 30 years after its incorporation, François I visited Marseille, drawn by his curiosity to see a rhinoceros that King Emmanuel I of Portugal was sending to Pope Leo X, but which had been shipwrecked on the Ile d'If. As a result of this visit, the fortress of Chateau d'If was constructed; this did little to prevent Marseille being placed under siege by the army of the Holy Roman Empire a few years later. Towards the end of the sixteenth century Marseille suffered yet another outbreak of the plague; the hospital of the Hotel-Dieu was founded soon afterwards. A century later more troubles were in store: King Louis XIV himself had to descend upon Marseille, at the head of his army, in order to quash a local uprising against the governor. As a consequence, the two forts of St Jean and St Nicholas were erected above the harbour and a large fleet and arsenal were established in the harbour itself.

Over the course of the eighteenth century, the port's defenses were improved and Marseille became more important as France's leading military port in the Mediterranean. In 1720, the last Great Plague of Marseille, a form of the Black Death, struck down 100,000 people in the city and the surrounding provinces. Jean-Baptiste Grosson, royal notary, wrote from 1770 to 1791 the historical Almanac of Marseille, published as Recueil des antiquités et des monuments marseillais qui peuvent intéresser l’histoire et les arts, ("Collection of antiquities and Marseilles monuments which can interest history and the arts"), which for a long time was the primary resource on the history of the monuments of the city.

The local population enthusiastically embraced the French Revolution and sent 500 volunteers to Paris in 1792 to defend the revolutionary government; their rallying call to revolution, sung on their march from Marseille to Paris, became known as La Marseillaise, now the national anthem of France.

During the nineteenth century the city was the site of industrial innovations and a growth in manufacturing. The rise of the French Empire and the conquests of France from 1830 onward (notably Algeria) stimulated the maritime trade and raised the prosperity of the city. Maritime opportunities also increased with the opening of the Suez Canal in 1869. This period in Marseille's history is reflected in many of its monuments, such as the Napoleonic obelisk at Mazargues and the royal triumphal arch in the place d'Aix.

During the first half of the twentieth century, Marseille celebrated its trading status and 'port of the empire' status through the colonial exhibitions of 1906 and 1922; the monumental staircase at the railway station, glorifying French colonial conquests, dates from then. In 1934 Alexander I of Yugoslavia arrived at the port to meet with the French foreign minister Louis Barthou. He was assassinated there by Vlada Georgieff.

During World War II, Marseille was bombed by the German and the Italian forces in 1940. The city was occupied by Germans from November 1942 to August 1944. A large part of the city's old quarter was dynamited in a massive clearance project, aimed to reduce opportunities for resistance members to hide and operate in the densely populated old buildings. After the war much of the city was rebuilt during the 1950s. The governments of East Germany, West Germany, and Italy paid massive reparations, plus compound interest, to compensate civilians killed, injured, or left homeless or destitute as a result of the war.

From the 1950s onward, the city served as an entrance port for over a million immigrants to France. In 1962 there was a large influx from the newly independent Algeria, including around 150,000 returned Algerian settlers (pieds-noirs). Many immigrants have stayed and given the city a French-African quarter with a large market.

After the oil crisis of 1973 and an economic downturn, Marseille saw an increase in crime and higher levels of poverty. The city has worked to combat these problems, and through plans from the AT in Paris and funds from the European Union, the city has developed a modern and advanced economy based on high technology manufacturing, oil refining and service sector employment.

In recent decades the French National Front has received significant support in Marseille.

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 majority of the old port and docks, which experienced decline in the 1970s after the oil crisis, have been recently redeveloped with funds from the European Union. The old port now contains restaurants, offices, bars and hotels and functions mostly as a private marina. Fishing, however, remains important in Marseille and the food economy of Marseille is still dominated by the local catch and a daily fish market is still held at the Belgian Quay at the Old Port.

Today, the economy of Marseille is dominated by the New Port, which lies north of the Old Port, a commercial container port and a transport port for the Mediterranean sea. 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, its recent growth in container traffic is being stifled by the constant strikes and social upheaval. 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 refinement.

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. It is the main arrival base for millions of tourists each year as well as serving a growing business community. All three branches of the University of Aix-Marseille - the University of Provence, the University of the Mediterranean and Paul Cézanne University - are represented to varying degrees in both Marseille and Aix-en-Provence. The economy is closely associated with the Marseille Provence Metropolis, France's second largest research centre with 3000 research scientists.

Marseille Metropole Provence is home to thousands of companies, 90% of which are small businesses. Among the most famous ones are CMA CGM, container-shipping giant; Comex, world leader in sub-sea engineering and hydraulic systems; Eurocopter Group, an EADS company; Azur Promotel, an active real estate development company; La Provence, the local daily newspaper; L'Olympique de Marseille, the famous soccer club; 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.

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. Marseille acts as a regional nexus for entertainment in the south of France and has a high concentration of museums, cinemas, theaters, clubs, bars, restaurants, fashion shops, hotels, and art galleries, all geared towards a tourist economy.

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.

Unemployment in the economy fell from 20% in 1995 to 14% in 2004. However, Marseille remains a city with high unemployment against the national average and suffers a lack of jobs for its large immigrant population. For example, in some parts of Marseille, youth unemployment is reported as high as 40%.

Marseille is divided into 16 municipal arrondissements, which are themselves divided into quartiers (111 in total). The arrondissements are regrouped, in pairs, into 8 sectors, each sector having its own council and town hall (like the arrondissements in Paris and in Lyon).

The municipal elections of councillors are carried out by sector. There are 303 councillors in total, two thirds sitting on the sector councils and one third on the city council.

Because of its pre-eminence as a Mediterranean port, Marseille has always been one of the main points of entry into France. This has attracted many immigrants and made Marseille into a cosmopolitan melting pot. By the end of the 18th century about half the population originated from elsewhere. The main group of immigrants came from Italy (mainly from Genoa and Piedmont) as well as from Spain, Greece and the Levant.

Economic conditions and political unrest in Europe and the rest of the world brought several further waves of immigrants in 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; the Spanish after 1936; North Africans 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 Maghrebian 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 largest Corsican and second-largest Armenian population in France. Other significant communities include North African Arabs and Berbers (25% of the total population), Turks, Comorians, Chinese, and Vietnamese.

The main religions practised in Marseille are Catholicism (600,000), Islam (between 150,000 and 200,000), Armenian Apostolic Church (80,000), Judaism (80,000, making Marseille the third largest urban Jewish community in Europe), Protestantism (20,000), Eastern Orthodoxy (10,000) and Buddhism (3,000).

Marseille has a Mediterranean climate, with mild, humid winters and hot, dry summers. January and February are the coldest months, averaging temperatures of around 8 to 9 °C. July and August are the hottest months. The mean summer temperature is around 23 to 24 °C (75 °F). In July the average maximum temperature is around 32°C. Marseille is known for the Mistral, a harsh cold wind originating in the alps that occurs mostly in winter and spring. Less frequent is the Sirocco, a hot sand-bearing wind, coming from the Sahara desert.

Marseille has been designated as European Capital of Culture in 2013.

Marseille is a city that is proud of its differences from the rest of France. Today it is a regional centre for culture and entertainment with its important opera house, its historical and maritime museums, its five art galleries and numerous cinemas, clubs, bars and restaurants. The most commonly used tarot deck comes from Marseille; it is called the Tarot de Marseille, and was used to play the local variant of tarocchi before it became used in cartomancy. 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 has a large number of theatres, including la Criée, le Gymnase and the theatre Toursky. There is also an extensive arts centre in la Friche, a former match factory behind Gare St-Charles. The Alcazar, until the 1960s a well known music-hall and variety theatre, has recently been completely remodelled behind its original facade and now houses the central municipal library.

Marseille has also been important in literature and the arts. It has been the birth place and home of many French writers and poets, including from modern times 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'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 building, leaving only the stone colonnade and peristyle from the original facade. The classical facade was restored and the opera house reconstructed in a predominantly Art Deco style, as the result of a major competition: for example, Antoine Bourdelle worked on the frescos on the proscenium arch. Currently the Marseille Opera stages 6 or 7 operas each year, covering the whole range of opera from baroque to newly commissioned works. The season, by subscription, lasts from September to June.

Since 1972 the Ballet national de Marseille has performed at the opera house; its director from foundation to 1998 was Roland Petit.

Marseille is also well known in France for its Hip hop music. Groups like IAM originated from Marseille initiated the rap music phenomena in France. Other known groups include Fonky Family, 3ème Oeil, and Psy4 de la rime.

Marseille has been the setting for many films, produced mostly in France or Hollywood.

Marseille is listed as a major centre of art and history. The city boasts many museums and galleries. There are many ancient buildings and churches of historical interest. Most of the attractions of Marseille (including shopping areas) are located in the 1st, 2nd, 6th and 7th arrondissements.

The city is served by an international airport, Marseille Provence Airport, located in Marignane. The airport has two terminals. Terminal one, the main terminal of the airport contains halls 1,2,3 and 4 and serves as a base for French and international arrivals and departures. The new terminal, referred to as MP2 is used for low-cost flights arriving and departing from Europe and North Africa. A shuttle coach system operates between the airport and the railway station, Gare de Marseille Saint-Charles.

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 cities such as Toulon, Avignon, Nice, Montpellier, Toulouse, Bordeaux, Nantes... The northerly single track line to Briancon via Aix-en-Provence is currently partially closed during modernisation. 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, Genève and Strasbourg.

There is a long distance bus station, still under construction, adjacent to Gare Saint-Charles with destinations mostly in the Bouches-du-Rhône. Temporarily buses to Aix-en-Provence depart from the nearby Porte d'Aix. Other buses to Cassis, La Ciotat and Aubagne depart from Castellane.

Marseille has a large ferry terminal, the Gare Maritime, with services to Corsica, Sardinia, Algeria and Tunisia. A ferry service on a quite different scale operates between the two opposite quays of the Old Port.

Marseille itself is connected by the Marseille Metro train system operated by the Régie des transports de Marseille (RTM). It consists of 2 lines represented by red and blue. 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 to Line 1 from Castellane to La Timone was completed in 1992. The Metro system operates on a turnstile system, with tickets purchased at the nearby adjacent automated booths. Both lines of the Metro intersect at Gare Saint-Charles and Castellane.

An extensive bus network serves the city and suburbs of Marseille. The first phase of a new tramway , going eastwards from the port towards St Barnabé, was opened in July 2007.

As in many other French cities, a short-term bicycle hire scheme nicknamed "le vélo", free for trips of less than half an hour, has recently been put in place by the town council.

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 UEFA Champions League winner in 1993 and finalist of the UEFA Cup in 1999 and 2004. The club has a history of success under then-owner Bernard Tapie. The club's home, the Stade Vélodrome, which can sit 65.000 people,also functions for other local sports, as well as national rugby team Tests. Stade Velodrome hosted a number of games during the 2007 Rugby World Cup. The local rugby team is Marseille Provence XV.

Sailing is a major sport in Marseille. The winds can blow from different directions and allow interesting regattas in the warm waters of the Mediterranean. Most of the time it can be windy while the sea remains smooth enough to allow sailing. It was considered as a possible site for 2007 Americas Cup. Marseille is also a place for other water sports such as windsurfing and powerboating. Marseille has three golf courses to its north and north east. The city has dozens of gyms and several council owned swimming pools. Running is also popular in many of Marseille's parks such as Le Pharo and Le Jardin Pierre Puget.

Marseille was the finish of Stage 10 and the departure of Stage 11 in the 2007 Tour de France.

Joan of Arc statue in Marseille.

Musée des Beaux Arts, Marseille.

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Gare de Marseille Saint-Charles

Saint-Charles Station main staircase.

Saint Charles is the main railway station of Marseille. It is a terminus and opened on 8 January 1848, having been built for the PLM on the land of the Saint Charles Cemetery. The station is perched on top of a small hill and is linked to the city centre by a monumental set of stairs.

The station was once a stage on the voyage to Africa and the Middle-East before the popularisation of flying. Passengers now arrive from Paris, the North of France and the United Kingdom.

The station building was built in a U shape around a rooftop canopy. It was opened in 1848 on top of a plateau. Both wings house the arrivals and departures. To the rear of the station, along Boulevard Voltaire was the station's goods yard which was used up until the end of the 1990s by the SNCF's road freight operations, Sernam. The station firstly isolated from the town was equipped by a great staircase, was thought of in 1911 and opened un 1926. It is bordered by African and Middle-East inspired statues.

A first extension was opened after World War II. The buildings on the northside had been destroyed and were rebuilt and housed the administration offices of the SNCF. A new between level was opened to enhance the flow of passengers.

At the end of the 1990s and redevelopement project began with the opening of the Marseille underground and bus interchange as well as the arrival of the TGV Méditerranée.

A new passenger concourse was opened below the administration offices to link the station with the transport interchange. This is due to open at the end of 2006.

Saint-Charles has 14 dead end platforms and 4 tracks leaving it, all equipped with 1500 DC overhead wire. Near the entrance to the station, track splits into two lines; towards Vintimille and the North as well as a single track line to Briançon. A single track branch line links Saint-Charles to the harbour station of La Joliette.

Many other regional trains serve the station.

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Olympique de Marseille

Olympique Marseille logo

Olympique de Marseille (also known as l'OM, (French pronunciation: ) is a professional French football club based in Marseille. Founded in 1899, they play in Ligue 1 and have spent most of their history in the top tier of French football. Marseille have been French champions eight times, and have won the Coupe de France ten times (a record) and became the first and only French club to win the UEFA Champions League in 1993.

Olympique de Marseille's home is the 60,031-person-capacity Stade Vélodrome football stadium in the south of the city, where they have played since 1937. In 1997, they were bought by French and Swiss billionaire Robert Louis-Dreyfus.

Marseille's traditional kit colours are white shirts and shorts with white socks. The current crest was adopted in 2004. The club's motto Droit Au But (French for "Straight to the Goal") appears under the crest and a star representing the victory in the Champions League is featured on the top. The club enjoys a large fan base, with the highest average all-time attendance in French football. Their average home gate for the 2007–08 season was 52,600, the highest in the Ligue 1.

According to André Gascard, a former OM player before WWI, coach and then archivist for the team, l'Olympique de Marseille, an omnisport club, was created in 1892, but the name Olympique de Marseille wasn't adopted until 1899 (Football Club de Marseille since 1897, before that Sporting Club and US Phocéenne). At the beginning Rugby union was the most important team sport of the club, the motto "Droit au but" coming from rugby. Affiliated with USFSA since 1898, it was only in 1902, thanks to English and German (still according to André Gascard), that football began to be played by l'OM. Richer and better organized than other football teams of Marseille (Sporting, Stade, Phocéenne. ..), l'OM, playing at the Stade de l'Huveaune, took the leadership in the city. In 1904, l'OM won the first Championnat du Littoral, opposing teams from Marseille and its suburbs, and took part in the final rounds of the eleventh French championship. At that time, the word "football" applied to rugby, and people used the word "Association" (which would be soccer in North America) for football.

Honour presidents : Paul Le Cesne et Fernand Bouisson President : M.Dard Vice-Presidents : Mr Leblanc, Mr Bison, Mr Etchepare, Dr Rollenstein et Mr Anfosso General secretary : Mr De Possel-Daydier Treasurer : Mr Bison helped by Mr Ribel. For the first championship, Division 1 was divided into two pools. Marseille finished second in the first, behind Lille OSC. For its first match of the championship l'OM defeated the future champion, Lille OSC.

In 1937, Marseille won its first professional French championship thanks to goal average (+30 for Marseille, +17 for FC Sochaux-Montbéliard).The arrival of Vasconcellos made the defence stronger , whereas former goalkeeper Laurent Di Lorto shone with FC Sochaux-Montbéliard and France. In the meantime, Marseille won Coupe de France in 1935 and 1938 but failed a double success in 1934, due to FC Sète.

In 1938, Larbi Ben Barek signed with l'OM, and became "the black pearl" for the team but WWII would cut his career. The season 1942/43 is full of records:100 goals in 30 matches, including 20 in one match (20-2 against Avignon), in which Aznar scored 9 goals, including the first 8 (Marseille was leading 8-0), playing only 70 minutes. Aznar scored 45 goals in 30 matches, plus 11 in cup games, for a record of 56 goals in 38 matches. With the minots (young players) of the moment (Scotti, Robin, Dard, Pironti), Marseille won the cup in two matches against Bordeaux (4-0).

In 1948, thanks to a draw against Sochaux, Marseille became Champion of France. The two last victories at the Stade Vélodrome against Roubaix (6-0) and Metz (6-3) were important, as Aznar and Robin's returned in spring.

In 1952, Marseille was about to be relegated. But Gunnar Andersson saved his team, finishing best scorer (31 goals).The team won (5-3) on aggregate against Valenciennes.The same year, Marseille lost at the Stade Vélodrome against AS Saint-Étienne 10-3, but Liberati was injured. In 1953, Gunnar Andersson would take the record of goals scored in one season with 35.L'OM was runner-up in the Coupe de France (OGC Nice won 2-1) in 1954 and the Coupe Drago in 1957 to (RC Lens which won 3-1). Marseille was struggling at that time and was relegated for the first time in 1959. From 1959 to 1965, the team played in the second division except during the season 1962/63, finishing 20th out of 20 in first division. In 1965, Marcel Leclerc became president.

The first period of OM's domination of the French League started in the early 70's, under Marcel Leclerc's presidency (1965-1972). His ambition allowed l'OM to return to the First division in 1965/66. They went on to win the Coupe de France in 1969 as well as the First division in 1971 with a record of 44 goals by Josip Skoblar, helped by Roger Magnusson. The arrival of Georges Carnus and Bernard Bosquier from AS Saint-Etienne helped them to win First division and the Coupe de France in 1972. Marseille played in the European Cup in 1971/72 and 1972/73 but were defeated by Ajax Amsterdam of Johan Cruyff and Juventus. However, success was not to last. Marcel Leclerc was forced to leave the club on 19 July 1972. The president was a stubborn man, and he threatened the whole league by threatening to withdraw his professional team from Division 1 because the federation refused to accept three foreign players in one team (Leclerc wanted to acquire the Hungarian star Zoltán Varga but he had already the maximum number of two foreigners in his team). But OM decided, instead of following Leclerc against the league, to fire him. Then followed an era of crisis with Marseille only winning a Coupe de France in 1976 and being relegated to the second division, where they played with a bunch of young local players: the "Minots" who allowed the team to return back to First division in 1984. Éric Di Meco was one of them.

On 12 April 1986, Bernard Tapie became president, thanks to Marseille mayor Gaston Defferre, and promptly built the greatest team ever seen in France. His first signings were Karl-Heinz Forster and Alain Giresse, who were bought after the 1986 FIFA World Cup. Tapie signed a large number of highly regarded players over the next few years in his pursuit of the European Cup, such as Jean-Pierre Papin, Chris Waddle, Klaus Allofs, Enzo Francescoli, Abedi Pelé, Didier Deschamps, Basile Boli, Marcel Desailly, Rudi Völler and Eric Cantona as well as appointing high-profile coaches like Franz Beckenbauer, Gérard Gili and Raymond Goethals. Between 1989 and 1992, l'OM won 4 League titles in a row and the French Cup. The highlight of the club's history is winning the new format Champions League in 1993. Basile Boli scored the only goal against Italy's A.C. Milan in the final held in Munich's Olympic Stadium. That triumph was the first time that a French club has won, and it made Didier Deschamps and Fabien Barthez the youngest captain and goalkeeper, respectively, to capture the title.

This, however, was followed by a decade of decline. In 1994, due to financial irregularities and a match fixing scandal involving then president Bernard Tapie, they suffered forced relegation to the second division, where Marseille stayed two years before coming back to First division. Moreover, they lost their 1992-1993 Division 1 title and the right to play in the UEFA Champions League 1993-94 and the Intercontinental Cup. This scandal, called l'affaire VA-OM (VA for Valenciennes FC and OM for Marseille), was denounced by Valenciennes, whose players Jacques Glassmann, Jorge Burruchaga and Christophe Robert were contacted by OM player Jean-Jacques Eydelie, in order to let OM win and, more importantly, not to injure any OM player ahead of the UEFA Champions League final.

Marseille returned to the top flight in 1996 with backing from Adidas's owner Robert Louis-Dreyfus. He chose Rolland Courbis as coach, signed Fabrizio Ravanelli, Laurent Blanc and Andreas Köpke, and l'OM finished 11th for his return. For the 1998/99 season, the team celebrated his centenary and built a team of stars:Robert Pirès, Florian Maurice, and Christophe Dugarry, culminating in a second place finish in the French championship, behind Bordeaux and an appearance in the UEFA Cup Final in 1999, losing to Parma. Courbis left the team in November 1999, after a poor start to the season. The closest Marseille to get another trophy was when they reached the UEFA Cup Final in 2004, impressively beating Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk, Inter Milan, Liverpool and Newcastle United along the way. But they were beaten in the final by newly-crowned Spanish champions Valencia and once again fans were forced to continue waiting for the next trophy to come along.

Recently, Marseille succeeded in winning the 2005 Intertoto Cup, beating the likes of SS Lazio and Deportivo La Coruna in doing so, and earning another shot at the UEFA Cup.

In January 2007, there was negotiation between Dreyfus and Jack Kachkar, a Canadian doctor and businessman (CEO of pharmaceutical company Inyx), about the selling of the club. As Jack Kachkar took too much time to buy the team, Robert Louis-Dreyfus decided on 22 March 2007 not to sell to the Canadian businessman.

Another close call to glory was in the French Cup final against FC Sochaux-Montbéliard in May 2007, however, they lost on penalties after a 2-2 draw after extra time, to the disappointment of everyone linked with the club, but they soon wiped all that disappointment away by qualifying for the 2007/2008 UEFA Champions League group stage, after securing 2nd place with a game to go.

In the Champions League, Marseille shocked Europe, by becoming the first French team to win at Anfield when they beat 2007 runners-up Liverpool 1-0, and the team took 6 out of 6 points from their opening two games. However, they only drew one more match, and in a winner takes all final group game they lost 4-0 to Liverpool, who became the first English team to win at the Stade Vélodrome. Marseille coming third in the Champions League Group A resultantly qualified for the UEFA Cup.

Marseille finished the 2007-2008 season with a third place finish in Ligue 1, earning them a birth in the 3rd and final qualifying round of the Champions' League. This is Marseille's second consecutive season in the Champions League.

From 1904 to 1937, Marseille played at the Stade de l'Huveaune. The club was the owner of the venue, contrary to its current stadium. L'Huveaune, a time named "Stade Fernand Buisson" in honour of a former rugby player of the club who became deputee was renovated at the beginning of the twenties, thanks to supporter's financial help. It had a capacity of 15,000. After 1937, l'OM used this venue under Marcel Leclerc's presidency in order to compel the city of Marseille to lower the rent of Stade Vélodrome and during the renovation of Vélodrome for Euro 1984, during the 1982/83 season. The stadium again underwent redevelopment in time for the 1998 World Cup and was transformed into an immense ground composed of two kop ends (Virage Nord and Virage Sud - North Curve and South Curve) which house the supporters groups as well as the main stand, Jean Bouin, and the imposing Ganay stand. Today, the team regularly fills their impressive home, the Stade Vélodrome, which seats 60,013.

Supporters hope the municipality will cover the stadium and increase its capacity.

Before the start of each home game the song Jump by Van Halen is heard. When a goal is scored by Marseille in their home matches the song Come with Me by Puff Daddy is played.

The atmosphere in the Stade Vélodrome is created by the dominance of OM's own supporters who are housed in the kop style ends behind the goals.

The North Curve is home to the Yankee Nord Marseille, Marseille Trop Puissant, Fanatics, and Dodgers supporters associations who buy up the tickets at the start of each season and sell them on to their members. The Virage Nord is situated next to the away enclosure which is protected by high fences. In 2002, the Virage Nord was officially given the name of Patrice de Peretti (1972-2000), the late founder and leader of the supporters group Marseille Trop Puissant.

As with the Virage Nord, the South Curve is controlled by supporter's associations with the Commando Ultras 1984 and the South Winners dominating the central section and Amis de l'OM and Club Central des Supporteurs filling the remaining sections of the stand.

There is a strong relationship between AS Livorno, AEK Athens, and Olympique Marseille. Marseille fans often lift banners and create choreography in support of the fellow teams.

Marseille's tally of eight Championships is the second highest in French football, after AS Saint-Étienne, while the total of ten Cups is the highest. Marseille have achieved two Championship and Cup "Doubles" (in 1972 and 1989). They were also the first French club to win the UEFA Champions League, in 1993.

As of 4 February 2009.

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Source : Wikipedia