La Joliette (Marseille), France
Marseille is the second largest city in France after Paris. It is also one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the Mediterranean. Cave paintings in the nearby Calanques are estimated to be 30,000 years old, and remains of brick habitations date from 6,000 BCE. The more recent history begins with a Hellenic port in about 600 BCE, some remains of which are on view at the city’s History Museum. It has been one of the world’s major seaports almost from its founding, and served as the main European terminus of the French colonial empire in Africa and the Far East. It is located in the Provence-Alpes-Cote d’Azur region and is the capital of the Bouches-du-Rhone department. On an island in the expansive bay of Marseille stands the prison of Chateau d’If made famous by the Alexandre Dumas novel “The Count of Monte Cristo.” The Vieux-Port with its atmospheric buildings and wharves is the area where visitors can search for the perfect example of the local specialty bouillabaisse, a rich fish stew containing at least three, and often more varieties of local fishes. Marseille’s newly renovated port at the venerable Joliette Docks is situated very close to the striking Cathédrale de la Major and the fascinating collections at the Museum of African, Oceanic and American Indian Arts.