Ville de Marseille

Novembre 2012 >

Let the festivities commence!

Let the festivities commence!

With just six weeks to go until the opening week-end of the Marseille-Provence 2013 European Capital of Culture, everything is in place for this exceptional year - the amenities, the cultural programme, the meeting and greeting.

Roland Blum, first Deputy to the Mayor of Marseille. (Photo NBC/

The Capital of Culture year kicks off on 12th and 13th January 2013, and we are ready in terms of both content and medium.  Let’s look at “content” first; while, for example, the Silo, the Château de la Buzine, the Cité des Arts de la Rue, the Camp des Milles, the MuCEM Centre for Conservation and Resources, the Contemporary Instrumental Centre and the Kélémenis Dance Centre are already operational, many other buildings will open throughout the year and will provide many opportunities for moments of celebration and festivity.

From January, this will also be the case for J1, the iconic exhibition and events venue, the Panorama Tower of the Friche Belle de Mai, dedicated to contemporary art, the “Regards de Provence” Foundation and the M Pavilion, the public’s gateway to the cultural capital, which showcases excellence in our region.

Then we have the opening of the Regional Fund for Contemporary Art, the Villa Méditerranée, followed by festivities in early June to inaugurate the MuCEM (which you can visit during their open house on Sunday 13th January) the Saint-Jean Fort, the Borély Museum, the Palais Longchamp, the Marseille History Museum, the Digue du Large (seawall), the Minoterie Theatre, as well as openings of museums and buildings throughout Marseille-Provence.

All of this (€660 million investment) was made possible thanks to the State, various communities, including €148 million from the City of Marseille, institutional partners and businesses.

Marseille’s year as European Capital of Culture has also brought about some dynamic infrastructure changes such as the transformation of the Hôtel Dieu into the Intercontinental Hotel, the creation of the Terrasses du Port, the Voutes de la Major project and, of course, the revitalisation of the Old Port.  In fact, far from being the end, Marseille-Provence 2013 is only just the beginning!

On the “medium” side of things, the Marseille-Provence 2013 Association has received no fewer than 2,000 artistic projects and from them has selected more than 500. The fruit of all this painstaking work promises great things: major exhibitions such as “Grand Atelier de Midi”, “From Van Gogh to Bonnard”, in Marseille, “From Cézanne to Matisse” in Aix-en-Provence, and 2 associated exhibitions: Dufy to Martigues and “Picasso the Potter” in Aubagne, as well as all kinds of events, concerts, festivals, not to mention the extraordinary preparations for the opening weekend, which will take place over four days from Aix-en-Provence to Marseille via Arles and the entire region of Marseille-Provence 2013.

In order to welcome the expected flow of tourists properly (an additional 2 million) more than 3,300 volunteers have already signed up. We are definitely ready... Let the festivities commence!