The second largest and the oldest city in France with a population of 852,395, Marseilles is located in on the southeast coast of France by the Mediterranean Sea and is the capital of the Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur region. It enjoys a Mediterranean climate with average summer temperatures of 23 – 24˚C and a holiday season that lasts from May to October.
Founded in 600BC as a Greek trading port in the 18th century it was France's leading military port in the Mediterranean. In the early 20th century it celebrated its 'port of the Empire' status through the colonial exhibitions of 1906 and 1922. The grand staircase at the Gare de Marseilles-Saint-Charles is a continuing monument to this period and was opened in 1926.
Today Marseilles boasts an economy based on high technology and tourism.