Marseille is the second largest city in France, after Paris, with a population of 853,000 within its administrative limits on a land area of 240.62 km2 (93 sq mi). The urban area and metropolitan area of Marseille extends beyond the city limits with a population of around 1.6 million. Located on the southeast coast of France, Marseille is France’s largest city on the Mediterranean coast and largest commercial port. Marseille is the capital of the Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur region, as well as the capital of the Bouches-du-Rhône department. Its inhabitants are called Marseillais in French and Marselhés in Occitan.
Tourism and attractions
The port is also an important arrival base for millions of people each year, with 2.4 millions among which 890,100 cruisers. With its beaches, history, architecture and culture (24 museums and 42 theatres), Marseille is one of the most visited cities in France, with 4.1 million visitors in 2012. Marseille is ranked 86th in the world for business tourism and events, advancing from the 150th spot one year before. From 109,000 days in 1996, the number of congress days hosted on its territory increased to almost 300,000 in 2011. They take place in three main sites, Le Palais du Pharo, Le Palais des Congrès et des Expositions (Parc Chanot) and the World Trade Center. In 2012 Marseille hosted the World Water Forum. Several urban projects are developed to make Marseille attractive. Thus new parks, museums, public spaces and real estate projects aims to improve the city cadre de vie (Parc du 26e Centenaire, Old Port of Marseille, numerous places in Euromediterrannee) to attract firms and people. Marseille municipality acts to develop Marseille as a regional nexus for entertainment in the south of France with high concentration of museums, cinemas, theaters, clubs, bars, restaurants, fashion shops, hotels, and art galleries.