About Marseille

Marseille is a city full of art and culture and has many wonders to share with you. With its 26 centuries of history, it combines tradition and modernity, in the heart of Provence.

The city is deeply marked by its past and is constantly digging up the remains of all the cities that have been built on top of each other over the centuries. It takes the visitor on a journey that begins with its Greek and Roman origins and leads us past the medieval religious foundations, the 16th Century fortifications, the rich homes of the 17th and 18th Centuries and the many prestigious buildings erected in the 19th Century and right up to modern times and the great architectural achievements of the 21st Century.

The city has a wealth of monuments, places of interest and museums to visit. With over 300 days a year of sunshine, you are sure to enjoy your stay during the VIIth Mediterranean Emergency Medicine Congress - MEMC 2013!

Quick Facts

  • Second most populated French city: 860,363 inhabitants (according to INSEE 2007 figures)
  • The leading French urban community, Marseille Provence Métropole is a community of 18 cities with 1,200,000 inhabitants.
  • Surface area: 240 km2 including 100 km2 of natural areas. Sea front: 57 kilometres including 20 km of Calanques.
  • Climate: 300 days of sunshine per year. Average temperatures: Spring 19°C / Summer 25°C / Fall 14°C / Winter 12°C.
  • Twinned with 13 cities around the world:
  • Transport: 2 subway lines, 2 tramway lines, 1000 bicycles in 130 stations, 85 bus lines, nearly 10,000 parking spaces in 15 parking lots.
  • France's leading cruise port (705 000 passengers) and freight port (2010 statistics)
  • World Water Capital since 1996 – World Water Forum in 2012:

Marseille will the European Capital of Culture in 2013:



Within Marseille there is a joined up public transport system (RTM - french) involving trams, metro and buses with a single ticketing system. You can use the same ticket on bus, tram and metro. It is valid for one hour. You must validate the ticket every time you transfer. On trams and trains the machines are on the platforms, on metros they are at the entrance to platforms and on buses they are by the front door.

You can get a plan of the system from the welcome desks (accueil) in the main metro stations.

During the summer you can take a boat from the Vieux Port to Pointe Rouge. Until 17 September it runs until 10pm. It costs €2.50 for a one way journey (you can use the ticket within 90 minutes of its first validation on the metro, bus and tram). Tickets are sold on the boats. More details (if French) here.


There are plenty of taxis but they are not cheap.


The metro does not have lifts/elevators. Most stations have escalators but also have steps, so it is difficult, if not impossible, to gain access if you are in a wheelchair, have mobility problems or children in pushchairs. People are generally very helpful if you are struggling. Trams are more accessible and buses have a mechanism for allowing access for pushchairs and wheelchairs.


For travel within Marseille it is cheaper and easier to buy tickets in the metro stations, or at an outlet (usually Tabacs) showing the RTM sign. Bus drivers will sell tickets but they often do not have change. They may wave you onto the bus, but if inspectors discover you do not have a ticket you may be fined.

  • Carte solo - one journey (valid for 1 hour from first use)
  • Carte libertés - multiple 5 or 10 journeys allows you to travel at any time. You can use it for the same journey for up to 4 people. So no need to buy more than one unless you want to travel a lot.
  • Carte journée - useable from the first validation until midnight with no limit on the number of journeys, but be warned on weekdays the last metro is at 10:30.
  • Carte 3 jours - for unlimited journeys over 3 days.

Routes and times

There are two tram lines (T1 and T2) and two metro lines (M1 and M2) with several interchanges along the route where you can transfer between lines or onto buses.

Trams run between 05:00 and 00:30. The metro runs between 5:00 and 22:30 weekdays and until 00:30 on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays.

The buses run between 05:00 and 21:30. There is then a much reduced night bus system that runs until 00:30, not a lot of use if you like to go out at night.


>> Map of the RTM public transportation system
>> Map of tramways and metros
>> Map of the night reduced system

[Last update: Tuesday, Sep 10, 2013]



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