Unlike the more polished Cannes and St-Tropez, Marseille has always had an image problem: the second city in France and the gateway to Provence has suffered with higher-than-average crime and an urban landscape often gritty and unappealing. However, Marseille is turning a page: since being the European City of Culture in 2013, things have been improving steadily and a new sense of optimism has been found. This is great news for a city that has an incredible wealth of culture and history – the ancient Romans and Greeks called it Massilia.
As in those ancient days, Marseille is centred round its old Port (Vieux Port), which today is populated by yachts and pleasure boats and boasts some pretty good fish restaurants.
From a LGBT point of view, France is a very advanced and welcoming country, so gay & lesbian people are protected by law, including full same-sex marriage provisions. Marseille offers a few gay bars & venues, located in the centre of town.