L’Athènes des Gaules, the history of the ancient and proud Mασσαλία is a fascinating narration of a different city that stays different throughout all its history. Ville du Midi par excellence according to Stendhal, Marseille is both exotic and Mediterranean. It has a totally different flavor:

Ah Marseille, la seule ville où l’on mange !

Emile Zola
Entrance of the Port of Marseille by Claude-Joseph Verne, 1754 (source Wikipedia)

Marseilles’ spirit of independence will shape the destiny of its commerce and its policy towards foreigners.