European Capital of Culture – Marseille moving forward

By Vívian Soares

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The estimative of the tourism office of Marseille is to double the number of visitors in 2013 (Photos: Vívian Soares)

– This year represents a turning point to Marseille. We are having more visitors than the previous years and the hotel is already full booked for an entire week of June – says Johanna Rizzo, the manager of a low budget hotel in the city center of Marseille.

Located in the warm south of France, Marseille has always been visited by crowds of sun lovers from all over the world. However, in 2013 they have started to come not only for the nice weather, but also for the massive amount of expositions, concerts and events that Marseille is hosting this year. The city is currently one of the European Capitals of Culture, which means that the region is hosting more entertainment activities – and also more tourists eager to spend some money in the region.  The tourism office of Marseille is expecting to double the number of visitors in 2013, comparing to the average of the previous years.

Culture and business

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Ilan Foufrani and David Abiteboul invested in a new business: “We believe in Marseille”

The local entrepreneurs are optimistic with the initiative – like the hotel manager Johanna, the restaurant owners David Abiteboul and Ilan Foufrani are confident about the new status of the city. Three months ago, they opened a 100% organic food café close to the central station, one of the busiest spots of Marseille.

– From now, the city will be known as a place for culture, art and entertainment and not only because of its natural resources. I saw it as an upgrade – says David Abiteboul.

Regional pride

The status change is not only on the inhabitants opinions, though. The high point of all the programme of the year will be the inauguration of the first national museum in a regional capital of France.  The Museum of Civilizations from Europe and the Mediterranean (MUCEM) will be opened in June and it is already catching the attention of the tourists with its 40,000 square meters and its architecture that resembles a big black spider net surrounded by the sea.

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The new museum will be dedicated to the Mediterranean civilisations

The museum, however, is not the only privileged space in Marseille for the festivities of 2013. Hundreds of activities will take place in places like the Villa Euromediterranée (under construction), an open air space for concerts and exhibitions on the seafront and The Silo concert hall.